Musician Websites: A Must-Have New Model

For more engagement and fan drive, all up-and-coming musicians need the most important aspect of an online presence for music promotion – a website. A website is not just a place to sell your music, it can be much, much more. A website will allure potential fans, and be a place where current fans, and super fans can get updates. A website is a place for publishing music, a tool to represent your brand, a portfolio for all your creations, and merchandise. It’s the face of your band, the first thing that people will see, and so, a professionally-constructed site will show that your music and band has reached a specific standard and already produces content that’s worth listening to. It will act as the main source to find and help others connect to your social media sites. Your website will make all your content accessible.

To use your website as a funnel of fan engagement make sure to hit the big three; address the three different types of fans.

1) Potential fans – For them you want to make a solid first impression. What they want to see is a visually-pleasing, easily navigated website. This includes your choice of colors, fonts, pictures, and orderliness. These people aren’t invested in your site, and so just want to quickly find their wanted info and leave; but these people also might become new fans, so include a music player with full versions of your best songs (free is the best way to independently promote music at first) and have all this right on the first page!

2) Current fans – These people are the vast majority of your fan base. For them create a well-crafted bio which gets personal and down-to-earth. You can also try blogging and having behind-the-scenes content or pictures. Keep current and have easy-to-navigate-to merchandise, albums, tickets, and tour info should also exist on the site for them to boost your music promotion. Different price points and different designs will also always be a plus.

3) Super fans – You may not have a lot of them yet, but they are the majority of your buyers and site visitors according to the well-known 80/20 rule. So keep them happy, constantly updated, and interested. Tell them the stories behind your songs, behind your lyrics, do some music PR on your side of things. Have a login system and membership option to give them the option of exclusivity. Offer meet-and-greets and special previews.

Do You Want to Be a Musician or Do You Just Want to Learn to Play Songs?

Whenever I meet a student for the first time I ask them a few questions:

Why do you want to learn to play the guitar?
What’s your favourite type of music?
Who are your favourite artists/bands?
Do you want to be a musician or do you just want to learn to play songs?

The last question always baffles them. The common response to that question is, “Is there a difference?”

The answer is “Yes, there is a huge difference… to me anyway.”

If a student just wants to learn to play songs then I find the songs that they like, work it out in different keys and then teach them the chords and anything else that they need to play the song exactly the way they hear it. This method is very productive in them learning to play the songs they love and in building a repertoire very fast. In a year some of my students have learnt between 30 and 50 songs.

I find that the students who favour this method want quick results and don’t mind not knowing any music theory. Their goal is to just play songs and have fun. I, too, have a lot of fun teaching them. One of the reasons I like this method is that I don’t have to go into heavy music theory details.

For those who want to be serious musicians my approach is different. We build up a repertoire of songs slowly, but they learn every single detail about music – reading, theory, scales, chords, arpeggios, improvisation and so forth.

This method is highly involved and teaches the student how to think like a musician, how to listen like a musician and how to execute like a musician. By the end of these courses the student can walk into any exam and pass with flying colours, they will be able to pick up any piece of music, read it and play it.

Becoming a musician is more than just the ability to pick up a guitar and strum chords. It’s about knowing how chords work in conjunction with scales, it’s about knowing how to use scales, chords and arpeggios to improvise and create new melodies and harmonies; it’s about knowing what a chord is by just listening to it.

I absolutely love this method. In as much as I teach my students I learn so much as well each time I go over the material.

So, in my opinion, there is a huge difference between just learning to play songs and becoming a musician. One is not better than the other. The end goal is just different. Which one would you choose?