The Artist Website: Who Needs It?

  • Save

Every artist should have a website, right?

Well, not exactly.  At the Bandwidth Music & Technology Conference in San Francisco on Friday, this was actually one of several debates.  According to a number of smaller artists, managers, and indie label heads, sometimes building a site is simply too time-consuming and expensive.

Especially when the real action is happening on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.  “I just go to Facebook to find an artist,” relayed one 21-year-old attendee during a session headed by Lee Hammond of Interscope Geffen A&M.  Another noted that “even some good indie bands” lack a dedicated site, and Hammond admitted that many major label artists are simply disconnected from their digital landing pads.

Surprise: there are no rules in this emerging industry, so lose your religion fast.  But the advantages of well-developed, well-trafficked sites are easy to list.  For starters, the site allows the artist to control ecommerce, and offer sophisticated bundling packages.  That also means capturing a much larger cut, as well as fan emails, location stats, feedback, and other critical information bits.  And, perhaps the guru-level approach positions the site as a highly-connected hub, one that breathes within an ecosystem that includes MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Ustream, and even virtual worlds.

The site also lessens the reliance on third-party providers and platforms, and their finicky audiences, rules, and business models.  That means control and greater stability in a topsy-turvy terrain, though it also involves lots of care and maintenance.

Report by publisher Paul Resnikoff in San Francisco.