Gig booked, now what?
I've given what I think is so sound advice for filling your calendar as a musician, tried and true methods that worked for me long before we have the advantage of emailing MP3 files and sending club owners to websites or MySpace pages to hear what you sound like before they book you. Now that you have those tools at your disposal though, its important that you make the most of them.
MySpace can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you master using it. If you start a new page for yourself as a musician, you can load it with the usual photos, blog postings, music clips, etc, and use it to recruit "friends" to announce your shows and releases to, but if you don't take the time to make the page look like something more than an entry-level attempt, you're going to come off looking pretty low-rent.
In my opinion, the only advantage MySpace has over a stand-alone website is the social networking aspect of it, whereby millions of people could conceivable become connected to you by way of clicking through their friends lists and happening upon your site on the service. Being able to add them as friends can mean a lot to you, or it can be perceived as BS if its got thousands of friends in too short of a time period. While I am sure the Internet is full of people who check their MySpace page daily or more than once per day, I'm leaning toward more people signing up and then checking it rather infrequently.
MySpace is not a replacement for a good website for your act. It just isn't. I've seen many musicians make the mistake of using only MySpace to promote themselves and I think they are selling themselves short when they do so. If there are no organic skills either in your band or your own head to build a great website for your act, there are plenty of great tools at your disposal to get one made either by hiring somebody to do it for you or by teaching yourself to do it on your own. It ain't rocket science.
There are basic elements that you have to have on your act's website. These are 101 items that anyone should be able to put together. First and foremost, you need to register a URL for your act. If you're a solo, your first and last name plus dot com should be the first thing to go for when searching for a name. I was fortunate enough to have grabbed the dot com, dot org and dot net versions of my name back in the early 90's before people were rushing to grab them. At one point I owned the URL for my longtime BMI publishing entity, Psychotronic Music Publishing, but made the mistake of letting it lapse and it went bye-bye really fast. Oh well. Don't forget to pay your domain name bills!
Before you should even think about what your website is going to look like, you need to assemble the elements that you're either going to give to somebody to build it for you with or use yourself. These are namely a great bio page, a tour dates page with past bookings listed as far back as you can remember (to help new club bookers visiting your site see you are a working pro), contact page with an email address and phone numbers, a page that describes exactly what your booking terms and requirements are, a press section where you can put up news releases you're writing about projects you're doing, and most importantly, a media section where people can hear your music and if video is available, see your videos.
I'll spend some time this week diving into each of the things you need to put on a website and how to make sure they are done right so you don't do yourself more harm than good when putting this critical marketing element together. Stay tuned and use this Christmas vacation time to fine tune your new year of booking gigs and working as a musician.
Posted: 12/22/2008 9:07:04 AM
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