Why Musicians Need Their Own Websites (As Told By 8 Music Industry Professionals)

by Ross Barber-Smith

As an independent musician, you’ve probably been told that you need a website, but maybe don’t know the different roles your website plays to different people. As a designer who specialises in websites for musicians, I know how important it is to have a solid web presence, and I have many friends in the music business who can vouch for that, too.

So, with this post, I wanted to get some insight from them on what they look for in an artist website, and how a good one can help THEM to help YOU in different areas of your career. In this post you’ll hear from publicists, radio pluggers, sync agents, artist development coaches, mindset coaches and booking agents to get perspectives from different areas of the music industry.

Why is having a website beneficial for artists?

Pam-Lewis Rudden of Plutonic Group Syncs on when it comes to pitching and landing placements:

  • To me, a website is a personalized business card – a formal introduction between me and the artist. A websites’ purpose is to help an artist bridge the gap between their geographical location and the rest of the world. Consolidating all of their information onto a website provides new fans, bloggers, music supervisors and sync agents, a one-stop-shop for relevant collateral related to the artists’ brand at the click of a button.

Radio plugger Emma Scott of Pluggin Baby on landing radio play: 

  • A website makes people take you more seriously and once a radio contact has listened to the music, they’ll usually have a look at your social media outlets – and if you have one – their website.
  • In this game, perception counts for a lot, so if a band is seen to have the full package, then I think people will feel more inclined to get behind them and play them on the radio.

Artist manager Christopher Carvalho of Unlock Your Sound on the overall picture: 

  • It’s an opportunity to fully express your brand, to make an impression, and to serve as a hub for the artist’s complete offering.

Publicist Angela Mastrogiacomo of Muddy Paw PR on landing press coverage:

  • I think it’s such a must-have! Social media is great, but your website is your central hub. It’s the press’ one-stop-shop for finding out everything about you, from getting press photos to learning your story to listening to your music. When you’re appealing to press, you want to get to a “yes” in as few steps as possible and if you can send them one simple link that gives them everything they need, you’re a lot closer to that “yes”.

Wade Sutton of Rocket to the Stars as an artist development coach:

  • I think most musicians don’t understand what the ultimate purpose of the website should be. Yes, there is the external purpose in that it provides fans with information (bios, show dates, contact and social media info) and allows fans to hear the artist’s music. But what most artists overlook is the internal purpose in that the website exists to collect data for future marketing efforts.
  • It is the single most consolidated tool for collecting the fan’s e-mail addresses in addition to their Internet traffic data via the Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics. Those two things allow the artist to create targeted ads for their music and shows on Facebook, Instagram and Google. You can’t capture all of that data from one place unless you are doing it on your website and you have to look at constantly pushing people to your website as a long-term marketing strategy.

Digital marketer and publicist Ariel Hyatt of Cyber PR:

  • Frankly, it’s simply unprofessional to not have a site. I’m pretty sure you know by now that your website (and email list) are the two things you have ultimate control over.
  • I know you like updating Instagram more than your regular website but never forget who owns Instagram and think about how you feel when your focus on Facebook. Your website is they only place online where you have complete control over your own narrative.
  • Your website will never be unfindable due to algorithmic changes and for marketing you can always use your website to keep fans and the industry up to date with what is happening with you.

Artist mindset coach Suzanne Paulinski of The Rock/Star Advocate:

  • Your website is the only piece of the internet YOU own. Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud… we act like they’ve been around forever but they can go as quickly as they came and your data and media would be gone. Not to mention, you can only brand those pages to an extent, with their own brand at the forefront.
  • Your website tells visitors why they should become fans and why they should work with you.
  • The first place I visit when someone wants to work with me is their website. It tells me how serious they are about their career.
  • As a mindset coach, I can’t help someone grow their business if they’re not already treating it like a business. If they are not ready to see themselves as business owners ready to commit to building a career in music there’s not much I can do.

Booking agent John Damiano of The Trep Agency on approaching venues and promoters for booking shows:

  • The short answer is that if you link up promoters/venues/other bands directly to your website, it not only works for fans who seek more info but you can show people on the industry side quickly & directly the information you’re trying to show them instead of leaving it up to them to navigate your Facebook or other social media. Theres a time and a place for that but having a website shows you’ve taken the extra step to direct everyone from all social media back to your spot which is important because social media trends come and go and an updated website shows everyone you’re in it for the long haul.

What impact does an artist’s website (or lack of one) have on you getting the best results possible for them?

Angela Mastrogiacomo (Muddy Paw PR):

  • If I can send press one link that’s going to give them everything they need (ie a website) it makes everyone’s life a lot easier, and in my opinion, helps press get a snapshot of the band a lot quicker than having to go to 20 different places and/or send back and forth 5 emails.  The more we have to go back and forth, the less chance we have at a really quality feature (or any feature at all).

Ariel Hyatt (Cyber PR):

  • Even if a music writer, blogger, or playlister doesn’t spend a lot of quality time on your site just having one and linking to it from your socials and including your link in pitches is showing the industry that you care enough and are smart enough to control your own narrative. As I just mentioned – you not only don’t own Instagram or Facebook or any other social site but you do own your website AND to top it off you have creative control over the theme, look colors and brand which are yours to choose 100%.

Pam Lewis-Rudden (Plutonic Group Syncs):

  • At the end of the day, all a supervisor wants is a song that enhances the visuals and storyline. Music supervisors and sync agents have similar discovery processes like everyone else. The first thing we do, when we receive a song we like is to Google the artist. The first result I expect to see is a link to a website.
  • In my opinion, there’s much more value attached to an active artist who has an online footprint with some kind of buzz and consistency.
  • When supervisors can find all this on an artist website, it elevates the song and potentially offers the chance of landing a coveted placement in a new Netflix TV series, a blockbuster film trailer or a major advertising campaign.

Christopher Carvalho (Unlock Your Sound): 

  • It’s an investment in one’s brand, which results in the impression of someone who is committed and will stick around, a brand people can get behind.

Suzanne Paulinski (The Rock/Star Advocate):

  • Without a website, there’s a lack of brand messaging on the part of the artist. There’s no home for people to join their mailing list, no home base to send people to all of their social media platforms and streaming services… it keeps us from diving into the more complex areas of their career when we have to start with the basics of creating their brand and online messaging.
  • When they already have a great home base to work with we’re able to hit the ground running and focus on exploiting the amazing tools they already have to the right people.

What are the features that are most important to you when it comes to an artist or band website?

Christopher Carvalho (Unlock Your Sound): 

  • EPK and a place for fans to subscribe in some way (mailing list etc), and where they can spend some money (merch, tix etc).

Pam Lewis-Rudden (Plutonic Group Syncs):

  • As a sync agent, the essential features of a musicians website I would like to see include an updated playlist of their discography along with lyrics of each track.
  • Links to press reviews, radio airplay and notable gigs/tours are also helpful, thus eliminating the urgency for me to scour the internet to locate additional background information.
  • A website should have personalized information, pictures and videos available to everyone as well as exclusive assets one can only find on the website (and not necessarily on social media).
  • All of this validates to the general public and music industry insiders that the artist is not only passionate about their music but also committed to their career in the long and short term.

John Damiano (The Trep Agency):

  • Easy access for fans to sign up for email blasts. This way no matter what social media accounts come and go, you’re in control and can reach out to your fans via email which buzzes everyones smartphones just like a text does anyway. This way, when I book tours for artists, they can email their fans the ticket link directly and have huge opening day ticket sale numbers.

Suzanne Paulinski (The Rock/Star Advocate):

  • It’s important my clients know who they are as artists. It’s hard enough seeing themselves as an entrepreneur, if they don’t know who they are as an artist it makes that all the more difficult. So a clear color palette, branded fonts, and photos that convey their artistic message are the things I look for first on any website.

Emma Scott (Pluggin Baby):

  • For achieving press and radio play even if you’re not hiring someone to get it for you, it’s important to have an EPK on your site, so radio and press can have access to high quality press shots and be able to download your music.  Or at the very least, have a link to Spotify, so they can hear you quickly and then get in touch with you to ask for downloadable versions. And a band email or contact form is important.

Angela Mastrogiacomo (Muddy Paw PR):

  • I really like a sleek, clean look. I want to be able to quickly locate your music, your bio, and your photos without any trouble. If there’s too much clutter I tune out.
  • I also want to see hi-res press photos on your photo or EPK page—I need to be able to easily find them, and click/download them. This is something press will need to be able to do as well.
  • Finally, I want it to be highly specific to your brand. I should be able to tell who you are and what you’re all about as soon as I click onto your website.

In Summary…

  • Your artist website is the first impression a lot of industry professionals will take. Make it a good one!
  • Having all the content industry professionals are looking for in one place saves them time, and could help give you the edge when time constraints are an issue.
  • An email list is one of (if not THE) most important features your site needs to have
  • Your website should communicate who you are as an artist clearly and effectively
  • Your website allows you to control your narrative
  • Having a website shows you’re dedicated to your career and in it for the long haul

Interested in levelling up your online presence and making a killer first impression with your website?
Get in Touch!

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