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It Doesn’t Take a Web Genius


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Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based musician, the founder and CEO of Ari’s Take and the author of How to Make It in the New Music Business.
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To me, the most frustrating thing is when my friends’ bands, who are incredibly talented, either don’t know how the web works, don’t care to learn the intricacies or just don’t put the time in to understand what’s important when interacting and posting on the web.

People are lazy. If they need to work to find your music online they will just give up and move on. You can’t expect someone to do more work than is expected. If you want someone to buy your song on iTunes from your YouTube video then the first line in your description should be “Download the song:” If you want them to follow you on Facebook then add that link in the description.

But most importantly, you have to actually turn it into a link! Starting links with www is so 2003. If you do this it’s as if you’ve ignored the last 7 years of web development. If you haven’t noticed you MUST start links with http:// on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and elsewhere if you want them to turn into links – allowing people to click it. Don’t expect that people will copy and paste your URL. Because even though it may not be that difficult to do, it’s mentally much more work than they’re willing to exert when passively checking out your band.

This level of web proficiency is so minimal, but so often overlooked. If you want to embed your new music video on your Facebook wall don’t leave it as just a link; make sure it actually turns into a video icon that will play within Facebook. Either you or someone on your team (in your band) needs to be proficient with how social media sites work (and their intricacies) and how the web works in general. If your band name isn’t coming up in Google searches on the first page (or the first hit), that’s a problem. There are countless blogs and reports on how to increase your search visibility. Read those and study up!

The reason your professionally recorded YouTube cover video isn’t getting a zillion plays, but some 15 year old kid’s is (who recorded her cover in her bedroom on a web cam) is for reasons that you need to understand. If you don’t, analyze it. Play around with every element of your video: wording of the title, related videos, blog recognition, and so on. Sometimes it will just be because you don’t have enough cleavage, but most of the time it will be for reasons that you just don’t take the time to understand or figure out. But even after endless analysis and trial and error, it still takes a bit of luck.

If you don’t know what Spotify is yet then you aren’t serious about music. If your music isn’t on Pandora then figure out how to get it on. It’s difficult, but possible. These are now two of the leading music streaming services in the world and many bands either aren’t on them or haven’t taken the time to figure them out.

+Buy My Damn Music (Spotify vs iTunes)

You must dedicate someone in the band (if not you) to keep up with all of this. I made sure my albums were on Spotify a week before it hit the US. How did I know it was coming? I keep up with music industry blogs and thought leaders. You need to as well. Managers do this so their artists don’t have to. Until you have a manager you have to do this.
+Allocating the Duties

Putting a cohesive online package together is the most important thing a band can do these days (aside from obviously mastering their sound, show and songs). When people visit your Facebook it should feel familiar because your website has the same themes. Your blog should compliment your image. People should get an understanding of what your entity is by browsing all of your websites. They shouldn’t become more confused. Most importantly, all sites need to be connected and cohesive.

If your website is featuring a photo shoot from 2 years ago and your Facebook features a shoot from last week, people will be confused. If your Twitter hasn’t been updated in 4 months, some will stop there and think you broke up.

+Does This Mustache Make My Ass Look Fat?

The big three right now are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You need a strong presence on all three (along with a .com website that you own). All the other sites aren’t as important and are constantly rising and falling. If you’re not on Reverbnation you may miss some opportunities, but most likely people will move on and check Facebook or your website and won’t think you don’t exist. It’s important to get on the sites that are important and the way you know what is important is by what the pulse of the scene dictates – not what you and your direct circle of friends think. If Reverbnation happens to explode in 3 months and you’re not on it, well then it will be like you don’t exist. If you didn’t have a Myspace profile in 2007 then you didn’t exist. If you push your Myspace now it seems like you don’t really understand where music has gone. Myspace is dead. Will it get reinvented? Maybe. But in 2012, sending people to your Myspace page is like taking your prom date to McDonalds. It’s just trashy.

If someone wants to check out your band and they search Spotify for you and you’re not on it then they’ll move on to another band and forget about you. Most people will exert very little effort in checking out a new act. So you must be where they will be looking so they can find you.

Is your website mobile? If not, well, it needs to be. As of this moment, the majority of twentysomethings are accessing the web on their mobile devices. If your website doesn’t work on a smart phone then you’re making it that much more difficult for someone to access you – making them take more steps adds frustration to their lives. Make sure you’re mobile.

Read Mashable and other leading tech blogs. This will help keep you up with the times, grandpa.

If you haven’t noticed, to be successful in the music industry you need to be successful online. You need to be innovative and cutting edge. You need to stay on top of all the trends and newest technology. You can’t be a late adapter. If your fans are on Twitter and you’re not because you’re too cool for it or just don’t want to put in the effort then you’re going to get left behind and your fans will be swept away by another band who may not be as talented as you, but is way more engaging and makes it much more fun to be a fan of theirs.

+Allocating the duties

About The Author

Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based musician, the founder and CEO of Ari’s Take and the author of How to Make It in the New Music Business.

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