Suggestions for Improving Your Musician or Ensemble Website

24

February
2010

I spend a lot of time doing research for Harmonia, and not just the musicological variety. For every program, podcast, and blog post that features a musician or ensemble, some current (and reliable) information has to be found, whether they are famous or up-and-coming.

Aside from information available through agents, recording distributors, and CD liner notes, I almost always rely on the content found at a musician or ensemble website. I go on the assumption, like many other people, that the website is tended to regularly and that it contains the most thorough and trustworthy information.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Too often I find, if a website exists at all, that there isn’t enough information. And if it’s there, it doesn’t get updated very often. There are exceptions, of course, but it’s more common than you might expect (especially for some of the more well-known ensembles).

In today’s internet-driven arts market, musicians cannot afford to ignore the kind of promotion that a personal/ensemble website offers. It’s all about getting your name/product out there and having some reasonable amount of control over the message.

Here are a few, basic points to consider if you are going put up a website, re-designing it, or just wondering if what’s there suffices. This is not about look, but content.

Getting around: Is it easy to navigate? Can a person who lands on your site immediately find that you are X, do X, look like X, sound like X, and contact you? There a millions of ways to design a site, but if a visitor cannot navigate it, you’ve just put up an expensive art project.

Biography: However you write your bio, at least keep it updated with perennial information. If you have to make lists of current or upcoming appearances, update regularly. It’s not fun to read a bio in 2010 whose final paragraph starts with “for the upcoming 2006-2007 season.”

Photo: I always need an image to accompany a featured artist, which means a current and high-quality photo. For the Harmonia website, an image that is 1000 pixels in width is mandatory (the file size can vary). This allows for necessary cropping in order for it to posted and viewed properly.

Listen: Do your sound files play when you click on them? Are they of good quality? If so, is the music representative of who you are? I sometimes find it a little perplexing to listen to a singer wanting to be known, in part, as an early music specialist and all they have to offer is Handel arias accompanied by a pianist. It’s worth the time and expense to get this one right.

Watch: Video has become indispensable in promoting yourself. If you already have some video content on you website, ask yourself the same basic questions as you do for sound files. As well, is the video on YouTube or Vimeo? If you have it on either of those, I will usually post them as part of a feature or on the Harmonia Facebook page. Good performances need to be sharable.

Contact: This one is self-evident. A visitor should have the option to send you a message, if for no other reason than to say how nicely organized they found your website.

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