21st Century Digital Band

The time has come for me to share a piece of my my mind with you all. First off, let me set the stage (preferably stage right, holding my guitar high). Last night I had the extreme pleasure of seeing The Number 9 Blacktops melt faces in a Chicago club! Obviously a rare treat for me. With that, I also got to hang out and drink some Jim’s (Beam) with Jim (Skinny). But seriously the only thing I enjoy more then listening to artists is chatting with them. In addition to Jim, I got a chance to speak with a bunch of fantastic Chicago artists who came out to get their faces melted.


Now a common thread that I have found in talking to artists is promoting yourself in this crazy online internet thing. Surprisingly to myself I hear a lot of bands talking about the big Facebook. Heck, one straight out said to me, “In the end I am just trying to get the likes up on my Facebook.”

Yet rarely if ever do I hear a band say, “yeah, check out my website”. So being a web kinda guy and not a Facebook kinda guy I thought I would break this down a bit for you. You, your in a band, you want to get your band the most exposure possible. What route do you take in an online world?

Step 1: (Yes it is a huge pet peeve of mine) Don’t name your band something like ‘The Band’ get a little creative here. I mean seriously, unless you have some huge record deal and are being pumped out on every FM station across the country (does that ever happen anymore?) Google is not going to give a rats ass that you are the best damn band ever if your band name means something to the rest of the world. Lets say I wanted to call my band ‘The Cell Phones’, no one is ever going to find me on Google by my name. Unless of course you want a potential fan to work at it and search something like ‘cell phone band in suburban Chicago’. So get a good name. If you have done that, let’s get to the meat of this post.

Get a website! First off, I am old enough to remember the good old days when bands would say to me “Why would I get a website? MySpace is free and it is better then a website for bands.” Well, here we are a few years later…hows that MySpace Page treatin you now? But today, the argument is the same. Go replace MySpace with Facebook and you hear the same comments constantly today. So let me break this all down for you here. Facebook (or MySpace or whatever the new fangled internet thing is) vs Website! Ding! Ding! Ding!

Okay lets first go through the advantage of Facebook for your band (because there are some huge plus signs here).

I don’t know how to build a website, but I can build a killer Facebook page using only my phone!
I can update my fans of any news and shows I am doing without waiting for them to seek it out.
It is constantly updated, I can even post pictures of every show while I am at the gig!
Everyone I want to work with from promoters to record labels love Facebook because they can see what my current fan base is!
I get to post pictures of ugly cats rocking out to my music.

Definitely some huge pluses here. Which is exactly why I am NOT telling you to forget about Facebook. Doing so would be almost as dumb as naming your band ‘The Cell Phones’. But let us not count out our friend the website just yet.

So the website, while it is harder to get up, more difficult to update, and doesn’t let me push info out to my fans without being pushy, it does accomplish a lot that you may not always think about.

Walk with me here. You are my buddy, and I invite you out to have some Beam with me….or even better, a lot of Beam. We hit a couple clubs have a good old time. The next morning after you have some Gatorade you find yourself saying “Damn, remember that band we heard, they were killer! Damn what was their name…something like 7 skinny blacktops or something…” Where do you go? Well like everyone else, you start searching Google with variations of the bands name that you think you remember.

So now that we have taken that little trip into the gutter, we learned Google is important to getting more new fans. Well here is a little tip for all of you. Google and Facebook get along about as well as George McFly and Biff. Which means Google only ranks a Facebook page when it has to. So what ranks? Well for most bands it is their website first. Then it is a toss-up between the bands Facebook page, a YouTube video of them and a ReverbNation page.

So remember here I am not your fan yet. I just heard you in some alcohol induced daze. So I click on your Facebook. Awesome! I can see the ugly cat rocking out, I can see what you ate backstage. I can see some girl taking a selfie of herself at your show. But to really learn about your band I need to click deeper.

Now if I click on your website. I don’t see the ugly cat, but I do get a clear set of information about you. Your bio, your song samples, some controlled photography. Damn, now I know you are the band I heard last night. And you know what. I dig you, I am now gonna click over to your Facebook page and give you my coveted like!

So what have we learned kiddies? No, aside from the fact that Pipes is one twisted individual… Right, Get a website, A good one, a current one, one that shows the world who you are. And yes, don’t ever neglect the Facebook page either, but please get a website!



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