You’ve worked hard to build up your online presence, and the daily effort you put in to keep up engagement across different channels can sometimes feel like a full-time job in itself. So why bother adding an artist website to your list?
The ongoing drama around whether TikTok will be banned in the United States is just one more reminder of how easily social media platforms can come and go (RIP MySpace), or suddenly change their rules.
Here are just a few of the reasons why it’s smart for musicians to have their own website — and how you can turn it into one of your best sources of income.
Why musicians still need to have a website
You control the experience.
Unlike social media platforms where your success hinges upon ever-changing algorithms and paid posts, you own all of your website content and have total control over the user experience.
You get to curate every sentence, photo, and call-to-action, and arrange it all exactly as you want to be seen online. You can customize everything from the fonts to the color scheme and make it a perfect visual representation of your brand. You have the freedom to update your website anytime, and focus visitors’ attention on whatever is most important to you.
You own your data.
With social media, you’re essentially renting your audience. With a website, all of your fan data is yours. You can collect email addresses, buyer information, and any other details that might be useful as you build your following and deepen your superfan connections.
It’s better for SEO.
Your music website will have more authority than a social media page, as long as you choose a good domain name and follow best practices for SEO. These will all help you appear at the top of search results when someone is looking for more information about you.
Industry and media expect you to have one.
You’ll get taken way more seriously as a musician if it’s clear that you’ve invested time into creating a professional-looking website. First impressions count, so be sure to include an up-to-date bio, high-quality press photos, upcoming events, and your most recent music and videos.
You make more money.
One of the best perks of having your own website is that you can directly sell your music and merch at whatever price you want, with no middlemen involved. And with Bandzoogle, any sale you make is commission-free — which means more money in your pocket to invest in your next project.
How do musicians make money through their websites?
The coronavirus pandemic has halted some of the most lucrative aspects of the music industry, and artists who rely mainly on live performance income have obviously been among the hardest hit.
But we’ve been inspired by how creative musicians have gotten with generating new kinds of revenue during extraordinarily difficult times. Here are some of the best ways we’ve seen artists monetize their websites that you can easily try out for yourself.
Sell your music direct-to-fan.
Whether you want to set a fixed price or let fans pay whatever amount they can afford, you get to call the shots when you sell your music through your own website. And as mentioned earlier, you’ll own all the data and emails you collect, which you can put to good use for future campaigns.
Sell physical and digital merch.
When you think of band merch, you probably think of physical goods like T-shirts, posters, vinyl, hats, and stickers. While those are all great options, you may want to consider expanding your offerings to include digital merch such as video lessons, sheet music downloads, or lyric ebooks. They tend to be lower cost and lower risk than investing in physical merch, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Sell live stream tickets.
Since no one can predict with certainty when in-person shows will be a thing again, now is the time to shift your efforts to monetizing live streams. Music fans are more willing than ever to support artists online right now, so selling access to live-streamed performances through your website can help you make money from home.
Accept tips and donations.
It can sometimes feel awkward to ask for tips or donations, but if you make the process as seamless as possible, your fans will be much more likely to do it. Bandzoogle members have already earned nearly $200,000 since mid-May through the new Tip Jar feature, and the average tip from fans was $42.12.
Offer fan subscriptions.
If you’re up for the challenge of sharing lots of creative content on a consistent schedule, fan subscriptions have the potential to be your most reliable source of recurring revenue. They’re designed to give your biggest supporters access to exclusive recordings, performances, videos, merch, and rewards, in exchange for a monthly contribution. .
How much money are musicians making with all of this?
To give you a better idea of the potential for these income streams, here’s a snapshot of the revenue generated by Bandzoogle’s community of over 50,000 artists since the pandemic hit North America in mid-March:
Bandzoogle doesn’t take a cut of any of those revenues, as has been the case for our entire 17-year history as a website platform for musicians. Payments always go straight from fans directly to the musicians themselves.
If you’re serious about the longevity of your music career, a website is one of the smartest investments you’ll ever make. Pandemic or no pandemic, all of the effort you put into monetizing your website now will continue to pay off in the long run.
Dave Cool (yes, that’s his real name) is the VP of Business Development at Bandzoogle. Built for musicians, by musicians, the all-in-one website platform offers powerful design options, a commission-free music and merch store, mailing list management, detailed fan analytics, integrations with social networks, and more.