You're loaded up on MySpace – tons of friends and fans with pictures from your most recent shows, flyers for your next tour, and comments from the peanut gallery on everything from the outfit you wore last week to the person you just broke up with. But as much as this is working, it's limiting. Hugely limiting.
With your own website, your band goes to the next level. First, there's the credibility. MySpace is for basement bands, kids who practice after school when their drummer isn't grounded. When you have your own website, you can actually be a basement band with a drummer under perpetual house arrest, but to the rest of the world, you are a professional group of serious musicians, each member with an email address that includes your band's name.
Include a link to your website in every email you send out, list it at the bottom of flyers, put it on business cards and attach it to the demo CD you send out to record companies. Reviewers can get information about you from your site and, in turn, you can post comments they print. Give bios of the band members and ways to contact you. List lyrics to your songs and tour schedules. The more you have on your website, the more street cred you get – and anything is better than a little spot on MySpace.
Next, there's the possibilities. What can't you have when you've got your own website? You can sell your new album, t shirts in a variety of styles, hats, posters, patches, pins. You can upload samples of your songs, making a pseudo-demo tape available for fans, club owners, recording executives, and potential agents to listen to. Have a variety of forums for your fans to meet each other, get rides to shows, ask you questions, discuss your music – all conveniently separated into categories that would be impossible in the endless list of comments on MySpace.
You can also communicate with your band members through your website. Use secure pages that the public won't have access to and pass notes back and forth when one is out of town. Upload clips of that bass line you're working on or lyrics that you're having trouble with. Even if you all have 'real' jobs or go to school full time, you can still have band practice via the website.
Websites are a great way to develop your cult status as well. Upload live tracks from your shows and start a bootleg craze, new millennium style. Offer limited edition, hand screened t-shirts and patches. Create a blog and pick a fan out of every show to memorialize. Make up rumors about yourself and spread them. Start an online war with another band. Get noticed and get people listening to your music, talking about your band, and coming to your shows. Then start your own label and help them make their website as big of a success as yours is.