Dream band website creator
September 9, 2008 2:15 PM   Subscribe

What is the best user friendly website or web app for bands or musicians which enables you to manage the design, look, music, pictures, and news on a daily basis without having the knowledge to make a web page or having no knowledge of web design?

I've been trying to help a friend find a solution to a need. Everything below was written by him. I will act as an intermediary for followup questions and suggestions.

I am an independent musician and would like to create a band website. I am looking for a free or cheap program or service that already builds the site for you but gives you the ability to customize the look, insert music, pictures, daily news, or anything else with little or no effort.

I play World of Warcraft and manage a guild. This new website called Wowstead introduced itself a couple of months ago and forms a solid foundation while the user determines the look and enters pictures and news, etc. I have no knowledge of making a web site but this site makes it very simple to update things with ease on a daily basis. I like that it's extremely user friendly and the look is highly customizable. So my question is, is there a website like this but for musicians?

I've tried Myspace Music and Wordpress but neither do it for me. Myspace has a ton of limits including the amount of songs and the customizable portion of the site, not to mention that you are some what limited to using their method of selling your music. The concept behind Wordpress seems close but does not cover the music portion and seems to be all about the themes. I haven't been able to find a suitable theme and don't have the knowledge to customize one. Previous answers on AskMefi haven't hit what I'm looking for.

Any ideas or suggestions?
posted by sublivious to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't mean to come across as a dick here, but the answer is that if he doesn't know how to do this with HTML or some CMS (content-management system), he should really hire someone who knows how to set this stuff up and then leave it alone (and maybe do a little back-end support when necessary). What he wants doesn't have to be wordpress, but basically any blog software and hosting system can do exactly this. Hell, even ColdFusion could. But it's either going to require some setting up on your friends' part, or paying someone who knows what they're doing to do it for them. (I'm only grouchy about this because for a long time, a significant portion of my job was looking at crappily-designed band websites).
posted by klangklangston at 2:23 PM on September 9, 2008

If he's looking for programs by which to build a website, Dreamweaver was drag-and-drop, last time I checked.
posted by klangklangston at 2:24 PM on September 9, 2008

Bandzoogle is made for bands, easy to use, has lots of templates and widgets but is also customizable if that's what you're looking for. But it's not free. But for $15 a month, it's pretty much everything else you're looking for.
posted by platinum at 2:47 PM on September 9, 2008

I haven't done much with my band's site yet, but I like the possibilities of Virb, which kind of looks like MySpace done right (albeit without the user base). The markup is clean, you can upload more content, and the CSS is easy to edit.
posted by substars at 2:59 PM on September 9, 2008

I don't think what you're looking for exists. For some horrible reason (oh right, teenagers) wretched MySpace has become the current free standard for bands and musicians. In fact I think these days if you're serious about using the internet as a promotional tool you are crazy not to maintain a MySpace page.

I think the themes thing in WordPress generally reflects a normal level of low-DIY customizability available for free for general purpose web display tools. If you aren't aware there are tons of free user-generated themes for WordPress (and I imagine other free blog type services) beyond whatever the official offerings are at headquarters. But the options aren't that thrilling in my exploration. I know someone who is working on music management software - but I think you probably have to be fairly technical to get it running yourself, though it is open source and so freely available. You can also get things like the widget mathowie uses to embed tune players on Music and such and stick them in any standard web page. Then there are the musician oriented things like garageband, zebox, CD Baby has a service but it's for pay... I would love to be proven wrong by something I don't know about but I think that's about as good as it gets for musicians right now.

If I were really trying to promote myself as a musician right now I think I'd have to seriously contemplate doing the best I could with what was available on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, and taking a close look at music-centric things like garageband and thesixtyone.com and picking some to keep up with. Music is about community and those are the places that have them right now.
posted by nanojath at 3:09 PM on September 9, 2008

Virb might be a good one to check out. Think myspace without the webcam spam, annoying ads, and saturated marketplace. I don't know much about webdesign either but managed to set up a decent enough page there. Plus you can link it to a blog and have your blog updates automaticlly post to virb too.
No limit to the amount of songs you can put up too.
posted by robotot at 3:52 PM on September 9, 2008

Also check out cllct. It's a website for people who want to give their music away for free. Not much in the way of flexibility of design, but it's a nother cool little community of musicians that hasn't grown to myspcae size yet, so there is still the chance that your music can be heard there, and not drowned out.
posted by robotot at 3:54 PM on September 9, 2008

I've been in the process of building something like this for a while now, though I'm not going to lie: It's still a ways off because it's a spare time project.

Bandzoogle is the closest thing I've seen -- but it's not good enough to have made me stop working on my project... it's... meh.

Thing is, you're going to have to pay for it - period. Services like this can't get by on advertising, because not enough people have heard of your band, so you're not getting enough traffic for the advertising to pay the service provider for the hard drive space and bandwidth you take up, the overhead of developing and maintaining the system, etc.

Are there free options out there? Yeah, there's some free CMSs.. there's Google Sites... there's stuff like that... but none of it is going to be customized to provide exactly what you want, and none of it is guaranteed to exist tomorrow.

Your best bet in the short term is to use MySpace and check out services like Bandzoogle.

If I had a little more motivation, I'd get moving faster on my little project... which would be kind of a sub-part of openingbands.com ... my older project ...
posted by twiggy at 9:53 PM on September 9, 2008

To be 100% honest the amount of time you'll end up spending to get something that looks really sub par will probably end up sucking more out of you than the fairly reasonable rates you can pay now for a web designer.

If you're stuck on going absolute cheap, buy a template from templatemonster.com, they have some really cool ones, and then hire a web designer to customize it. You will NOT be able to do it yourself. Creating websites takes months to get your feet wet, and years to be good at. Bare minimum you need to spend $500, that's going the cheapest route you can for something that looks good (but it's still a template).

You can hire a custom website design company and you'll find that for what you get, paying a few $k isn't really that big of a deal. If you're serious about making things happen, an incredible website is one of the best investments you can make. Period.
posted by calvinfr at 12:30 AM on September 12, 2008

« Older What is the best cheap web host?   |   Just need a stable webhost Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.