AMN Podcast: Boxhead Ensemble – Nocturnes

Jazz and classical are melded on this new recording.


AMN Opinion: How To Make Your Music Website Bloggable

As someone who spends a fair amount of time scouring the web-i-verse for interesting music, I’ve noticed a few things that might be useful for an artist, label, or designer of a music web site to keep in mind. I doubt that you’ll find any of this to be new or earth-shattering advice: most of this is just good old common sense along with an application of basic user interface design.

I’m posting this because I frequently get submissions from folks with an email, “Please link to my site!!!” However, I’m finding too many of these sites on the obtuse side with respect to who the artist is, what they do, what they have out, what it sounds like, etc. As a result, below you’ll find a list of basic principles of site design that you musical types should keep in mind.

  • Have a site. It is 2006 and if you are trying to promote your wares (whatever they are) you need a web site. Hosting is not too expensive and even a Myspace page goes a long way. Get something out there. I can’t blog a site that doesn’t exist.
  • Keep it up to date. While something is better than nothing, frequently updating your site up to date will ensure that I have more opportunities to link to it. At a bare minimum, announce your new releases and tour dates in a timely fashion. If you update your site once a year, that’s about how often people will visit it.
  • Make it browser-friendly. Don’t assume that everyone runs Internet Explorer. Make sure your site works well under Firefox, and maybe Opera and the Mac browsers as well. As time goes on you’ll have to make your site readable on cell-phone based browsers, which will force you to really think about what is important enough to present.
  • Make it easy for the casual viewer to find information. While some web-design advice might tell you to make your site “sticky” so that people come and stay, I don’t buy into this philosophy. Instead make it easy for your readers to get in, get out, and get the information they want quickly and efficiently so they can leave. That will keep them coming back. Everyone is short on time these days, and you need to respect this fact. One place to start is to use an RSS feed for announcements and news.
  • Make sure one can copy and quote the important information. I appreciate being able to quote a small chunk of news from sites rather than just linking to them. This helps my readers know what I’m blogging about and in turn helps you. Don’t obscure important text with bitmapped characters or heavy-handed Flash designs. I know you’re an artist and you will (and should) express yourself in whatever way you find appropriate, but today is the day of the interactive Web. Making your site easy to micro-chunk makes it easier for me to blog.
  • Provide free samples of your music. This is a biggie unless you are Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, or someone of that sort of reknown. Chances are most people don’t know who you are. They may want to know and the best way to let them find out is to let them hear you. It doesn’t have to be a high-quality encoding nor does it have to be a whole album or even a whole song. But it has to be something.

AAJ Reviews

From AAJ:

19-Nov-06 The Microscopic Septet
Surrealistic Swing (Cuneiform Records)

18-Nov-06 Henry Cow
Concerts (ReR Megacorp)

18-Nov-06 Rob Reddy’s Gift Horse
A Hundred Jumping Devils (Reddy Music)

18-Nov-06 Satoko Fujii
Satoko Fujii: Bell The Cat!, Illusion Suite, Minerva, Zephyros, and Angelona

18-Nov-06 Satoko Fujii
Satoko Fujii: Blueprint, Before The Dawn, Sketches, Live In Japan 2004, Fragment

18-Nov-06 Rova
Totally Spinning (Black Saint)

16-Nov-06 Bridge 61 and Farina / McBride / Gray
Bridge 61 and Farina/McBride/Gray: The Now & The Never-Heard-Before (Atavistic)