Making ends meet as a musician is tougher than ever. Artists interested in sustaining themselves with careers are learning need to take matters into their own hands. This means booking your own gigs, nurturing your own fan communities, handling your own publicity, publishing your own recordings and selling your own products.
Following several years of declining sales, labels and agencies have removed “artist development” from their areas of expertise and are focusing on promotions for shrinking stables of existing and aging superstars only.
With a do-it-yourself work ethic now relevant to the vast majority of the music industry, musicians are left scratching their heads. After all, didn’t you choose this line of work because you wanted to spend your time creating and playing music? More and more musicians are finding Wix to be essential in their search for balance between art and commerce, using our easy and powerful tools to create and update their complete online presences. Meet four musicians who created Wix websites and are making it – on their own terms.
Roudman fronts the Bay Area-based gypsy jazz, blues and funk ensemble known as Dirty Cello. The group gigs mostly in the Pacific Northwestern United States, but they’ve also staged successful tours in Hawaii and China.
“We probably wouldn’t be able to function very well without a website,” Roudman says. Dirty Cello’s site includes updated stacks of video embeds, a page where visitors can buy recordings with their PayPal accounts, and lists of upcoming shows – complete with links for buying tickets.
“We are very much a do-everything-ourselves kind of band, and that’s where Wix really has come in – helping us,” adds Jason Eckl, the band’s guitarist.
Drummer and vocalist for the Black Hats, a hot power pop trio, Mark Franklin says his band built their online presence with Wix because the platform they had been using previously made him feel “too restricted by the limited options and feeds/widgets we could apply into the layout.”
He’s happy that the Black Hats made the change. “Whilst the templates are easy to use, the flexibility gave us the freedom to make the site that we wanted and add the content that we felt was most important,” he says.
“As a band, our main worry should be writing better songs and playing better gigs,” notes Franklin, who prefers not to spend all day wrestling with tricky tech tools and the code that drives them. The Wix App Market’s many musician-friendly components make it all possible, he says. “The built-in SoundCloud and YouTube widgets mean we can keep our music and video feeds up-to-date without having to worry about complicated embed codes or html. Plus we can add widgets for all the major social networks so that as soon as we add something online, our website can pick it up and run with it.”
On the Black Hats’ site, visitors can listen to embedded songs, buy concert tickets, browse the band’s Tumblr feed, subscribe to their newsletter and click through to no less than nine band-branded social media profiles.
Raised in Israel and studying at Boston’s Berklee College of Music for the past two-plus years, tenor saxophonist and jazz composer Daniel Rotem refuses to let distractions bring him down. “I truly believe that in order to create music, enjoy the process, and have the listener enjoy it as well, one should …be as focused and grateful as possible for the opportunity to create music and share it with others,” he says.
Generally a technophobe, Daniel took the plunge and built his own site using Wix. He kept the design fanciness and the social marketing integrations to a minimum, but the site serves him well and covers all the basics – lists of upcoming performances, downloadable bio sheets, photos, videos and streaming audio players.
“People say my site looks professional, clean, beautiful and to the point,” he acknowledges. “That is exactly what I wanted to achieve.”
A soft and intimate singer-songwriter originally hailing from Switzerland, England-based Nadine has been actively branding herself online for over two years. Now she’s hoping to leverage the fan community following that she’s successfully built up to make her upcoming debut EP into a hit.
Nadine designed her own site using Wix, making some interesting and unconventional decisions along the way. Alongside streaming music players, she has included the lyrics to many of her songs, so visitors can read along while they bliss out to her tunes.
Nadine’s homepage features a series of multimedia “News” updates, which gives the site a dynamic, almost blog-like feel. And it’s all framed by decorative design elements that she drew by hand, an awesome feature for an ambitious DIY-er. “I wanted to start from scratch, enjoyed building it up, moving things around, being free to do whatever I wanted,” she says of the process. “I’m glad to have a website which is linked with my social networks, now all I need to give to my audience is my website domain.”
Spring Will Come drops on the digital music shops next week.