Bands and Artists Websites – Showcase and Best Practices

I think web-design is an art just as much as music is. Being a musician myself there are some things I personally like and want to see on a band website and there are some things that really bug me.

Things like landing pages, splash pages, music that starts automatically, all-Flash sites and cluttered interfaces often make me wonder who’s in charge and why record labels and artists still do those things when they clearly get in the way of a great user experience.

Trends And Changes

I did notice some trends though. A lot of bands and artists are now very active on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Last.fm, which is a good thing since fans can get a glimpse of their everyday life and get behind the scene info. I also noticed that a lot of band websites that used to be all Flash a couple years ago are now turning to CSS/HTML/JS and many also have blogs.

It’s all about interacting with fans, so it really makes sense to have all those tools and platforms at your disposal when you’re in a band. (of course a lot of band websites have a really bad case of ‘MySpace-itis‘ but let’s not think about this too much – it hurts.)

What Does A Band Website Need?

Of course it’s all about the music, so it should be easy to listen to tracks and buy the album(s) and merch, but it’s also about keeping fans up to date so a list of upcoming shows and events is a must have. Let’s make a quick list:

  • Latest news
  • Upcoming shows and events
  • Blog: opinions, behind the scene stuff and social networks
  • Merchandise: full online store
  • Media: pictures, videos and other rich media content
  • Story and bio: about the band and members
  • Mailing list/Newsletter system

I think those are the ‘essentials‘ but many bands also have things like fan clubs, street teams, surveys, wallpapers, mobile apps and ringtones, and a bunch of other cool things that are meant to keep fans interested and spreading the word about their favorite band.

The Showcase

Collecting band website designs that are actually well-designed and don’t have a splash page or music that starts automatically is a very tedious process, but I’ve managed to collect 20 – unfortunately many of them still have intro pages or auto-play music players, but I thought they were worth mentioning. Enjoy!

Avenged Sevenfold ↓

Avenged Sevenfold

Slipknot ↓

Slipknot

John Mayer ↓

John Mayer

Kid Rock ↓

Kid Rock

Brad Paisley ↓

Brad Paisley

Breaking Benjamin ↓

Breaking Benjamin

Death Cab For Cutie ↓

Death Cab For Cutie

HIM ↓

HIM

Suie Paparude ↓

Suie Paparude

Gary Nock ↓

Gary Nock

Fall Out Boy ↓

Fall Out Boy

Kings Of Leon ↓

Kings Of Leon

U2 ↓

U2

The Blizzards ↓

The Blizzards

Jamie Cullum ↓

Jamie Cullum

Dave Matthews Band ↓

Dave Matthews Band

Collective Soul ↓

Collective Soul

Zac Brown Band ↓

Zac Brown Band

Sevendust ↓

Sevendust

Linkin Park ↓

Linkin Park

Your Turn To Talk

I hope you liked this post! Which ones are you favorites? Of course this list would not be complete without your input so feel free to chime in and share your own findings with the rest of us. Cheers!

Comments

  1. Jessica says

    I really like the sites that actually show the artist(s). Thinking as someone who doesn’t know a band, I would want to see them. And if I’m already a fan, I’m not going to mind seeing them again. The Breaking Benjamin site is my favorite from the list. It shows the band without it being intrusive.

  2. David says

    Bands and artists websites should always have a music/discography section. Some of these sites don’t have it.

  3. says

    Good point! Actually almost all of those bands have a discography section. It’s often under ‘music’ or ‘media’ instead of ‘discography’.

    Of course some bands and artists don’t really need a discography section – if they’re releasing their first album for example.

  4. says

    Well, I don’t see what’s wrong with welcoming people to your site. Granted ‘welcome to my site’ is a bit generic and could be replaced with something better, but I think this site gives good enough information about him and his music (especially since he’s releasing his first EP soon – not all artists have a ton of stuff to show, like U2 or other huge bands)

  5. says

    He’s nice but to big. 80% Of the website for the header – that’s a no go for web usability.

    But the graphic is nice – although I don’t know what that should be exactly :-)

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