Monthly Archives: April 2011

Sorry Dude…Your Website Sucks

You got a kick butt designer to build your website…it looks totally cool…it’s edgy…it has attitude.

Fantastic for you… but I can’t find anything.

One band’s homepage is a hot mess.  The print is very small and hard to read…except the sponsor ads/logos…they are very clear.  The band makes original music, but there isn’t a link to it or even a mention of it anywhere on the home page.  On the “store” page (no, there isn’t a “music” page), all the other merchandise is listed before the CD…you must scroll to find the music.  To be honest, if I had just stumbled upon this site, I’m not even sure I’d know off the bat that it was for a band.  Another band site has a very artistic flair, but there doesn’t seem to be any more to it than the homepage.  Turns out you have to pass the cursor over a weird little moving thingy off to the side in order to reveal the rest of the navigation buttons (and it’s really hard to do, BTW).  Oh, and there’s nothing that tells you that’s what the weird little moving thingy is for.

The bottom line…it’s not enough that your website “looks cool”.  It has to be functional as well and not just for the super computer literate.  The average web surfer is only marginally computer literate.  They know how to connect to the internet and they can point and click and check email…and that’s pretty much all they can do.  I’m not only talking about seniors who are just discovering the magic of computers…I’m also talking about people my age and only slightly older (I, myself am 38, FYI).  Your website should be designed with the assumption that whoever is going to look at it has zero patience (the very literate ones have even less patience with poor design) ,minimal knowledge about how to navigate the internet and have found your band site by accident and have no idea who you are.  In other words, make it clean, organized, easy to read and navigate.

I’m no programmer, but I know my way around a computer and I’m really good at navigating the web…and poorly designed websites annoy the crap out of me.  It should be very clear (and in a normal, reasonably sized font…save all the calligraphy and cursive stuff for your album cover, please) who you are, what you do and what you have available right on the homepage…with minimal scrolling needed.  Unless I’m doing research for something I’m writing, I will not go searching all over a website to find what I’m looking for if there’s no clear path to it on the homepage, especially if I’m looking for the band’s music.  If you’re making me work really hard to find it, you must not really want me to listen to it…or buy it…or tell my friends about it.  If it’s for sale through a third party, and you’re not giving me a direct link to that site…you are poop out of luck.

Web design can be likened to automobile design.  It’s great that the car is sleek, stylish, super modern and aerodynamic…but if you have to remove the front end of the car in order to change the battery, the design is simply no good.  A website can be easy to read and navigate and still “look cool”.   Your fans (and potential fans) will thank you for it.  Check out these sites to get some good looking, functional design ideas.

Jeff Albert

Cindy Scott

Paula and the Pontiacs

Danny Eyer

Journey

Martin Sexton

Airplay for Indies…Of Many Genres

The short  list I’ve included here came from my copy of the Indie Bible, a great annual resource for independent musicians and bands.  I double checked the list, since my copy is a little old, just to make sure all the info is still correct and that they still accept submissions and will play independently produced music.  I’ve included as much specific information as possible.  Some radio stations will accept electronic submissions but most still prefer hard copies, so if I’ve listed a snail mail address, you need to mail a CD.  In general, try not to send too much crap along with your CD (usually the CD, band bio and picture are enough) and always put your contact info on EVERYTHING that you send.

Here is the short list of college radio stations in Louisiana that play a variety of genres. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be from LA to send your music to them, but it helps if you’ll be playing in the area the station covers at some point:

KLPI -Louisiana Tech 

Website:    http://klpi.latech.edu/testsite/
Mail submissions to:
KLPI
Attn: Music Director
P.O. Box 8638
Ruston, LA 71272

KSCL -Centenary College

Website:   www.centenary.edu/life/kscl
email digital submissions to:   zoowens@gmail.com,
or mail hardcopies to:
KSCL
Attention: Zakk
2911 Centenary Blvd.
Shreveport, LA 71104.

KSLU -Southern Louisiana University

Website:    www.selu.edu/kslu
Mail submissions to:
KSLU
SLU 10783
Hammond, LA  70402

KXUL  -University of Louisiana

Website:    http://kxul.com
Mail submissions to:
91X / KXUL
Attn: Music Director
130 Stubbs Hall
401 Bayou Drive
Monroe, LA 71209

WTUL -Tulane University

Website:     www.wtul.fm
To submit music, send it to the mailing address below.
(If Local/Louisiana band add ATTN: Local Music Director)

WTUL New Orleans 91.5fm
Tulane University
Box 5069
New Orleans, LA 70118

Be aware that just because you send them a CD, they have absolutely NO obligation to play it.  So, don’t send eleventy million emails to them  and NEVER send an angry letter or email because they didn’t choose to add you to the playlist.  That’s a really good way to never, ever get airplay from them.  If you do get added to the playlist, they most likely will not notify you.  So, it’s your responsibility to keep track of the station playlist, which they will usually have online, and if/when you see your song(s) be sure to send a little “thank you” note to the Music Director.

If you live in a different state, there may be even more options for you (not just college radio), so check out the newest edition you can of the Indie Bible from your local public library (or buy the latest one online…you could split the cost with the band) and see what’s listed.  You’re going to need to check out websites and verify contact info anyway, so even if the edition is a few years old (like mine) it should still have a bunch of information and listings that are still good.  Good Luck!

Indie Musicians and Bands…Don’t Miss Sync Up 2011!

Jazz Fest is almost upon us and that also brings the Sync Up Conference.  The conference is put on by the Jazz Fest Foundation and takes place each Friday and Saturday morning during Jazz Fest at the New Orleans Museum of Art.  It’s FREE to attend, BUT you have to register in advance because seating is limited.  If you won’t be in NOLA, they’ll also be streaming the panels live on the web via Liveset.  They have great panel discussions and you’ll learn an awful lot.  Don’t miss it…at this price, you can’t go wrong.

To learn more and/or register, click here.