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It’s really, really easy for people to forget about you. It’s really, really easy for potential listeners to write you off because you look unprofessional. If you want people to take you seriously, then you need to take yourself seriously as well. If releasing music and growing a fan base is a goal of yours, then there are a few things that I think are absolutely necessary to portray a sense of professionalism and keep your fan base growing.


I’m amazed at how many artists are out releasing and promoting music but don’t have a website. Your Facebook page is not a website. If possible, your website should be www.mybandname.com (or something as simple and as close to that as possible). There doesn’t have to be a lot there, it can simply be a page that directs people to where they might want to go. A simple image and links to your Facebook/Twitter as well as links to places to purchase/listen to your music will suffice. Having that URL and a main landing page gives people the sense that you are taking yourself seriously and that you care about presenting yourself well to listeners.

Email Address

Now that you have a website at www.mybandname.com, it’s easy for you to get a snazzy email address like myname@mybandname.com. Hopefully you agree with me that an email address like that looks way better than something like mybandnamerocks@hotmail.com. It’s a unique email address and shows listeners that you’ve put some time and thought into how you are interacting with them.

Mailing List

So now you’ve got a website and a unique email address. Now you’re all set up to have a nice mailing list. I believe that the mailing list is the most important part of these three things, but it doesn’t make sense without the first two. When interacting with listeners over email, it’s more important than ever to be professional. People hate to get unexpected, annoying, or unprofessional things in their inbox and they’ll mark you as spam in an instant. But an email from a unique email address (myname@mybandname.com) with links to a unique URL has a much higher chance of being effective and getting people engaged.

I do highly recommend that you use a service to manage your mailing list for two reasons. The first is that the infrastructure a service provides gives people on your list the ability to easily unsubscribe. If you just BCC a bunch of people from your GMail account and don’t give them the opportunity to get off the list, you have the potential to make a lot of people mad and possibly get in trouble with spam laws. The second is that most services give you widgets and other things that help you add more people to your list. So you can put a signup box on your website, Facebook page, etc.

How, and How Much?

I know some of this stuff can be daunting to figure out, but I promise it’s not bad. I’ll give you a few tips here, and if you have more questions feel free to email me at andy@andyothling.com (see that nice email address?)

Website: There are two parts to this. You need to buy a domain name (www.mybandname.com) and a hosting service. I use Dreamhost to do this, but there are a million companies that do basically the same thing. This is where I bought the www.lowercasenoises.com domain name. As for hosting, you have a few options. Typically when you buy a domain name you can buy hosting as well with the same company. If you do this, you can install WordPress or any other website software you want and manage it yourself. The other thing you can do is use a service like Virb or Bandzoogle to handle hosting and use their service. I use Virb, and when I first signed up, the default URL they gave me was lowercasenoises.virb.com, but they give you the ability use your own URL which is what you see at www.lowercasenoises.com.

Email: Once you buy a domain name you should be able to use Google Apps to get an email address at that domain. It’s pretty easy to set up and most places where you buy the domain should help you with this. And don’t worry, it’s free if all you want is the email address functionality.

Mailing List: I highly recommend starting with FanBridge. They have a free version of their service you can try to see what you think.

So how much is all this? Well, a domain name is usually about $10/year. Hosting (whether from the same company or a service like Virb/Bandzoogle) typically starts at $10/month. The mailing list from FanBridge is free until your list gets too big, at which point you may need to start paying about $20/month.

The Big Picture

Hopefully you can see what having these three things does for you. You have a professional looking website where you can list contact information (your nice email address) and have a mailing list signup form. You have a unique email address that looks professional when corresponding with listeners. And you have a mailing list service that doesn’t annoy fans and is legitimized by the fact that you have a professional website and email address.

I guarantee that after you put these three things in place you’ll be viewed as much more serious and professional to your listeners.

Question: Do you see any ways that you can increase your professionalism in the eyes of your listeners? Lets talk about in the comments below!

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  • http://www.atlumschema.com Andy Mort

    good advice, andy. it amazes me how many bands don’t have a website and your left with a facebook, twitter, youtube and soundcloud to negotiate. it also amazes me how many bands still don’t use bandcamp. it made such a difference!

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      Absolutely agreed!

    • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.lytle.39 Joshua Lytle

      I worked briefly for a promotion/marketing company and was one of their employees in charge of finding new talent. What consistently frustrated all of us was when people would simply create a bandcamp with NO contact information and no further resources, just a bare page with their releases available for purchase. There were many missed opportunities, for sure.
      I don’t know how it is for other companies, but we were also actually pretty appreciative of well-managed facebook pages, especially if they gave us more resources.
      So, I say, for musicians who are strapped for cash and low on web-based talent, it’s definitely important to keep at least a bandcamp and a facebook.
      I’ve also known many groups who don’t update their facebook pages or whatever they’re using often enough, and interest never grows; that’s another waste of talent and opportunity. Always, always, always give your fans and potential listeners something to look at, even if it’s just a banal or brief status update.

  • http://twitter.com/SnowdownMusic Ilya (Snowdown)

    What’s the best course of action when one is short on money? That’s where I’m at.

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      I’d say buy a domain name for $10 and have it point to a Bandcamp page! So http://www.snowdown.com (or whatever) would bring people right to Bandcamp (which is free) that has links to all your other places if you use the image map option. Then use the free Fanbridge plan as long as you can. No monthly costs and only $10 for the domain!

      • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.m.elmore Andrew Elmore

        I really should know this, but I don’t because I am a fool. I own a domain, how can I direct it straight to my bandcamp page until I build the whole website?

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnzaymaschio John Zay Maschio

    First I want to let you know I found your stuff while researching the boomerang and really enjoy your music & playing. I’ve been inspired by what you’ve done online and have been looking at your online setup. I am currently at bandzoogle but am setting up a mock site on Virb which I am considering, especially b/c of the integration features. My issue is on deciding on a mailing list. I noticed you have gone over to Aweber. I am wondering what ultimately brought you that decision. I am considering mailchimp as well. Bandzoogle has some cool mailing features like sending downloads codes for one but it seems the autresponder feauture may be more worth it in the long run. Was this a basis for your decision?? Thanks…

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      Thanks so much John! Yes, I am using AWeber for this site, but for Lowercase Noises I am still using Fanbridge as my mailing service. I don’t need autoresponder functionality for the LN site, but I do for this one, so that’s the main reason!

  • Leon

    My advice: Don’t use Comic Sans. Ever.

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      Yes. I am unfortunately guilty of using Papyrus in the past. I plead ignorance.

      • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.m.elmore Andrew Elmore

        Shame, because Terry’s artwork is most rad, as are the tunes, but DAT PAPYRUS!

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.m.elmore Andrew Elmore

    “mybandnamerocks@hotmail.com” I GAVE YOU MY EMAIL ADDRESS IN CONFIDENCE!

  • Pingback: What should you spend money on when releasing music? - Andy Othling

  • Howlin’ Hobbit

    Fanbridge… maybe. Mailchimp for sure. by the time you’re required to go to the paid level on Mailchimp, you’ve got 2000 people on your list and you’re certainly making enough money to afford the “jump” to the paid level.

  • http://twitter.com/orbitoverluna orbit over luna

    Hey Andy, thanks for the advice!
    You mention that Google apps is free if all you need is the Gmail. Is that still the case? I can’t seem to get it to work.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.
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