Conventions & Awards

Bruce Warila: Every Major Artist Is Failing As An Independent Media Channel & What To Do About It

This guest post from music tech entrepreneur and philosopher Bruce Warila (@brucewarila) is excerpted from a piece on the informative Music Think Tank blog.

With minimal exceptions ( at #14,077), there are 20,000 websites that rank ahead of almost every artist website on earth.  Why is it that sites like,, and twenty thousand other sites are more popular than the websites run by U2, DMB or Coldplay?

…The reason that artists don’t rank high… is that the websites (and Twitter accounts) operated by standalone artists can only deliver the “this-website-informs-me” value proposition. Compared to 100,000 other sites on the Internet, even established artists fail to deliver anything valuable on the web but informative (who, what, when) information…

Yes, the type of site every artist has now can be a perfect compliment to your offline business, but this post is about calling attention to the work that needs to be done to climb the (web) charts as independent media channels in a converged world where all media is accessible via a web browser or a wireless application.

There’s strength in numbers.  Consider starting here:

To begin with, ten major artists, thirty to forty mid-level artists, and fifty up-and-coming artists on the same site can deliver additional and expanded value that standalone artist sites cannot.  A multi-artist site can go far beyond the “this-site-informs-me” and the “this-site-entertains-me-for-more-than-ten-minutes” value propositions. 

If you are looking at sites like or or, I believe these sites are glimpses into the future of multi-artist sites aspiring to become productive media channels.  If I were an artist, I would seriously consider starting or joining one of these ventures.  Moreover, I wouldn’t hesitate (details aside) to drop my own site to pool resources with others that share the same vision.

Read Bruce Warila's full post on Music Think Tank.

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  1. dude. check your facts. there are plenty of artist sites ranking high. 50 Cent ( is top 1500, top 5000 ww, Lady Gaga – – top 8000, Kanye ( broke 9000 ww last time I checked. etc etc.

  2. ^^And what they all have in common is a bigger platform and community involvement. Those are exceptional sites and they get exceptional results.

  3. funny that bruce mentioned friends or enemies, bc they practically ripped off their model from okayplayer. creating a mall for likeminded bands to grow together has been the future for over 10 yrs.

  4. ^^Why would you say they ripped off OkayPlayer? It’s a Ning site. Is there any possible configuration of a Ning site that wouldn’t fit your definition of “ripping off their model”? Ning IS the model, even saying they ripped something off makes it sound like more work than it was.
    But there’s millions (maybe billions) of Ning sites that failed and fizzled, and where they DID work, and work very very well, is engaging and building their community. They built something very impressive outta nothing at all. Trying to trace the lineage of their idea is a task that ends wherever your frame of reference does. The point is, they executed.

  5. @dave funny you mentioned because that was exactly what I thought of when I first read this.
    They were definitely one of the first sites (1999) to build a large community around a roster of likeminded artists, a forum, and a daily blog (before blogs were all the rage).
    That’s neither here nor there, though. I agree with Bruce’s premise. Mutli-artist sites make a lot more sense and is a win-win for everyone if done properly.

  6. The original posting compared single-artist sites to, among others, Bruce probably knows what is, but for other readers: is the leading folk music discussion forum in the US. The discussion engages a decent number of people, including some artists, and even if one is just a passive reader there is a ton of new comments and information (and useless opinion 🙂 ) every day. As one could probably tell from its no-frills text-only design, traces its origins back to 1996. It’s a venerable, lively, fan-run music community. (Maybe it’s “Pitchfork” for geezers! 🙂 )

  7. wallow-T. I didn’t exactly realize that. It was random. I looked at the site. It looked olddddddd. So I picked it as an example to drive my point home.

  8. bruce; on one hand, i agree with you, on another, totally disagree. is essential from my seat to operating a business in the music business.
    take know the story behind that site? started by falloutboy’s management team to create a place where they could grow other bands like fallout (panic at the disco as an example), build a promotional community, sell ads (because ads on is just plain dumb), and have a place where folks who had an interest in the sub genre that falloutboy represents could connect. brilliant!
    but, they certainly did not shut down the bands sites.
    one of the problems with these artist sites is they are run by managers with zero digital competence. another problem is that these sites are often moved to the lowest bidder (no constancy of purpose) and are often the afterthought from a business priorities standpoint… if you make mid to high six figures a night on tour, why do you care about a site that might (might) make you 7 figures over the course of a year? a short sighted strategy, but a reality…
    artists don’t like to share, generally, and particularly big artists…kanye was my client, and while wicked smart in many ways, often missed the point.
    bon jovi got (gets) it big time. he understands not only how to use the web to make money, but how to use it to SAVE costs in the real world…
    great post, great discussion…..

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