Though I advocate for the use of a lot of different web services and social networks, I've always maintained that musicians and music-related businesses should have a home-base that is under their control at their own domain.
Platforms come and go. Accounts are destroyed. If your primary web presence is on a platform controlled by someone else, your future is also under their control.
Fred Wilson, an investor partly responsible for the ever growing range of social networking-related sites, recently stated:
"Don't be a Google Bitch, don't be a Facebook Bitch, and Don't be a Twitter Bitch. Be your own Bitch."
Wilson was giving advice to developers creating apps for social network platforms such as Facebook who periodically find their businesses undermined by the platform on which they depend. But the advice is also useful for musicians who give up control of their web presence by making a social networking site the center of their activity.
Given that there are a variety of ways in which your social network presence could be obliterated, as can happen with Facebook pages, or simply made outdated, as has happened with MySpace, the inherent instability of constant change is one strong argument for having your own website at your own domain.
The bottom line is that if you haven't yet established a site at your own domain, you need to do so right away. Here are three simple tips for a quick start:
- Buy a domain that includes your band's name. If possible, get one that is just your band's name.
- Set up a single page website that includes, at the very least, a paragraph about your band and links to your various outposts on the web.
- Share the domain wherever you can while encouraging friends and fans to link to that domain and to consider it your band's official site.
From there, you're set to expand your website and to build the site's presence in search engines. Your core long-term goals should be to create a site that is the ultimate resource about you and your music and for that site to be the first thing that appears in web searches on your band's name.
Doing these things should make it easier for folks to find you on the web and for you to strongly influence the key messages and resources made available to friends, fans, press and whoever else matters in achieving your goals as a musician.