WordPress For Musicians: Band Themes And Record Label Plugin

Records-on-ribs-logoHosted WordPress sites are a popular option for artists seeking customizable websites with added flexibility provided by plugins. Band themes are available that emphasize WordPress features and plugins for musicians. Foxhound offers multiple examples of such themes. In addition to a wide range of plugins now available, Ribcase is a record label management plugin currently under development.


Foxhound Band Themes for WordPress

Foxhound Band Themes enable band sites on WordPress. They're not the only such service but they're a good example of an affordable solution that allows DIY artists or team members to focus on WordPress features and plugins for musicians.

Jack Hammet has 30 High Quality Music Related WordPress Themes 2012.

Ribcage: Record Label Management Plugin

Ribcage is an open source project to create a WordPress plugin based on Records On Ribs' in-house development efforts. Though not yet ready for general use, the "record label management tool" will enable the following:

"Anyone who can install WordPress and the Ribcage WordPress plugin can pretty much make their own record label that runs along similar lines to Records On Ribs. We hope this will democratise music production and distribution to a previously unprecedented extent."

Features include:

  • Management of artists, releases, reviews associated with those releases and press cuttings associated with artists. Upload artwork easily via your browser and have it resized.
  • Supports uploads of MP3, Ogg Vorbis and FLAC files for releases.
  • Artists can list their upcoming gigs and other events.
  • RSS feeds for individual artists’ releases and releases for the label as a whole.
  • Press areas for hosting one sheets and high quality artwork.
  • Widgets for recent and forthcoming releases.
  • Integration with Paypal for donations and purchases of physical versions of the releases.

David Das has 27+ Best Free WordPress Plugins for Musicians.

More: A House For Lions Uses IgnitionDeck For Crowdfunding
Without The Middleman

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/App.net) blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. That’s terrible advice. NEVER use a template if you’re a band trying to establish your own identity!
    While we’re at it, also stop using Facebook and the thousand other social networks as your “homebase” and simply pay for a professional to build you a custom site for a rate you can afford. If you don’t have the money, it’s not hard to teach yourself how to create even a simple one-page layout.
    But again, I repeat…NEVER USE A TEMPLATE!! Plus, just look how crappy the ones look that are linked above. Terrible! Also, with some templates you aren’t even guaranteed it will work on mobile, which we all know is booming.

  2. Before deciding to use a template, or WordPress at all … first have a plan:
    -What do you want on your website?
    -What do your FANS expect to see on your website?
    -Can you commit to keeping content fresh and plentiful?
    -Are you providing the content that your fans want?
    -Do you have an understanding of how to measure success and engage fans based upon management of your website?
    Once you’ve answered those questions, using a template can be a good starting point. Templates do a lot of the heavy lifting (financially and otherwise), and a competent developer/CSS guy can help you further customize things to be more in line with your vision.
    The folks at D.I.-Why are glad to help you out. We’ve done it for tons of artists, and yeah, some of ’em used templates. Mention Hypebot and we’ll give you a sweet(er) deal.

  3. If musicians don’t get paid for their art, why should web designers get work from musicians?
    Go with the templates. Save some money. The music (i.e. the content) is what matters.

  4. Alex – By the same logic, should musicians also be taking food from grocery stores and poaching jeans from The Gap? And the folks at Gibson should just give you a new Les Paul, right?
    Serious musicians should take more than their craft seriously. They should understand what it entails to make a living as a musician. Some of that includes hiring people to help you with things. Otherwise, you end up with the do-it-yourself effort that leads to mediocrity…

  5. This is all true. My rhetorical question wasn’t meant to be taken as a pro-communist plight, but more of an illustration as to how web designers can make money off of their art/intellectual property (and rightly so), but musicians cannot. (A rational and consistent society would pay everyone for their work at market prices instead of being hell-bent on getting stuff for free and trying to enslave people who work in other industries but their own.)
    Anyways, back on topic, most musicians are mediocre to start with, so the WordPress theme would fit their mediocre music.
    As musicians get better with their craft and grow as a business, then they should hire people that can make them look better.

  6. I’m loving both sides of the discussion. Major artist have teams,managers and in some cases,social media managers whose only job is to keep them current and updated.But like it has been said, most musicians can’t afford this and the public is well aware of this nowadays.
    Do what you can or cannot afford and let the final judges be the judge. In reality THEY ARE ANYWAY! The Fans.
    MusicLuv,The “Silver Conductor”

  7. I think if anyone wants to make a full time living from there art work. At some point you are going to have to move over from a free service / template website to something a little more dynamic. Nothing screems I have nothing going on then a bad site / template..

  8. Honestly I don’t know anybody who goes to websites to hear music. The most common way that people search for new music is actually on Youtube. Then from Youtube they go straight to twitter or facebook to follow your page.
    And most likely on either one of those pages, bands have a soundcloud player that lets you stream music straight from facebook or twitter. Meaning, a regular person just wanting to hear your music doesn’t really have a reason to visit your site other than to just look up some tour dates or merch, which they dont care about doing unless they’re a hardcore fan.
    In other words: I don’t agree that you need a legitimate website to prove that you want your music to be taken seriously. What you needs a good album, a physical audience that pays for tickets, and a music video that gets thousands upon thousands of views/likes. A site isn’t necessary nowadays…Your youtube views make it inistantly clear how big your audience is, which is why a youtube account alone is more effective than a legitimate website.
    Plus, fans who visit your site can’t tell if it’s a template or designed by a “pro”. It’s a simple truth. As long as they can find the tour dates, link to your streaming music, and some merch…they could care less. Obviously once they hit it big they’ll move up naturally to a custom designed site, but till then you make due with the tools at hand.
    One of my favorite bands “Say Hi” has always operated out of a Tumblr page. But it just had the basic stuff on it…long story short: they’ve been featured in Gossip Girl, on many MTV shows, many feature films, A cadillac commercial. And they’ve been signed by the same record label that signed Deathcab For Cutie. And guess what?
    Two records with the label into it, they still only operate from a tumblr.
    You do not need a website.

  9. You make some good points, but you should own a site. Ask any band who spent good money and effort on sites like MySpace.
    If you don’t own it, your presence can be changed, taken away, or held hostage (facebook promoted posts).

  10. Yeah, you do need a website unless you just want the people that do things the way you do to be your fans.
    “I don’t know anybody who”?
    How many people do you know? Do you actually talk to them about the specific things they do on the web?
    And how representative are they of your potential fanbase? (if you were a musician)
    An easy way to limit your audience is to only do things the way that you like them.
    By the way, I would consider a site hosted on Tumblr to still be under the artist’s control. They can do more with it but it’s a website that is connected to a social network rather than simply an account on a social network such as Facebook.
    If you’re talking about these guys:
    It’s a lightweight site but it has all the basic components an artist’s site should have:
    plus email list signup
    Since they’re not reblogging other Tumblr posts, they’re not even participating in that aspect. So it’s definitely a lightweight artist’s site but an artist’s site nonetheless.

  11. I think if anyone wants to make a full time living from there art work. At some point you are going to have to move over from a free service / template website to something a little more dynamic. Nothing screems I have nothing going on then a bad site / template..

  12. Johnny, you’re so wrong that you must be new at buying web services. Using templates plus a system like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal is the way to go for anyone who wants to get a site up fast and working without bugs.
    I’ve hired designers to build websites about 15 times, and used templates about 5 times — for commercial, business web sites. With professionals, you can find three kinds of people: those who are very good at the background database work but utterly stink at design (this is just about every inexpensive designer in India), those who are good at the design but can’t make the needed PHP (or Coldfusion or MIS crapola) work, and those who only the rich or big corporations can afford. There IS not fourth group.

  13. I build a lot of sites in WordPress for clients and I believe there is a big difference between a “template” and a “theme.” Templates are offered through many hosted services like Tumblr and have maybe a few options to customize. They largely look the same and I agree have many limitations. They are easy though!
    WordPress Themes are frameworks that can be highly customized and extended. Themes are a great place to start when trying to create an artist site. With WordPress you can create a child theme based on any theme you see out there that can be completely unique and still get the benefits of the features/functionality of the parent theme. WordPress is made to be customized and extended. It’s just not as dead simple as say Tumblr or Bandzoogle. It is however a lot more powerful if you want to use it’s full potential.
    Even with a small budget you can find an agency or developer such as myself who can take that theme you mostly like and bend it anyway you want it including fully custom design and layout. It’s a lot cheaper than building a site from the ground up and it has the functionality and maintainability of WordPress.
    So I totally agree with the template arguments but this article was about WordPress themes and I don’t believe they belong in the same category as template sites.

  14. I think if anyone wants to make a full time living from there art work. At some point you are going to have to move over from a free service / template website to something a little more dynamic

  15. BillInLA you are dead right. I create websites and web apps for a living. WordPress is astonishing in what it can do. There is a free plugin for almost anything you can dream up. And if you get a “Responsive” theme, it will work perfectly on any device – PC, tablet or phone.
    It would be utterly insane to try do develop something from scratch.

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