New Top Level Domains Becoming Available, Prepare For .Music, .Band, .Club
If you've tried to get a decent .com web address you've probably discovered that a bunch of them are in use but even more are being held by domain speculators. This may have led you to the relatively diverse range of current options many of which are based on national boundaries such as .fm or .tv. Now a much larger range of new domains are becoming available, including .music, .band and .club, with some already entering preregistration. If you're interested in such a domain, now's a good time to start tracking its progress.
.music has been a point of discussion at Hypebot over the last couple of years regarding such topics as who will administer it and RIAA piracy concerns. I'm not clear on the progress of .music but it appears to still be in contention.
Time To Start Tracking Your Preferred New Domain(s)
What I do want to share is that some of the long awaited generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are already in a preregistration phase and others will be following at undeclared future dates.
If you want to dig into the subject a bit more, I'd suggest checking out ICANN's New gTLDs site though it may not tell you much of practical use. In addition, documents I found on ICANN's main site seemed out of date.
If you want to cut to the chase, check in with your preferred domain registrar and see what they have on offer. I realized that new domains were becoming available via GoDaddy's site. They have a slowly growing list of what's available for preregistration but, more importantly, seem to have all the domains coming online and the ability to follow news. Currently GoDaddy has 899 listed. Yes, chaos is ahead!
Name.com actually does a better job of quickly explaining preregistration options which include:
A "Sunrise Period" for Trademark Holders
A "Landrush Period" for Priority Pre-Registration
Pre-Registration for those who can't afford the above or don't have registered trademarks.
Preregistration is followed by the general scramble for domains.
Preregistration phases can be quite expensive, especially for Priority Pre-Registration, as you can see from the pricing for .gallery (you may need to go to GoDaddy's gTLDs section to click through to such options).
Update: See launch dates of the new gTLDs via The European Domain Centre.
Should Musicians Seek Out New Domains?
How to handle this situation depends on numerous factors from how much money you have to how much control you want over your name on the web.
I think any music act or business should try to get a .music domain when that becomes available for preregistration. If you're a band or a club, then the same goes for .band and .club.
If you've gone to the trouble and expense of trademarking a name, then you should go for .music and other relevant domains in the Trademark Owners phase.
But make sure you're also keeping up with relevant .com addresses. Many are taken but some come back on the market after periods of years and, if you see one that hasn't been renewed and hasn't yet become available, you should be able to place a backorder so that your registrar can attempt to claim it on your behalf.
Keep in mind that just as the growth of the long tail also made hits more valuable due to their increasing scarcity, the proliferation of domain names will make .com domains even more valuable.
If you're serious about what you're doing as a musician, spending hundreds of dollars on yourexactbandname.com is in no way too much. As a business that can be worth thousands. Again, it depends on a combination of your available cash and your long-term commitment.
For domains that have yet to enter a preregistration period, GoDaddy's gTLD Extensions section offers you an option to "Follow." I hope that means they're going to send me an email when the domains enters preregistration but it doesn't say. Viva corporate communication!
[Thumbnail image via The Booklight.]
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is building a writing hub at Flux Research. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.