March 8th, 2006
I’ve been noticing more and more lately how the traditional side of Metal is really lacking when it comes to proper band promoting/branding. What do I mean by this? Let me show you a positive example of a band doing it right (whether you like this band or not is irrelevant):
Current promotion/branding initiatives:
Web site splash page: www.hawthorneheights.com
The opening page gives you access to many of their current promotional spots. Great splash page design (and with the all too important “skip intro” button). The band name and album name are right up top so it is the first thing you see.
A well designed e-card that is accessible from the upper half of the splash screen. It gives you a little taste of the music from the album and also lets you know that this album has a theme to it, which they also carry through to the main site design. The end of the e-card lets you choose which version of the site to start with.
Yes, yes, yes. A lot of people are sick of hearing MySpace this MySpace that. Get over it, it’s a great place for band exposure, plain and simple. If your band is not on there then you are doing yourselves a great disservice. Hawthorne Heights do a great job of carrying over, once again, the new album theme. They have relevant graphics, a downloadable banner, a short video from a band member asking for you to vote for their video on TRL (yes, I know you hate TRL, again that’s not the point), a track from the new album, a link to their community site, and another TRL push. Say what you will about the TRL stuff folks, if they get enough people to care and call in their vote, this will elevate their sales.
Pure Volume: http://www.purevolume.com/hawthorneheights
Another popular music site is covered with Pure Volume. Smartly they have an additional new song for streaming/download. Once again they push their community site, the TRL voting and also their AOL Sessions performance. Band name, album name and release date is all prominantly displayed. In addition to all that they have their older albums displayed, older tunes for streaming, and also the link to listen to their ENTIRE new album for FREE at another AOL page (link has expired but it was there for a few weeks). If I recall they had their album for streaming free on the Best Buy site as well at one point.
AOL promotion: http://music.aol.com/videos/sessions/…
Granted not all bands will have the ability to get AOL exposure, but, these guys are. Five live performance AOL Sessions videos with a lot of extra stuff such as interviews, pictures, streaming video link for their first single and a “front row pass” to an On-Demand live performance SHOW of theirs (all free mind you).
Online Community: http://www.thisiswhoweare.org
This is an interesting site. It reminds me of a mini-MySpace solely dedicated to the band. I can only assume that the MySpace look and feel was on purpose. I will say it is a bit clunky to use in places. One cool thing is if you refer friends to the site you can “unlock” videos such as “Making of the album,” “Making of the video,” and “Making of the Art.” Smart. One thing these guys do lack however is a full blown online forum. Not sure what the story is behind the fact that it is missing.
They have a few extra things here and there such as a “fan support” section on their web site, with web addresses and phone numbers to radio stations for requesting their new single. They also have merchandise links to make it easy to get their CDs and shirts, etc. The all important mailing list link is also on their site. How much easier can it be to get in touch with your fans when you need? All the above is focused on promoting online of course, this does not include the offline promotion that the band/label is handling.
Throughout all these different promotional avenues one thing remained the same, great design/branding. I’ve seen all too many HIDEOUS MySpace pages and web sites out there. An open notice to all bands out there, IT DOES MATTER! First impressions are lasting impressions. You may have the most kick ass music in the world but if you can’t entice someone to stay at your site and listen, then what’s the point? I hope more metal bands out there sit up and take notice. All these things that Hawthorne Heights are doing may cost a bit of money here and there but there’s also a lot of things they are doing that cost absolutely NOTHING, except a little time and effort.
Download Rock music on iTunes.