March 10th, 2006
For those that don’t already know, in addition to running MetalAges.com I also run UltimateMetal.com. I bought the site from a good friend of mine (and now business partner!) about two years ago. Even prior to owning the site, I would always refer bands to him to sign up for a forum (it costs $60/year, or $40/year if you’re an indie with no albums or a self release). Why? Simple, exposure.
“But a forum is a forum is a forum right?” Uh, no. Not by a long shot. Sure, anyone can install and run their own forum for their band, it’s not too hard (for some people anyways!). However it does take time not only to install and customize, but to administer it on a day to day or week to week basis and you’ll want to pull your hair out dealing with trolls.
But one key element that you cannot install, purchase, or hope materializes out of thin air is TRAFFIC. Traffic = people = potential purchasers of your product, visitors to your site, subscribers to your mailing list, etc. Sure, your band could generate 500 users on your own forum who post regularly, some bands get more, some less. Where are those visitors coming from though? More than likely they were specifically looking for your band on google or yahoo and that’s how they found you, or they already have your CD and followed the web address from the liner notes.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could gain exposure not only from people specifically looking for your band, but also from spill-over traffic from tons of other people looking at other metal bands’ forums? That’s what makes a site like Ultimate Metal so special and worth the $60/year you spend to sign up. I can’t tell you how many people I have seen say, “Hey, I was checking out the [band name] forum and saw your forum as well, so I checked out your MP3s, you guys kick ass!” It happens day in and day out. Just this week a new band signed up for a forum, Turisas. I personally had never heard of this band, but they sure have gained one new fan already, in me! So, I will buy the album from them for $10 or whatever it costs; all they need is a few more folks like me and whammo, the forum has paid for itself!
A site like UltimateMetal.com gets 40-60 news users a day and tens of millions of page views a month. The $60/year you spend to gain exposure to that kind of traffic is dirt cheap by advertising standards. Think about it, that’s $5/month for your band to spend, or generally $1/member. One less pack of gum a month and you got that covered! Is your band’s potential increase in album sales worth a pack of gum? I hope to hear a resounding and unanimous yes to that question!