I’m really liking the new Band of Horses record, Infinite Arms.
Before it was officially released, they launched a free stream of the album on their website, so naturally I checked it out. They’ve put together a new site for the release, and the new album artwork is used as the background, something that is common when a new record comes out – slap the cover art for the album onto a site and off you go. I got to thinking, why would a band go through the trouble of changing their site every time they release a record? Would it make more sense to build a site with a consistent look and functionality so fans can develop more familiarity with it, or is record promotion still the only reason to have a site? Bands don’t tend to release albums as frequently these days, but just imagine what Bob Dylan would have needed to do from ’62 through ’66 – six albums in four years. Could have been a lot of paid work for a good web designer.
Some artists are big on releasing singles, others are album-focused, and others still are more about a community of fans grown around their body of work (think Jack Johnson) than any song or album in particular. Those that fall along the latter end of the spectrum may be best served building a site that maintains a consistent look and feel, even as it morphs over time with development. What artists/bands out there are currently taking this approach to their presence on the web? Or are most bands just following the album-cover-as-website approach? For an interesting look into what a band thinks about the evolution of their website, see these links courtesy of Radiohead. Their current site doesn’t promote their records at all, in fact you’ll have a hard time finding any mention of their own music. Seems like a logical outcome when a band becomes independent of record companies. Is this a direction most bands (or their labels) are willing to take?