We were interested to read the news earlier this week that WordPress.com is launching a bespoke platform for bands and musicians. It’s a crowded but fragmented marketplace for bands these days — the void MySpace left with its decline into irrelevance has never really been filled, and these days bands find themselves juggling Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and possibly their own custom-built website. It seems to be the last of these gaps that WordPress is trying to fill, and this got us thinking as to what a band website should offer in 2012, and how a new platform might help achieve this. We also asked several industry friends — including members of Azar Swan, Leda, and our own Silent Drape Runners — for their perspective as to what both bands and fans want out of a band website in 2012, and what sort of features a new player on the scene could offer to distinguish itself from the pack. It’s an interesting discussion, and we’d love to get some other perspectives, so let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Part of MySpace’s appeal in its mid-’00s glory days was that it was the one and only place you needed to go to find music. Since then, of course, the internet landscape has changed dramatically, and pretty much everyone agrees on the fact that the time for a music-centric social network has passed — an attempt to launch (or relaunch) such a network these days would simply be adding yet another layer of complexity. Azar Swan’s Josh Strawn says, “I think the MySpace moment has passed culturally the way AIM chatrooms have.” He suggests that “the way people use social media has become more insular,” and that “most social sharing comes from dark social… email and IMs, not from brazenly Social with a capital S sites.” Neither fans nor bands need an offering that reinvents the wheel — they need something that consolidates the various options that already exist.