please cut it out.
You know what I’m talking about. Your Web sites with the auto-loading audio and the oh-so-original Flash animation. Your "navigational schemes" that send the hapless visitor into Cloud-Cuckooland, clicking desperately upon anything that looks like it might lead to something less confusing. (And, of course, nothing does.)
Guess what? No one visits your site ’cause they’ve never ever heard of you and are just dying to be exposed to your untrammeled creative genius. Probably half the people who visit your site (especially if you’re unsigned-but-touring, or signed-but-not-currently releasing) are either radio programmers or music journalists. We’re trying to find out a little bit about your band so we can either intelligently play your music or intelligently ask you questions.
We want to know the following:
- the names of the people in your band, and which instruments they play
- your current tour schedule
- the names of your releases and a track listing for each (this is where MP3 samples are appropriate)
We do not want to know the following:
- how kewl this Flash programmer guy you know is
- the deep mystical contents of your soul, as revealed in the exact sequence of sixty-three screens we need to click through to find your drummer’s name
- how sneaky you are, as evidenced by your cleverly streaming your brand-new surefire chart-topper "This is not sunshine" through our unsuspecting speakers
"But how are people going to hear my music if it doesn’t automatically start playing when they visit my Web site?" I can hear you shrieking. Guess what? Five times out of six, when I visit your band’s site, it’s because I’ve already downloaded your track and it’s already playing. It was good enough to make me at least a little bit interested. But your deathless composition "Flesh serenade" is not going to sound nearly as good through my iTunes if it has to compete with your rather-less-deathless composition "Down among the snakes" streaming from your Web site.
It might even annoy me enough for me to just give up on the whole thing, and you don’t want that. Because, really, don’t you think you’re just one playcount on a Western Colorado community radio station (and a damn fine one it is!) away from musical immortality?
(And a corollary to this: if you are not in a band, there is Even Less Excuse for your Web site/MySpace/LiveJournal to play random unasked-for music at your audience. If you must include it, please do so in the form of a handy player applet with Play and Pause buttons and leave the final choice up to the visitor.)