Recently we talked about the dire state of mobile for bands, as discovered by a panel at the SXSW conference in March. The discovery emphasized the importance of going mobile for anyone in the music industry, pro or not. Bands and artists are already heavily invested in social networking and internet engagement with fans, and there is a positive trend of bands moving toward blog-style websites in favor of Flash-heavy interactive experiences. The result is even more importance on interaction through other mediums, with mobile at the top of the list.
Ingredients for the Perfect Mobile Band Site
While it’s all about the music, the fans needs, likes and behaviors determine the most successful factors of a good website, release or marketing campaign. When it comes to the web, fans want it to be easy to listen to and buy the music, browse merch and access updated information on what the band is up to or where they will be appearing. Here are a handful of things that must be in the mix:
- News or Blog Feeds
- Email subscriptions
- Social Network integration
These are just a few of the critical elements. You’ll find many bands also have forums, downloads with ringtones or wallpapers, member-only content or special SMS promotions, but let your fans drive the scale of your website. As the fanbase grows, more features can be added. Better yet, ask them what they want to see and allow them to help you tailor an experience that suits them!
Mobile Band Sites that Work
As pointed out by the SXSW panel, the number of bands with a functional mobile website were disastrously low. However, there is a rapid influx of apps and “responsive” websites cropping up that may provide some much-needed inspiration for anyone looking to go mobile with their music website. Here are 10 mobile websites from bands that offer a speedy, pleasant mobile experience without a lot of high-tech wizardry. Each site offers simple content and the essential ingredients listed above, which you can draw upon to build your own mobile website. Enjoy!
It’s easy to start off with the queen of pop. Not only does she have a stellar engagement record with her fans, she understands what they are looking for. Her mobile site is not the prettiest one on this list, but it has everything, including news, live Twitter updates, events, videos, galleries, chat, fan club sign-up and an essential link to head over to the full site if preferred.
Designer Johan Wuyckens carefully crafted this Belgian rock band’s mobile website to look stunning on small displays and offer a unique, fun user experience.
This band website uses a simple app-style layout but doesn’t skimp on content. It even has complete Facebook integration where fans can see live updates and interact directly with the band’s wall. The band offers a bit of light mobile e-commerce in the form of iTunes links for videos and songs.
Harbinger is a Toronto based band that also uses large icon-based navigation buttons. Their mobile site features mobile-optimized images, Soundcloud integration, Twitter and Facebook, blog feeds, multi-media, events and more. Like the other sites listed so far, the only thing missing is mobile e-commerce.
The Black Keys keep it very simple, using strong black and white contrast, which works great on mobiles. They have all the essential content categories down, plus they offer a newsletter signup. While there still is not mobile e-commerce here, a link is provided to get you to the full shop.
The Foo Fighters website uses a responsive layout to adapt to a variety of screen sizes. This allows the band to focus on one place to deliver content, knowing it will work for tablets, smartphones and different desktop resolutions. This allows fans to access a huge amount of content, including the online store. Unfortunately, the one drawback with responsive design is that it may look and function adequately on a mobile device, but it is not necessarily optimized for mobiles, leaving some elements such as forms and navigation a bit clumsy for touch screens. It is always better to create a mobile website that is designed specially for mobiles, and simply tie it into the same sources for content.
Paramore’s main website is a fan’s dream come true, and the mobile site doesn’t disappoint either. The band keeps the layout minimal to focus on content, opening with a simple news feed from their blog. They manage to cover everything else, including ticket sales and RSVP directly from the Events page. This is definitely the site to match.
Stay tuned for a spotlight on how to build an HTML5-powered mobile website for your band or music project using the free website builder.