7 Exceptional Musical Mobile Websites

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
  • eCommerce
  • Galleries
  • Biographies
  • 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!

Lady Gaga

lady gaga mobile website

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.

Starspawn

starspawn mobile site

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.

Halestorm

halestorm mobile websites

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

harbinger mobile

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

the black keys mobile sites

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.

Foo Fighters

foo fighters mobile site

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

paramore mobile website

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.

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What Happens When Our Mobile Bandwidth Runs Out?

mobile data growth intro

In just a few short years, mobile has taken over how we communicate, shop, stay informed and capture the moment. Add social sharing, multi-media and web browsing, and mobile has all but replaced the desktop PC as the preferred personal computing device for millions of users.

Just last year, the FCC released a detailed study on the bandwidth consumption in the United States, concluding that the available spectrum would not be enough to sustain the kind of growth expected in the coming years.

Mobile alone is not to blame. Higher quality video, photos and graphics account for much of the added load, as does increased dependence on cloud synchronization and social networking. Mobile Future’s 2011 Year in Review reveals how more than a billion apps were downloaded worldwide each month in 2011, 103 million tweets posted to Twitter from mobile devices each day and 8 trillion text messages sent – all contributing to an 1800% increase in traffic on U.S. Networks alone.

Their newest inforgraphic “Mobile Data Growth and What it Means for You” offers a snapshot of the sharply increasing mobile device usage by Americans in an appeal to increase available resources before it affects us.

mobile growth infographic

What You Can Do

You can’t be expected to cut back on your streaming or internet usage, but you can optimize your website for mobile viewing by creating a friendly mobile version with the mobile website builder. Mobile websites perform faster, scaled for smaller screens and taking advantage of data handling methods or streamlined markup to ensure content delivery is quick and light on bandwidth. Learn more.

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7 Easy Ways to Manage Money On Your Mobile

It’s that time of year again when you realize you should have saved those receipts or been more diligent with saving. Financial management has been a hot topic for the past few years thanks to the recession, and money management is certainly not a popular topic for most people. Save money? Sounds like fairy tale. However, there are ways to rise above hard times and come out ahead. It just takes careful planning, self discipline and a robust mobile app. While using one or more of these apps now won’t save you in time for Taxes this year, getting into the habit of tracking spending from your pocket will get you into excellent shape come April 2013, helping you avoid stress and achieve small goals along the way. Below are seven of the best apps based on user ratings, reviews, usability and military-grade security.

Easy Money

easymoney app

Platform: Android

Cost: $9.99

This best selling Android finance app helps you track your expenses and stick to your budget using a simple, intuitive user interface.The app includes an expense tracker, budget planner and bill reminder, in addition to 20+ powerful features. Use Easy Money to take photos of bills and receipts, set budgets on specific accounts or track spending through the interactive reports. You can even import or export data to .CSV or .QIF files for synchronization with your desktop management software. Easy Money excels over other options on this list if you’re an Android user simply becuase it was designed specifically for Android devices, making the user experience near-perfect. It gets a huge plus for the extensive customization options.

Easy Money offes a free trial so you can check it out before buying the full version. Get it from the Android Market.

Pageonce

pageonce app

Platform: Cross-platform

Cost: Free

At first glance, not much distinguishes the award-winning Pageonce from other personal finance apps. It has a lovely interface for tracking bills, budgets, expenses and accounts. It generates comprehensive reports and graphs and is fully customizable for categories, transactions and alerts. What Pageonce does offer that others don’t is Investment tracking and Travel planning for those that want to go the extra mile. Pageonce also offers one-click mobile bill pay, but because it is not open to developers, the list is limited to Pageonce banks, utilities, stores and travel partners. Pageonce is a full web app, too, so you can manage your finances from your deskop and your pocket with seamless synchronization.

Sign up for a free account at the Pageonce website to download the app for your device.

SnapTax

snaptax app

Platform: iPhone & Android

Cost: Free to download and use, $14.99 to e-File

Imagine sitting at a cafe sipping a latte or killing time waiting for an appointment and being able to work on your taxes. Even if you haven’t been diligently tracking your spending before now, SnapTax can still help you get through your taxes easily and on-the-go with the user-friendly interface and wizard Turbotax is known for. Aimed at users who normally file a 1040EZ, SnapTax can auto-fill W-2 info with the snap of a picture.

If you need a more robust mobile-tax solution for adding deductions or business expenses, consider Mint with the TurboTax addon.

Mint

mint app

Platform: Cross-platform

Cost: Free

Mint is used by more than seven million people thanks to its full online suite, slick interface and meticulously thought-out functionality. Mint offers everything you would expect from a personal finance app, including budget planning, expenses, investments, savings and gorgeous reports. You can set goals, import images, export to various data formats or synch with Turbotax. It’s world-class security ensures your financial information and connected accounts are secure and private, so you can sleep easy. Amazingly, Mint is completely free and offers mobile apps for all modern devices.

Toshl

toshl app

Platform: All (even Maemo!)

Cost: Free/$19.95

Toshl’s main draw is the interface, which is designed to offer a more entertaining and interactive experience than most financial apps attempt. After all, the more you want to use an app, the more successful tracking your spending will be. Like the other options on this list, Toshl supports custom categories, budget tracking, goals, expenses and cloud synchronization, but does not connect up with your bank or other accounts for live monitoring. It’s focus on expense tracking on-the-go allows it to perform the functions it has very well, and results can be exported to a variety of formats, including PDF and Google docs. Rather than charge up-front for the app, Toshl is free to download and use. Advanced features or additional budgets may be added for a yearly subscription cost of just $19.95.

MoneyBook

moneybook app

Platform: iPhone

Cost: $2.99

Moneybook is a simply elegant way to track expenses. Setup custom categories for tracking repeating and ad-hoc transactions, quickly view expenses by date or category, or track spending with the gorgeous animated graphs. You get cloud synchronization and notes with the app, but no photo support or bank account tracking. If you want something quick and lightweight, Moneybook will do the trick. Get the English version from iTunes.

FriendCash

friendscash app

Platform: iPhone & iPad

Cost: $2.99

One expense we tend to forget or track poorly is the friend expense. If you find yourself as someone’s personal ATM, FriendCash will help you track money lent or favors owed. This app is a perfect solution for roomates, vacations, couples or lunch-buddies, offering contact and expense tracking in a stylish interface. Quickly add the amount owed or paid, connect it to a contact and category, or check out the overview to see how bad or good things are between you and your buds. FriendCash also comes with iCloud support for easy synchronization and access from anywhere. Grab the English version from iTunes.

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6 Ways to Enjoy Game of Thrones on Mobile

The hit HBO series Game of Thrones is back in Season 2 with more characters and a bigger budget. For mobile enthusiasts, this means a new wave of apps, themes, ring tones and games. The production, based on fantasy author George R.R. Martin’s epic novels, has taken TV viewers by storm since its debut in 2011. Season 1 DVD sales surpassed 350,000 in the week following the March 6 release, surpassing HBO’s record, previously held by the sopranos. Below is a roundup of Game of Thrones goodies for your mobile so you can watch, track and keep with the Westeros spirit wherever you go.

HBO Go

game of thrones

HBO Go, previously only online at HBO.com, comes alive for the first time on the iPad HBO Go app, bringing an interactive viewing experience to Game of Thrones fans.  The new interactive elements allow viewers to watch full-length episodes and engage with a Twitter-esque “alert feed” set to offer exclusive content, and access other special features through in-episode prompts. Content includes maps, photos, character descriptions and more.

Game of Thrones Companion

game of thrones mobile

If you’re new to the Game of Thrones series, the expansive cast of kings, queens, rogues, knights, barbarians and families spread over several locations and continents can be hard to follow at first. This mobile app provides character information, maps, episode synopses and a glossary of Westeros terms to help turn you into an instant expert. Keep it on hand while watching or study it on your lunch break. The app is available for both iPhones and Androids.

Westeros Map App

game of thrones mobile game

Both the hard-cover and paperback books come with a map or two roughly depicting the regions of the Game of Thrones world at play in the novel, but they don’t quite give you the full picture. The Westeros map for Android or iOS displays a beautiful, full-size and heavily detailed map complete with a lore-friendly interface and search function. For best results, use on a tablet.

Game of Thrones: Ice and Fire

mobile game of thrones

Hardcore fans will rejoice at this official Game of Thrones weather app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your town and receive live weather information displayed over stunning Game of Thrones film-animated locations.

IMDB

imdb game of thrones

The Internet Movie Database has everything you need for Game of Thrones, including actor bios, trivia, behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, trailers and photo galleries. The IMDB mobile app makes it extremely easy to browse information or interact with other fans, and comes in Android, iOS, Windows Phone 7 and Kindle Fire editions. Check out their app page for details.

Tapatalk

forum game of thrones

While not directly related to The Game of Thrones, the Tapatalk Forum App allows fans to connect to “A Forum of Ice and Fire,” the only “official” Game of Thrones forum, as endorsed by the author.  The large and lively community is an excellent way to share thoughts and predictions about the show, get detailed comparisons to the books and ask questions. The app provides a streamlined search and subscribe function, touch-friendly threaded conversations, sharing, rich text replies and a carousel-style image viewer for quickly scanning image-heavy threads.

For more information and TV schedules, visit HBO’s Game of Thrones website.

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Mobile site of the Week – Some Like It Vintage

Each week, we feature an inspiring mobile website made with WixMobile’s free mobile website builder.

Want your Wix site to be considered for the Mobile Site of the Week? Leave us a comment with your URL!

This Week’s Mobile Site:

some like it vintage mobile site

Some Like It Vintage
A survivor of brutal abuse, Veronica Cizmar aims to educate the public and inspire women to build better relationships. In 2005, she started Some Like It Vintage as a means to heal and contribute to shelters and abuse-assistance programs. The women’s clothing shop offers a selection of lovingy hand-picked vintage garments, showcased with the free mobile website builder through a gallery layout. Veronica’s  mobile design is simple and colorful, imparting a cheerful mood as visitors browse featured products or learn more about her. Her harrowing Personal Story, as published in Romantic Homes Magazine, is available in full for those who want to know more. “Click-to-call” links were added to the main page menu with the Link widget, allowing visitors to seamlessly call or connect with the tap of a finger, a popular and highly-functional feature of the mobile website builder.

Mobile Design Tip: When adding large amounts of text to mobile websites, it is important to divide up the paragraphs into 3-4 sentences, leaving space in between, as this makes it easier to read.

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iPhone sales overtake BlackBerry in Canada

BlackBerry manufacturers RIM held tight to home town favoritism for longer than many expected.

blackberry-bold-9700

However, new figures out of the IDC/Bloomberg camp have revealed Apple finally surpassed its long-term smartphone rival in its native Canada.

In 2011, Apple shipped a cool 2.85 million units to Canada, while RIM shipped 2.08 million units.

It’s a sharp turnaround over just 12 months. In 2010 RIM shifted half a million more units than Apple in Canada.

BMO Harris Private Banking fund manager Paul Taylor told Bloomberg what everyone else is thinking: “For RIM, in its home market, to lose that No. 1 position to iPhone is strategically important.”

iphone mobile

“It does identify, even with a home-country bias, how consumers are responding to the greater functionality of the iPhone.”

In response to the North America-wide sales slump, new RIM chief executive officer Thorsten Heins pledged to do something “dramatically different”. He cited the 2011 release of BlackBerry 7 handsets with improved web browsing, mobile website display and touch-screen functionality as a step in the right direction.

The manufacturer reportedly plans to release a further ten new devices in 2012.

Sales in Canada equal 7% of RIM’s total revenue. However, it dipped a dizzy 23% in the third quarter last year compared to 12 months prior. Meanwhile, US sales fell 45% in the same period. Growing sales in emerging markets stemmed the decline; worldwide revenue finished down just 5.9%.

“The challenge for Mr. Heins is to take that iconic brand and products that are reasonably competitive and ensure that they do get appropriate attention from the average consumer,” Taylor said.

“That’s the challenge: to reverse the negative sentiment that has developed.”

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The New iPad – Revolutionary or Just Resolutionary?

ipad

The hottest thing to happen in Mobile so far this year was the launch of the new Apple iPad3 this past Friday. With the weekend behind us, Apple is celebrating more than 3 million sales, more than any other gadget has sold in a similar time span in history. Piper Jaffray predicts the new iPad will sell as many as 66 million before the New Year.

The new Samsung Galaxy tab had been set to launch before the new iPad, taking the crown as the first Retina Display device, but has been delayed, missing it’s debut at MWC 2011 in February.

What is Retina Anyway?

Other than a new OS, extended app library and 4G connectivity, the new iPad’s most alluring feature for most is the “breakthrough” retina display. What it comes down to is a higher resolution with more dots per inch that exceeds the naked eye’s ability to discern the individual pixel – a 2048-by-1536 resolution, 44 percent greater color saturation, and an astounding 3.1 million pixels to be precise.  That’s four times the number of pixels in iPad 2′s display and a million more than HD displays.

Naturally, the iPad3 is not a magical device that will render every image or video in glorious real-world definition. Nor will it make reading articles feel like a real print magazine, a feature reserved for the Kindle Fire 2, due out later this year

High Expectations

In spite of an extraordinary sales volume, the iPad3 is generating more complaints than its predecessors, including large data loads, weak WiFi reception, overheating and battery issues. Whether this indicates a real problem with the device that consumers should beware, or can be chalked up to high expectations is anyone’s guess until the product has been out a while longer.

Web Love

One thing the iPad does incredibly well is browse the web. With an estimated growth to 66 million iPad users worldwide in just 9 months added to the several million Kindle and Android tablet users, this is the year to begin thinking about how to promote yourself and your business online in a mobile-friendly format.

wix mobile iPad3

Visit our free mobile website builder to see how you can create a fast, adaptive HTML mobile app. If you want something more robust, out the brand new HTML5 website builder to create a stunning website that is 100% compatible with the iPad3.

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New app targets Facebook love

facebook love

With many folks accessing Facebook via old-school web, mobile apps and mobile sites several times a day, it was only a matter of time before romantic techie types turned their love-struck eye to the social network.

Former Huffington Post staffers, Rob Fishman and Jeff Revesz, launched matchmaking app Yoke this week. While it’s certainly not the first dating app on Facebook, it’s arguably the best yet.

Unlike its established online dating counterparts, Yoke doesn’t require lengthy, earnest profiles. Instead, hopefuls choose five photos from their profile album that they wish to share.

The app then automatically pulls basic info – age, education, location, likes, etc – and starts pairing you with peeps sporting compatible Facebook data.

Yokes matches individuals with more obvious shared interests, like musical tastes, while also playing cupid with people who share niche pastimes, like cheese rolling.

People who are friends with a lot of your friends also receive favorable weighting from Yoke.

Co-founder Fishman told BetaBeat.com: “What we’re trying to do is match the sum total of your Facebook profile with other people’s.”

“We’re exposing common tastes without there having to be direct matches. And we’re also normalizing your friend list to target close friends (meaning, those with whom you share a lot of friends), so that you’re not seeing friends of someone you never speak to.”

facebook likes

Yokers can browse potential matches via an in-app rotating carousel. If someone takes your fancy, find out which friends you have in common and send them a message asking for the scoop. Alternatively, if you’re feeling bold, ‘yoke’ the object of your affection to let them know you like their style.

Yoke founders are currently eyeballing improved matchmaking functionality for the new Facebook app, while a mobile website and iPhone app are also in the works.

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Mobile site of the Week: The Secret Entertainment Agency

Each week, we feature an inspiring mobile website made with WixMobile’s free mobile website builder.

Want your Wix site to be considered for the Mobile Site of the Week? Leave us a comment with your URL!

This Week’s Mobile Site:

Secret Entertainment Agency

The Secret Entertainment Agency

This high-energy talent agency created a mobile app with the mobile website builder to promote their artists and offer information about their business to fans, colleagues and industry professionals. A mobile website gives the agency a higher chance of grabbing attention, trust and contacts by venues or professionals who look them up while on the go – from a sponsored show, convention or upon recommendation from a friend. The website uses a custom background designed to fit the mobile screen and a simple text header, which set the style and tone while allowing the navigation to stand out. Artists, bands and shows are showcased using a Services layout, which pairs a photo thumbnail with neatly formatted mini-biographies or information. To make contact quick and easy, the agency has added two “click-to” links that automatically launch your mobile’s call or email function. Check it out here.

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Tablet owners heart paid content

A study by research giant Nielsen found that individuals are filling their tablet devices with paid content.

Apple iPads, Android devices and Amazon Kindle Fires have become the device du jour for professional, long-form content like magazines, books, music, TV shows, streaming radio, sports content and movies.

Nielsen_Tablet-Owners-Paid-Content
Research showed that, rather than sticking to freebie mobile sites, using credit cards for tablet media content is on the up and up globally.

Voluntary participants were based in the US, U.K., Italy and Germany. Of those countries, Americans we most likely to splash the cash on entertainment content, while Italians were the biggest consumers of paid news content.

Nielsen head of Digital Business, Jonathan Carson, told Mashable: “This has really important lessons for content strategies and for business models for media companies.”

“For media companies it’s figuring out the balance between what’s our subscription versus single-content transaction versus advertising supported model. It’s just a very critical nuanced balance for them to make right now.”

mobile tablets

Carson also said many US news outlets are still missing a trick when it comes to paid news content.

“There is very strong usage for Americans for news content on tablets. They enjoy consuming news content on their tablets.”

“Americans news companies have not monetized it through paid subscriptions and paid transactions.”

Other key Nielsen findings include:

  • Sixty-two per cent of US tablet owners have paid for downloaded music, while 58% have paid for digital books. Approximately 51% have paid for movies via their tablet.
  • News is Europe’s most popular paid content category. Forty-four per cent of tablet owners in Italy, 19% in the UK, and 15% in Germany revealed they’d paid for tablet news content.
  • Italians are the most willing to pay for their tablet content.
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