WordPress is a great platform for musicians. Not only is it free for you to use, but there are plenty of plugins that provide functionality tailored towards musicians so that you can create the website that you need. Show off your band, list your gigs and tour dates, integrate with social media, post your music videos and plenty more. In this post, I’m going to take a look at some essential plugins for creating a complete website for your band.
Being able to list your gigs is an essential part of having your website. So a plugin like Gigs Calendar is perfect. Unlike many events plugins, Gigs Calendar is specifically for gigs, meaning the functionality is tailored towards musicians’ needs. The functionality is stripped back to exactly what a you would need, with the ability to create single gig pages, add venues, and even manage your tours.
Nimbit is a direct-to-fan music platform which lets you sell music and merchandise straight to your fans. They have both free and commercial plans. The WordPress plugin lets you integrate your Nimbit account with WordPress. This creates a custom website with your own branding, eCommerce capabilities, email list signups, social media integration, a music player, and loads of other goodies. If you’re interested in an integrated solution it’s worth checking out.
Every musician’s website is going to need a way to play audio and video. And HTML5 is the best way to offer it. Using HTML5 ensures compatibility on iOS devices and generally provides a better user experience. This HTML5 player is built on the MediaElement.js HTML5 Player Library. It offers HTML5 playback to users with compatible browsers, degrading to Flash of Silverlight where HTML5 isn’t compatible. The plugin supports a number of different formats, including MP4, OGG and WMV.
If you’re already using a service like SoundCloud to host your music then the SoundCloud Shortcode plugin makes it easy for you to insert your music into your website. It has customizable parameters, including the ability to auto-play music, show SoundCloud comments and change the colors.
Want to sell your music through your website, but don’t want to get involved with a fully-blown eCommerce plugin? Easyfileshop is a plugin that focuses just on selling file downloads. This means you don’t have to spend lots of time setting up a huge Ecommerce plugin or bloating your website with unnecessary functionality. Upload a file to a post or page, set a price and then pay via PayPal.
At some point you’ll want to show of photographs of your band, or of yourself. Perhaps you’ve got photographs of gigs, or have had professional shots done of your band. NextGEN gallery is the most comprehensive WordPress image gallery plugin around. You can use AJAX thumbnails, include watermarks, display slideshows, along with many more features. And the plugin is complemented with loads of extensions that add every type of functionality you could imagine.
As a music lover you may want to share what you’ve been listening to with your fans. Last.fm is a music social media website which keeps track of what you’ve been listening to on any player, including iTunes and Spotify. You, in turn, can include on your website a record of what you’ve been listening to.
Alternatives: Latest Spotify Activity
Social Media makes it easy for fans and website visitors to share your content with each other. You can make it even easier by letting them do it right in your website. ShareThis is a popular WordPress plugin that enables sharing across media such as email, Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Delicious.
You can also integrate your social media in the other direction. Lifestream lets you feed all of your social media streams into one place. You can integrate as many feeds and extensions as you want, and Lifestream will store your entire feed history, making it simple for you to search through your old social media interactions.
If you’ve got a popular band website, you may want be in a position to start monetizing it. This could mean including affiliate links to music websites. Sign up for affiliate networks and web services and then integrate major digital outlets such as Amazon MP3, iTunes and Spotify. Prolific bloggers will find this plugin extremely useful – watch the cash come in!
Alternatives: iTunes Affiliate Pro
Bonus: One to Watch!
If you’re interested in setting up a record label or even want to manage your music yourself through your website you may want to check out Ribcage, a record label management tool from Creative Commons record label Records on Ribs. It’s currently in active development with a planned release date of June 2012. You can follow its progress on Github.