04 February 2006

The bigger the star, the clunkier the website?

My policy is to avoid bagging other people's websites (people in glass houses and all that) so I'm not about to give examples, but I can't help thinking rich and famous musicians are sitting ducks for expensive web designers who tell them that a big, important star has to have a big, important website with lots of stuff on it.

Your expectations drop when you see the slow-loading Intro Page, with a "Loading - please wait" message and a progress meter for you to watch (isn't that so 1990s?). Of course there's a "Skip Intro" button: does anyone, ever, not skip the intro?

At some stage a song suddenly starts playing, right over the top of the music that's already playing on your computer, and you can't turn it off without quitting the site.

There's lots of flashy, 3-D graphic art that moves around and pops up, stuff that only a Big Star can afford. The site might be so full of Big Star Stuff that the whole thing freezes up and you have to restart your browser. (And of course, you're so impressed that you'll immediately return to the site and watch that lovely Intro load all over again, right?)

As to content, don't expect the Discography to waste space on those musty old 45s. There'll be a page of the latest compilation CDs (with links to The Store), and promos for that new album where all the old songs were recorded again properly, with new arrangements, in Nashville, with the artists' grown-up kids who are trying to break into the business...

Ah well, I guess my own site might go too far the other way: to some tastes, it's probably too text rich, and my discreet little black & white snapshots might not satisfy some people's urge for colour and spectacle.

So let's move on, get positive, and link to some artists' sites that, while they are sufficiently illustrated, are not overloaded with slow-loading eye candy, and have information that is to the point and easily accessed.

Some official musicians' sites I like:

The Five Americans
Rick Nelson (The Discography alone makes me forgive the automatic audio)
The Monks
Emitt Rhodes
Pernice Brothers

And some good unofficial sites, by admirers or researchers:

The Van Morrison Website
Union Songs (Bjorn & Benny from ABBA)
The Peter Doyle Website
The Band

My Links page has a few more.

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