Your record label deserves a strong online presence.
When people want to learn more about something, they typically start their research online. It’s much easier to run a few Google searches than to go to the library, search through encyclopedias and directories, or even ask their friends.
What does this mean? It means if you don’t have a website, people probably won’t find you. You’ll miss out on potential music sales and promising talent you could sign to your label.
Although you should register social media accounts for your record label too, you should not use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social platforms as your home on the web. You need a space you have complete control over. You should use your website as the central hub and once you have the foundations in place, extend your reach out to social networks.
But you might feel intimidated at the thought of having to develop a website. You may have heard others talk about how hard it is. You might be surprised – these days, setting up the basic structure of a website can be done in a matter of minutes!
So, if you came here hoping someone would show you the step-by-step process for setting up your website, you’re in luck. I’m about to cover all that and more in this helpful guide.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
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How To Set Up Your Record Label Website
I’m going to be showing you how to set up your website on WordPress. Why WordPress? There are so many great platforms out there these days. Isn’t WordPress clunky and old?
As a matter of fact, WordPress is one of the most powerful, most flexible, most documented (meaning there’s good support), and most used website building tools on the internet. Yes, it might be a little more complicated than some, but the effort you put into learning the software will be worth it.
There are two things you need to get started – a hosting plan and a domain name (i.e. www.myrecordlabel.com). I’m going to recommend setting up an account with Justhost*, as they offer good support and are affordable to boot (* Editor's note: we're an affiliate of Justhost, and while it doesn't impact our recommendation, we get a commissions if you end up using them as your hosting provider. This is at no additional cost to you, in fact, you'll often save money with out link over going direct. I personally use them for many of my websites, and they are a good place to start if you've a lower budget). Their introductory offer is good value. Plus, you can get both of your needs covered – you can register your domain name and get hosting.
Note: Sometimes the domain name you want won’t be available. Let’s say your brand name is Phoenix Rising (as it so happens, there’s a soccer team by that name). So, registering www.phoenixrising.com might be out of the question. You could always add words like “records”, “label”, “online”, or even “hq” at the end. You could also use your town or city name in the domain name.
Once you have your hosting plan and domain name, you’re ready to install WordPress. This is the part some people dread. The good news? Installing WordPress is but a one-click process. You heard correctly – one click!
With WordPress installed, you have the basic skeleton structure of your site, and it’s ready to accept whatever content you’ve created or about to create for it. But before you begin fleshing out your site content, let’s look at what pages you should create for your site.
Now, if you’re looking for additional support, or have any questions about this process, we’ve got a great guide covering how to make a music website, so please refer to it.
Pages You Should Create For Your Record Label Website
There are a few pages most record labels have on their website. You should still decide how relevant each of these are to your situation, but you should consider adding these pages:
- Artists. It’s important to highlight the artists signed to your label. Your artists are your brand and your culture. As fans scan the list of artists you work with, they’ll get a good sense of what you’re about. And, they’ll follow you over the long haul if they resonate with your stable of artists.
- Releases. Make it easy for people to browse your releases. This is how your money is made, so put some serious time into this. Showcase the latest releases at the top of the page and make it easy for people to browse through all your past releases too. Provide track samples and links to where they can buy individual releases (could be on your own website). Your “Releases” page could also be your all-in-one online store.
- Events. An events page is a good thing to have if you’re regularly hosting showcases, concerts, networking events, or other types of gatherings the public can attend to learn about your business and the artists you represent. You could also maintain a calendar of events for all your artists.
- Press. When you’re trying to establish your company, nothing speaks louder than third party quotes and testimonials. Though not necessary, if you find you’re getting a lot of press, it’s worth creating a holding place for all the praise you receive.
Note: Don’t forget the basics. Most websites have an “About” page, contact page, and blog. These elements are worth setting up for the sake of clarity and usability.
Depending on the type of record label you’re establishing, there may be other pages you need to create. For instance, if you primarily handle EDM artists, you might create a remix page.
The Best Record Label WordPress Themes
I haven’t said a word about customizing the design of your website yet.
This is because the main way to alter the look and feel of your website on WordPress is with themes. You could develop a theme from scratch, or even alter an existing theme until you’re happy with it, but this may require coding and programming knowledge. If you’re new to building a website, you’re not going to enjoy messing around with that.
The good news is that most premium themes allow you to modify typography, colors, and other essential elements without a lot of hassle. This means that even if other people are using the same theme, if you alter a few of the key elements, you can have a unique looking site.
So, here are a few theme recommendations worth checking out.
Phase – A Complete Music WordPress Theme For Record Labels And Artists
Phase is an eye-catching, highly visual, and cutting-edge WordPress theme. If you feel it’s important for your website to look like it wasn’t created 10 years ago, then the Phase theme will give you a good head start.
This theme comes with plenty of predesigned homepages, inner page templates, artist page types, single post layouts, and more.
Phase is also fully responsive, highly customizable, supports embed players from the most popular sites (Spotify, SoundCloud, Mixcloud, Bandcamp, and so on), is WooCommerce ready, and comes with the Slider Revolution plugin too.
This is a great theme to work with right out of the box.
SoundRise – Artists, Producers And Record Labels WordPress Theme
The SoundRise theme allows you to easily create a highly visual website experience. Regardless of which demo you choose, it has a bit of a “blocky” grid look, but if you like that, then you’ll like this theme. It can be a good way to showcase your artists and their releases.
SoundRise comes with unlimited artists and landing pages, a custom music player, the Visual Composer plugin (a drag and drop page builder), a flexible header and footer, events and gigs manager, and is mobile responsive.
Rebellion – A High-Powered Theme For Musicians, Bands, And Record Labels
Rebellion is a flexible theme that can be used by artists and labels alike. It features a clean, modern design that’s easy to look at.
It comes with nine homepage types, each with a bit of a different look, making it easier for you to get what you’re looking for in a site.
Rebellion comes with plenty of inner page options, the Visual Composer and Slider Revolution plugins, integrates with WooCommerce, and a great deal more.
Other Record Label Sites: A Great Place To Find Inspiration
So, you want your site to be unique. You want it to highlight your label’s personality and show off your culture and brand prominently.
Still, there’s no harm in exploring other websites. Plus, you shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel. Instead, you should be taking what already works and iterating and innovating on it.
So, here are several record label websites you can take some inspiration from:
- Sargent House: Sargent House’s homepage is very simple. It rotates through a few photos depicting artists in the studio, onstage, or at a photoshoot. The menu is clear and easy to use, if a tad on the bulky side (there are nine links on the navigation bar – I like to limit my menu to six or seven when possible). Below the fold, you’ll find a signup form for their email list (be sure to add one of these to your site), links to social media, and links to the key pages on their site. Perhaps the best thing about this site is how uncluttered it is.
- CandyRat Records: The CandyRat Records website immediately gives the impression that they’ve got lots going on (that’s because they do). Above the fold, you can find a slider highlighting their latest releases (great placement). Scroll below the fold, and you’ll find plenty of other releases to delve into. They also have prominent links to buy gift certificates, browse their online store, view the touring schedule, and more. Don’t give your visitors too many options – provide links to things you want them to see and act on.
- Ninja Tune: Just a simple website, which sometimes is all you need. The menu features links to artists, releases, shop, and events. Nice. You don’t need to get a whole lot more complicated than that. On their “releases” page, they allow visitors to pre-order upcoming albums – great idea.
Additional Considerations When Building A Website For Your Record Label
If you made it this far, you should have a basic record label website set up already. You may have even taken it a step further and taken inspiration from sites you like. Congratulations!
So, is that it, or is there more to the website creation process? Here are some things to think about.
You Must Update On An Ongoing Basis
It might seem obvious, but it’s worth stating anyway. As you add artists and new releases to your label, you’re going to want to keep your site updated with the latest news. There should always be something new happening on your website to keep visitors and customers engaged.
Building a blog/news page is a good way to keep your site updated.
Highlight New Releases
This is something I’ve already talked about throughout this guide, but it’s important to put the latest releases front and center. People are always looking for something new to engage in, talk about, and share with the world.
Make It Easy To Navigate
Again, I’m reinforcing a point I already raised, but your website should be as easy-to-navigate as possible. If you must have a lot of pages (and there are many reasons for requiring more pages), then use nested menus, or link to low-priority pages in the footer instead of the header.
Showcase Your Artists
The artists you represent are essentially your public identity. As such, you should be prepared to display them prominently in your artwork and photos, and even create detailed subpages for them (with their releases, bio, social media links, music player, etc.). This is great for SEO.
Once you’re happy with how your record label website looks and functions, you’re ready to get it out into the world.
Much the same way an artist needs to actively promote themselves, you must actively promote your record label (and website). Otherwise, no one will know who you are, and you probably won’t generate a lot of revenue either.
So, your next step is to build awareness for your brand. You can do this through word-of-mouth, email, social media, print (i.e. business cards, flyers, posters), promotional events, strategic partnerships, and much more. And, don’t forget to collaborate with your artists on cross-promotion tactics.