How important is establishing yourself online? Just ask Islet
Last week on BBC Introducing in Wales, Radio 1's Bethan Elfyn presented an exclusive session with a Cardiff band named Islet. The band were so new, they had next to no presence on the web, which is really rather rare these days. The session for Bethan and team is the first thing they've ever recorded, and - prepare yourself... you'd better sit down - they're not even on MySpace.
Islet are something of a Cardiff supergroup. Their line-up features members (or ex-members) of Attack and Defend, Them Squirrels, Fredrick Stanley Star, Sweet Baboo and The Victorian English Gentlemen's Club.
So does this signal the beginning of the MySpace backlash? Or are Islet just too lazy to set one up? Either way, it hasn't exactly done them any harm so far. They've been gigging around Cardiff in recent months and wowed crowds with their scuzzy no-wave sounds. Two fans - Andrew Dubber and Ben Walker - were so impressed they actually created an Islet fan-site.
One band played last night that blew me away. And I don't just mean I liked them, or really loved their gig. They BLEW. ME. AWAY. I can't remember being this excited by a band in years. Possibly decades.
So we went straight online and looked them up. We Googled: "Islet band Cardiff" and various other combinations of the band name and their city of origin. Nothing. [...] no website, no MySpace, no nothing.
And we were stuck. They had no CDs for sale. Nothing we could do. We just didn't know how to be Islet fans. So we made them a fan site...
Being good citizens of the web, they've written a post on their New Music Strategies blog (well worth following, incidentally) explaining how and why they set up thisisislet.com. Here's Andrew - a lecturer at Birmingham City University - giving his experience of setting up the site and some more advice about getting yourself established online.
Over at Adam's blog, the debate continues about Islet and whether a band really needs a MySpace profile - or a fan-site, for that matter - in the embryonic stage of their career when all they might have to offer is a photo and (hopefully) a handful of gig dates.
Of course, it's no bad thing to start making friends with other bands and gathering fans on the web, but is it essential you do this as soon as you and your band member settle on a name you all like, or does it do more harm than good? There's nothing worse than a stale website or profile that hasn't been updated in 12 months, so is there some sense in maintaining an air of mystique until you really hit the road? There's no right or wrong answer here, so let us know your thoughts.