Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Monday, 31 August 2015

WEBSITES Student examples of band websites

Partial screenshot of the 'group1' 2015 Latymer homepage. Its impressive work by any standard, not just from students

In my previous post, looking at a UK Indie band's website, I started by listing the many advantages of working with a local, Indie act. The following examples of student coursework websites, all from students at Latymer School in London, eschewed major acts, and their websites have a real wow factor. You can find links for their blogs (with videos and digipaks too) here, though I've also copied these in below.

They all used Wix to create their websites, and I'll blog on this separately.
NB: my thanks to chief examiner Pete Fraser for suggesting these as good student examples - you can find Pete blogging on media matters here, and updating his Twitter account here!

What makes these student websites good examples? Well...
  • Most important of all, its not immediately obvious that this is student work, and thats the level you should always aim for! If you have me as a teacher you'll find its a point I'll frequently raise!
  • The website ties together the wider package, in a way that a video/digipak/ad campaign doesn't do quite so naturally.
    Official and bonus video on the video page.
  • The shot variety involved is also likely to be greater than through digipak/ad packages, and you can judge for yourself to what extent separate photography has been commissioned rather than simply rely upon (lowered resolution) screenshots from the cinematography.
    Gallery: not reliant on screenshots; extra photography employed
  • The imagery is carefully constructed with mode of address and audience in mind.
  • Likewise the language used - albeit many Indie acts will use 'strong language' as part of their discourse which these students obviously don't.
    From the Roza website's 'Roza' page [about me equivalent] takes a creative approach
  • The use and intregration of social media is simply superb, making full use of the widgets and apps available to Wix website builders to provide hyperlinked icons, invites to join/follow, and live feeds.
    Its not just a case of dropping in hyperlinked icons, look at how deeply the social media are embedded into the fabric of the site, with icons and #hashtags to the fore, and a colour scheme helping denote various social media. You can also see direct links to wider media, such as XFM and NME, reflecting and targeting a primary and wider audience.
  • What is especially notable is the depth of these; the various social media have been updated with much more than token posts and content; this maintains the convincing, realistic feel of the productions (the verisimilitude).
  • Font variation and selection is generally strong.
  • The branding overall is strong; you get a clear sense of the image being constructed and communicated.
  • Clutter is generally avoided, with appropriate use of space around elements.
    The editable Wix templates help ensure you'll avoid clumsy layouts. The various components here are well balanced, yet clearly distinguished through colouring and more.
  • Navigation is clean and simple, with the key pages always accessible, and sub-pages used to keep the top links list short enough to be clean and user-friendly (the sub-pages are directly accessible by hovering over the top links list too).
  • The band name/logo is the largest element, but doesn't needlessly fill the screen on each page/screen.
    An ever-present name/logo is basic branding, but shouldn't overwhelm, or necessitate scrolling to see the page you're trying to visit; this example achieves a good balance.
  • The detail and finish are very clearly the result of thorough, considered research into and analysis of the conventions of band websites.
  • The use of technology is impressively broad and thoroughly well integrated, rarely giving the sense of being used for its own sake but rather to enhance the design and the user (audience) experience).
  • This extends to the high visibility of e-commerce tools (you can add goods to the shopping basket, though obviously by the 'checkout' stage there is no link to a shop), crucial as it reflects the key purpose of many sites today, and the reality of the music industry following the disruptive forces of digitisation - music is becoming a secondary revenue source to merchandise and touring.
    Look at the attention to detail: arrow either side allows scrolling through merchandise; the source page has had its brightness reduced; there are multiple sizes and colours; the 'add to cart' actually functions. Photoshopping such a logo wouldn't be hard; this is arguably a case where you could use cropped existing model shots (you'll need a budget for the plain clothes as a starter otherwise!) - if so, always provide the original undoctored images (and source) on your blog.
  • Seriously, you'll come across many actual band websites which have been professionally produced (for a fee!) that come nowhere close to the slickness of these student examples - a sign not just of technological convergence (the last time I looked at website design, DreamWeaver, a complex, user-unfriendly programme, was nigh on essential - clearly no longer!), but of coherent, creative, organised teamwork, with a clear determination to do better than okay...

Note that the blogs are supremely multimedia, and you may find its not a good idea to load up multiple tabs at once...

Latymer School 2014-15 A2 Student Blogs (Music Video brief)

A retro, 80s-look template; pitching at a young audience?

A splash/landing page prior to entering the main site



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