What do you want to become?
MUSIC WEB DESIGNER
Alternate Career Titles:
Front End Developer, Web Developer, Web Admin, Webmaster
Career Overview: Web Designers use their creative skills to design the look and feel of websites for record labels and artists.
Career Salary Range: $28,000 to $150,000+
Become a Music Website Designer
The Webmaster creates and maintains the record company’s website, which is used to promote the label and its artists. They may work alone or with Assistants, Graphic Artists, Content Producers, and Copywriters.
The first thing a Webmaster must do is find a host for the label’s site, which is essentially renting a space or site on the Web. The label pays for the host space online and obtains a web address so people can find the site on the web. The web address is usually something like the label’s name, or another easily remembered and recognizable name.
The capabilities and functions of label websites will vary, depending on the size of the company, how prestigious their Artists are, etc. Sometimes management just wants the site to maintain an online presence with basic info. Other times, they want the site to function as an online storefront, where people can listen, watch and buy products online. Some labels set up different sites for each Recording Group. Whatever the label desires for their site, it is up to the Webmaster to make it happen, developing and creating the label’s website.
The Webmaster must find a balance between designing a nice looking site and one that is easy to navigate. If the site is exciting and looks good, but takes forever to load and is impossible to navigate, site visitors will leave quickly.
Most sites also incorporate things like search bars, pop-up windows, shopping carts, payment systems, and a variety of other functions – the Webmaster is responsible for all of this. He or she is also responsible for incorporating data compilers so the label can see things like how long visitors are staying on a particular page, how many hits the site is getting, etc. Along with creating the overall site, the Webmaster is also responsible for site maintenance, making sure the site remains, fresh, timely, and functional, and that any new content added is accurate and does not “break” the site.
The Webmaster must be an expert with HTML coding in order to build an effective site.
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Depending on the label and vastness of the website, Webmasters can earn anywhere from $28,000 to $150,000 or more per year. Other things like geographic location, the prestige of the label, responsibilities, and experience factor into the salary received.
It should also be noted that smaller labels usually hire consultants to handle their websites, instead of employing a full-time position. These consultants can earn between $50 and $200 or more per hour.
Due to the continually evolving nature of the internet and competition among labels, employment prospects for Webmasters look good. As mentioned, some individuals work as Webmasters on a consulting basis.
If you are a Webmaster who has built an attractive, and successful website, your advancement prospects should be positive, and you shouldn’t have a problem advancing your career. It is definitely considered a career advancement if you take on a position with a larger, more prestigious company, resulting in increased responsibilities. Some also view advancement as starting their own consulting firm.
Education and Training
Education requirements vary widely across the industry – many Webmasters are self-taught. But others have a college education in programming, graphics, languages, web authoring, and more.
It is imperative that Webmasters keep their skills current by engaging in self-study and by enrolling in classes, seminars, and workshops.
Experience, Skills, and Personality
The prestige and size of the label can dictate the extent of the education requirement. The smallest independent labels (usually those staffed by only a few people) sometimes will not require Webmasters to have a great deal of experience, as long as they can prove that they are capable of building a website.
On the flip side, major labels will definitely require their Webmasters to have more experience with building successful websites. Skills needed include the ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and through the written word. Of course, creativity is essential, and a knowledge of the music industry is definitely helpful. Webmasters must have an advanced understanding of web dynamics, HTML, authorship, and any other relevant programming languages.
Even though graphics work is outsourced or completed by staff Graphic Designers, having graphic skills is necessary.
Unions and Associations
Contact the Internet Professional Publishers Association (IPPA) and the World Organization of Webmasters (WOW) in order to learn more about careers in the field.
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Contact record labels for internships. An internship will provide real-life experience and the opportunity to establish contacts.
- Check the web and newspaper for available positions.
- Try putting together websites for non-profit organizations or civic groups for the experience and credit as webmaster.
- Send out your resume and cover letter to those labels at which you are interested in working.
- Stay current with trade pubs like Billboard, which often have ads for record labels with available positions.