Remember band websites?
Updated: Jan 4, 2021
I got an email from New Weird Australia a few weeks ago about the failure of social media, urging fans/artists to communicate outside of it. They were more eloquent than that, but that was the gist. It was part of what prompted us to go ahead and make this website, because I had been feeling the same way (and maybe you have too, I dunno).
Exploring terrible stock photos has been an early highlight of getting a proper website.
The tech giants (who I’ll call "EvilTech" for convenience/accuracy) originally promised a grassrootsy, Utopian online musical funland, which they called 'social media'. Today it’s the furthest thing from grassroots: the tyrannical EvilTech now holds fandom hostage, demanding a ransom from the artist just to speak to the fans, who are doing the online equivalent of milling around wondering what time the band’s on. Being both fan and artist, I neither wanna be held for a ransom nor paying one - but these are the only available roles in the artist/audience relationship, as defined by EvilTech.
It wasn't always like this. I remember the good ole days, e.g. 2005, when internet fandom meant doing your daily rounds of each favourite bands' website (instead of the infinitely blander Gmail/Facebook/etc routine). I was blown away by the newness of Radiohead.tv and the 'messy typewriter' look at www.nin.com (which MUST have been hand-typed, smudged and scanned - imagine making that effort now!). I dreamed that my band would someday have a site you could lose yourself in, an extension of our artistic identity. "As technology improves", I (may have) thought, "band websites are just gonna get better and better."
Example from the old NIN site.
Did websites get better? I don’t even know anymore. Do bands even HAVE websites? They used to be marvellous shrines - a monumental artistic statement. Now, they’re spartan shopfronts.
You know how you click "like" on an artist, only to never hear from them again? You are held hostage by EvilTech, and the band is unaware, or unwilling to pay to reach you. Hence ‘sponsored’ posts.
As an artist, let me tell you that 'sponsoring' a post feels about as cool as writing "LAME" on your forehead, being a grandpa with a backwards hat and skateboard, or that old Coke ad that said “Image is nothing. Thirst is everything”... I.e. it’s extremely lame. EvilTech knows this. But they also know that many, many artists WILL reach for their wallet to abate the feeling of rejection when only 3 people acknowledge their post - a sense of rejection deliberately engineered by EvilTech.
A man called something like Donald Reagan once asked something like "Do you feel more in touch with your favourite artists online now than you did in 2005?" The answer (for me) is no.
We, Farewell Horizontal, thought we'd do our piss-ant bit to save music from EvilTech's kidnapping ring. We've bought our ".com" so we can do the internet with integrity, more in line with that original grassroots ideal. The overheads of a basic site are small and allow us complete control. It's more appropriate for a DIY band to cut out the EvilTech middleman. (Having said that, we’re still going to syndicate this site's content across our social media accounts.)
Expect a lot of music and blog posts here. However, this method of conducting our band relies on fans/interested parties entering their email and subscribing. Please do that if you’ve read this far. It won’t be half as annoying as anything you’ve seen on social media lately. Thanks.