Going Off Online: Perthbands
Perthbands.com is a WAMi Award winning website for both members and fans of the Perth music industry. Established about six years ago, the site features CD and live reviews, news, gig listings and a forum allowing those both within and outside of Perth to network and keep to date with what is happening.
Craig Harman took over running the site in late 2006, after its creater, Magz, decided to move to the US.
“We met up over a couple of drinks in November-December  and he ended up saying he was going to be moving to the US and wasn’t going to be able to look after Perthbands anymore and was thinking of closing it up.”
He continues: “We talked about things, I’m in a similar sort of business to him and he said that it was closing and I chatted to him about taking it on board and what would be involved. It all happened very quickly in the end.”
The site is maintained by both Craig overseeing the site’s maintenance and distributing the reviews, with contributors looking after the site’s main content and forum.
“We have a number of contributors who write reviews for CDs and live [gigs] and look after the forums and make sure everything’s okay there. I oversee all that and distribute the CDs for review and just look after the day to day running of the site in terms of the design and how it looks.”
The main action on the site is in the forums, and while it primarily promotes Perth based events and happenings, Craig has been working with WAM’s regional coordinator, Nigel Bird, to get more regional based action promoted on the site.
“I think probably at the moment it is more Perth based bands involved but we’re slowly getting more regional bands. I think a lot of regional bands are using it for research but not so much for promoting shows at the moment. ‘We’ve got our Download of the Month’ and Nigel and I have both talked about having a separate regional Download of the Month to help promote those bands.”
Outside of running Perthbands.com, Craig also runs Entertainment IT, the website developers responsible for the sites for many Perth bands and management companies. The first website Craig built was for Jebediah.
“I ended up doing a website for them, just as a fan, and then their management got in touch with me and said ‘We like what you’re doing, we’ll help you out a bit’ and over the years it became the official site. I’m still doing some work with them and just sort of picked up a few other bands along the way from doing that website.”
In continuing to help the website grow and develop, Craig plans on doing a complete redesign of the site over the next few months.
“That will be both the forum and the main site. It’s really just a look and feel sort of change at the moment but we’re doing a preliminary test with Murdoch University who would be providing us with some video content. Their Film and TV students would go out and film bands both live and do some interviews .We’ve [also] got a few bands who are recording at the moment they’re gonna go in and take some footage of [that]. We’re looking at adding some podcast type things and some streaming video to the site using the Murdoch students footage. That’s pretty exciting – [I’m] looking forward to doing that.”
Copyright (C) 2008 Christina Ballico.