Comments on music distribution where people don’t have to host files went towards the issue of band’s web pages:
– A very low percentage of bands are actually tech savvy enough to create their own websites.
-MySpace, which is by far the most popular way for bands to gain a web-presence, hosts mp3s and makes them available for listening, but goes to relatively draconian measures to prevent them from having reliable, publicly available urls.
Together, these two obstacles constitute a killer one-two punch: MySpace lures artists into using it as a stop-gap against building a real website; MySpace only lets artists put their music online in a crippled innovation-hostile way (in a flash widget, hidden behind temporary on-demand-generated urls, un-linkable, and un-discussable).
This means that most of the indie, unsigned, and local bands — exactly the ones who should have the most to gain from making access to their music for bloggers, fans, and other people in the conversation as easy as possible — are locked into a service that reduces the ability of their music to participate in things like mp3 blogs, XSPF content resolvers, and more general content detection services.
“A very low percentage of bands are actually tech savvy enough to create their own websites.”
This is a bit unfair. The reason most bands don’t have their own website is likely more financial than technical. It also takes a long time to do it right, time that most bands don’t have.
The trick is getting rid of all the middlemen, and having a *really* reliable URL that represents the band. From there the band can dish out reliable URLs to MP3s (could be 3rd party) which can get aggregated and indexed by search engines. That will in turn improve the search relevance of indexed mp3 links so that music bloggers, Songbird, Google, Facebook, etc can quickly see that the most relevant and reliable source for music is the band itself, and link directly.
Perhaps the simplest solution is just encouraging ultra-solid URLs. Have bands register their domain name, and maybe have a service or script using Apache rewrite that resolve to the most current mp3 of a file.
I do think they need their own domain name to maintain ownership over the URL, even if the root domain redirects or redisplays their myspace page.
I could see a whole service being built around providing redirect links to other webservices, but giving the band control over these redirects (or having multiple sources to cycle through).