Website: The Official Dave Matthews Band Website
The Dave Matthews Band is a unique acoustic band originated out of Charlottesville, Virginia, USA in 1991. Consisting of five mostly jazz-based musicians , the band has risen to international acclaim, resulting in a large fan base.
This site is designed and run by Dave Matthews? own company Bama Rags, Inc. and is the official site of the band. The site is available in both HTML and Flash format, suiting several different grades of computer systems.
When you first open this site, you are greeted with brightly coloured advertisements for the band?s new merchandise, as well as a scrolling window with recent and regularly updated news items. Moving the mouse over the word ?Navigation? activates a menu for the rest of the site. This includes sections titled History, Sights and Sounds, News and Press, Tour Dates, Road, Bama Works, Links, and Store.
This page describes the history of how the band formed as a whole, and gives the reader an idea of each album?s creation and successes. Individual band member biographies can be found by clicking on silhouette images of them at the top of the page.
Sights and Sounds:
This is the multimedia section of the website. Here you will find sub-sections titled Discography, where both audio and video samples can be downloaded in a number of formats, and lyrics can be found; Special Features, more audio/video downloads such as DVD previews and band interviews; Set Lists, an archive of set lists from all concerts; and Photos.
News and Press:
Here fans can search archives of both news items and announcements by the band. These news items generally include information of Dave Matthews Band appearances on television and radio, as well as personal band member announcements.
Available in a printable version, this page gives all details of tour dates and venues, and gives the opportunity to buy tickets online, both for the general public and for fan club members.
Clicking on this title opens a separate browser window, and a page that is essentially run by the band?s road crew. Here you can find a gallery of photos taken daily on tour, photos of the crew in action, detailed lists of the band?s equipment, and setlists updated in real time during concerts.
Dave Matthews Band has a strong commitment to charitable works, and so established the Bama Works Foundation, which supports over 100 charities, both locally and internationally. This page provides links to those charities, as well as giving information on benefit concerts that the band is involved in.
This page provides links to the websites of other artists that the band has been involved with, and to charity organizations such as Amanaka?a and the Rainforest Action Network.
This is where albums, t-shirts, posters and various other merchandise can be purchased online.
There is also a link to The Warehouse, the band?s fan club on the page.
In general, this site is clearly laid out, and while in neutral colours is very bright. It is regularly updated, and technical problems are dealt with very quickly. The Flash animations are simple yet very effective, however the band member biographies are a little hard to find, being that there is no textual link, only images. Overall it is a very pleasing site.
The Dave Matthews Band has always believed that the music community should remain interactive, and enjoy keeping up relations with their steadily growing fan base. Since the very beginnings of their success, they have allowed fans to tape shows for their personal use, feeling that each show is unique and that fans should have the opportunity to recreate and relive the experience of the band?s phenomenal live shows. The band encourages trading amongst fans, but this has of course led to problems with bootlegged material.
Since 1993, the band has released a number of live recordings, and five studio albums, the latest being Busted Stuff, released July 2002. This album consists of tracks written in 2000 under the title The Lilywhite Sessions, which had been put aside while the band wrote and released their first electric album Everyday. These tracks became available over the internet, and the band?s first bootleg album went into production around the world.
The band feels that bootlegging takes away from the spirit of the interactive community which they created within their fan base, as it shows disregard for the trust in which the band places on the fans in allowing them to tape shows.
I believe the philosophy of the Dave Matthews Band to be a strong one, as it encourages a relationship between fan and artist. I fell that to have grown so high in critical acclaim, and to still hold to their original grass-roots mentality, shows a great amount of sophistication in the band.
This said however, the flaws in such a philosophy can become obvious when advantage can and is taken by the public by bootlegging material.