A little over a decade ago, I bought a domain name to help promote some unsigned and indie bands I was working with. At the time it felt like a totally frivolous thing to do. And it was expensive – seventy dollars to reserve the name for just two years! And since it was the mid-nineties, most people had no clue what I’d just bought.
I actually wanted URB.com – since the site was known as Unsigned Rock Bands at the time. But URB.com was taken. So I tried Rock.com – obviously taken. So I sighed, and thought okay, I’ll go with RockBands.com – even though it’s ridiculously long. Conventional thought in the circles I ran in, was that the good domains were three letters long, okay domains were four letters long, and you should never buy a domain with more than five letters. Well guess what? Even RockBands.com was taken. At that point I was convinced ALL the good domains were already taken. So I settled on RockBand.com and figured it was better than UnsignedRockBand.com – at least I had that! But a few weeks later, as I started to talk up the site, I realized RockBand.com was actually a much better name than RockBands.com – it just sounded better. And less than a year later I knew just how smart a purchase it had actually been.
Lots and lots of bands registered, and many sent me their demo CDs. I interviewed the best of them and shot bands in LA and San Diego, and New York. In 2000 some of the bands I shot in NYC put together a tour of the East Coast, and promoted it as the ROCKBAND.COM Tour.
In 2005 CBS launched the TV show, Rock Star, and I launched a new and improved forum on the site to talk about music and bands, and this brand new show. And wow, it really took off! By the end of the season we were known as the best place on the web to get info about the show. In 2006 it got even bigger and better. Good times! And really great people! We threw a big bash in Las Vegas at a major hotel even – so our members could all meet up and party in real life. I got to shoot a photo essay backstage at a taping of Rock Star. Several of the singers on the show started posting on the board after the show ended. It was a total blast! Every single part of it.
And then I got an offer…
Harmonix, the creator of Guitar Hero was developing a new game with MTV and Electronic Arts – set to debut this Christmas – and they were calling it Rock Band. They weren’t interested in the site or the community, they only wanted the name. So I sold it to them!
In 1996 I was convinced that all the good domain names were taken, but guess what? I just registered RockBandLounge.com – it’s longer, but that doesn’t bother me anymore, and it’s very descriptive and VERY memorable.
I think I just got lucky again…
If you’d like to read about the reaction at the new RockBandLounge, go here. I announced the deal there last month – but waited to announce it here until after the sale was final.