It seems like every day more and more bands are using Myspace as the main form of getting themselves heard. So I figured that I would make an in-depth guide on how to set up a successful site.
Well, if you haven't figured out how to set up a music profile instead of a personal one, first go to www.myspace.com. (obviously...) Then, instead of signing in/signing up like you normally would, click on the Music link near the top of the page. To the far right of the maroon bar on the top, there is a link for Artist Signup. Fill out all of the information, (I recommend that you use a real email) and then it's time to design your page.
Now is when you're going to want to upload a few pictures, create a layout, and upload a couple of songs, if you have any recorded. If you don't have any material yet, don't worry, but it's better if you do.
The site I used to design my layout was www.glitter-graphics.com. (I know it sounds fruity as hell, but trust me, here.) Also, you can search around and make your own layout, if you don't feel like settling with a pre-made one. Try to choose something that fits your style, too. Like if you're in a country band, a rural or patriotic theme would probably be best. If you play ambient music, possibly a picture of a nebula.(Email me if you'd like some good ones, heylookitssean(at)yahoo(dot)com.) or something abstract. If you are in a punk band, perhaps a city wall with graffiti. I could go on with these forever, it really just comes down to whatever you think suits your band best, really.
There's not really a lot to say here, but I'll try to get a paragraph out of it, anyway. You'll probably want to get a picture of each individual band member doing their own thing, along with a few full band shots. Now, if you're in a High School band, you may encounter the same problem I did around a year ago, in which out keyboard player's mother feared the terrible, terrible, dark, sinister things that would happen to her poor, innocent son. For the record, he turned out just fine. But, anyway, the didn't want his full name or picture on the site, so it was time to get creative. We came up with a "stage name" for him, in this case, Warren Peace, and made his picture the yellow Teletubby, holding a guitar. In the full band shoot, we took the Teletubby's face and stretched it over his. Professional? No. Kinda funny/a clever way to solve our problem? Totally. Also, back on topic of pictures, you will probably want your display (default) image to be something fairly artistic. (If anyone needs a logo, there's a thread in the Promote Your Band forum.)
Now is when you may want to add a few close friends, but no one else just yet. If you don't have any material to add, don't worry, just don't go around sending friend requests to random people just yet, since they'll have nothing to judge you by. Before you have songs, you can probably post a link to your profile in your signature on a forum such as MF, UG, etc., but don't send requests to other people yet, since they won't actually have any music to listen to.
Well, if you're having trouble finding an affordable way to record your music and aren't a sound quality Nazi, Audacity is probably your best bet. (www.audacity.sourceforge.net) Basically, all you need is your instruments, a cable, and an adaptor to convert a 1/4 size input to 1/8. (aka one of (aka one of these.)) They run for $3-$5 at your local electronics store.
One downside to Audacity, however, is that you can only record one instrument at a time. This takes away the sense of unison between the band, bet hey, it's free. Also, to export your finished project, you'll need the Lame Mp3 Encoder. Don't worry, it's also free, just can prove to be a bitch to find.
Anyway, once you've recorded and exported your song, simply go to the Edit Profile link on your Myspace, choose the Manage Songs option, and upload it. There is a maximum of four, but a little-known trick is that if you add Bodog Entertainment to your friends list, your limit is now changed to five songs, but you must sacrifice the ability to have listeners download them. However, if you feel as though your songs absolutely must be available to download, you can just set up a DMusic account and link to it via your Myspace.
Alright, now that you've chosen a layout, uploaded pictures, have music, etc., it's time to add friends. You can't just assume that people will just happen to stumble upon your music, because, although that does happen sometimes, this occasion is very rare. If you want to be heard, you Must send out requests everywhere. Add your favorite bands and leave comments on their pages, other fans of theirs may decide to give you a listen, and may just like what they hear! Also, if many of your fans tend to like a certain band, even if you don't like them I still recommend an add/comment. For example, My Chemical Romance is on my friends list, and although I'm not particularly a fan of them, many people who have enjoyed my music are, and this has gotten me a few more friends.