WordPress vs Tumblr – Which is Better for Musicians?

Tumblr <3
Image by Julia Roy via Flickr

It goes without saying that Tumblr has been gaining in popularity recently. Many of the (micro)blogging platform’s users swear by it for its simplicity and snazzy themes, most of which are available for free. WordPress has been a favorite for the majority of people have self-hosted blog websites. That is why it makes sense to do a comparison to give you a good idea, which is the best option for the serious music act. It is my opinion that both should be used, but the strategies for usage should be different.

For my Tumblr site (hubertsawyers.com), I used to have Shelf (affiliate link). As I like to lead by example, please do not expect to be impressed by my posts. I have gone back to the drawing board with my usage of Tumblr. I hope that my explanation of the pros and cons for both WordPress and Tumblr will be helpful to us both in figuring out how to best use the services.

Which is Better for Musicians?

WordPress (.com or self-hosted)


  • Easy to use
  • Open source (self-hosted)
  • Thousands of themes for a customized look or feel
  • Thousands of plugins to do just about anything you can imagine
  • Tons of support from web hosts


  • If you are not web savvy, there may be some headache in getting acclimated
  • Similar to maintaining a home, it takes work



  • Ease of Use
  • Social Connectivity
  • Content Feed
  • Mobile-Friendly
  • Ask Function
  • Growing Community / Popular


  • Not open source
  • Goes down constantly
  • Sharing and comment features are awkward

WordPress vs Tumblr – The Final Verdict

If you are just starting out with your first website and you are new to things like blogging, then Tumblr is a great training option. Tumblr will get you in the habit of engaging with other micro-bloggers, which may acclimate you in an addictive way. It will spoil you with having everything in one nice dashboard. When you realize you need to optimize your site to build an e-mail list or have a place for your electronic press kit, then you will have outgrown Tumblr.

WordPress is great as an all-around website option. You may need to hire someone to help you build your ideal site, but the investment will be worth it. The potential for your site will be endless and if you pick the right web hosting company, then your site will rarely go down like with Tumblr.

For well-built WordPress and Tumblr themes, consider Theme Foundry. Tell them Hubert Sawyers III sent you!

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  • http://mrtunes.ca/blog Mr. Tunes

    nice to see you are tackling this issue. it’s a tough one to decide on always. i find everytime i sit down to work on a microblogging platform, i get nervous and reach for a self-hosted solution like wordpress, or my favourite textpattern.

    also keep in mind tumblr has had significant problems with downtime recently.

    • http://fryinginvein.com HubertGAM

      Hey Mr. Tunes, thanks for your comment.

      The funniest thing about WordPress is, you can find microblogging themes that basically allow you to post just you would on Tumblr. In fact, I used Shelf on my buddy Zerostar’s website and it’s built on WordPress.

      I see you use Textpattern, what exactly do you like so much about it?

      • http://mrtunes.ca/blog Mr. Tunes

        txp is great because you can construct blogs and similar kinds of content heavy sites really quick. you don’t muck around with php, everything is converted to something that looks like xhtml. the downside is the admin panel isn’t as good for clients.

        so it’s great for sites that people want to run on their own if they’re willing to learn the script, because you can always add features. you also rarely have to hunt for plugins like you do in wordpress.

  • http://michaelshoup.com michaelshoup

    Hey Hubert, great article!

    One thing you might want to note for musicians as well is that Tumblr has one thing built in that WordPress and a lot of other blogging systems does’t: a THRIVING community.

    I started at and kept my blog at Tumblr because it was constantly bringing new people to my music. Being a web designer in the past, I did eventually decide to move the rest of my website to WordPress as a CMS, but kept my blog on Tumblr. Why? With simple “liking” and commenting on other people’s posts, I can get a ridiculous amount of new traffic each week, just by being part of the network.

    For indie artists like myself, you’ve always gotta make sure you go where the audience is!

    • http://fryinginvein.com HubertGAM

      Hey Michael, thanks for your comment. I must say I dig your WordPress / Tumblr integration and I totally understand why you would keep Tumblr. My only issue with Tumblr is that it is unreliable in its uptime, plus it is not as friendly to a writer like myself. I do see the major benefits to Tumblr though and that’s why I use it for my personal site.

      Again, thanks for your thoughts!

      • http://michaelshoup.com michaelshoup

        My pleasure, man! Yeah Tumblr uptime lately has been ridiculous. I’m researching a way to use their system to post but have a cache or backup for when they go down. I know WordPress has a plugin that lets you mirror your blog on Tumblr. We’ll see!

  • Roy Walter

    Curious that nothing is mentioned about doing things like creating collections (albums or other themes). Tumblr doesn’t facilitate this at all, as far as I can tell. WordPress can but it takes some configuration. Or is the assumption here that the blog is purely a publishing platform and not a web presence (and one would use Bandcamp, etc.)?

    • http://fryinginvein.com HubertGAM

      Hey, thanks for your question and comment, Roy.

      WordPress is actively building a CMS that is beyond publishing. It is truly trying to be a content management system for the masses. I am not sure what exactly you want to do with WordPress in regards to showcasing collections, but I am sure you can do it. It may take some finagling, but at least you can finagle. On Tumblr, your hands are tied.

      Again, thanks for your comment and come back again soon!