Berklee Online Open Mic Series: PledgeMusic Founder Benji Rogers on the Difficulties of Touring

This is a guest post by Berklee Online music business instructor Chandler Coyle that originally appeared on the PledgeMusic blog. Chandler is one-half of the fan experience agency Music Geek Services and is also the publisher of the The Coyle Report, a free music marketing newsletter that provides tips, tricks and solutions on fan engagement. Click here for a free subscription to The Coyle Report.


Hi everyone!

This final video in the 4-part interview series is focused on: The Difficulties of Touring. If you missed the first three parts of this series, please also check out: Part 1 of 4 – Benji Rogers on Best Practices for Merch, Part 2 of 4 – Benji Rogers on Best Practices for Pricing, and Part 3 of 4 – Benji Rogers on Best Practices for Determining Quantities.

Benji and Berklee Online’s Mike King discuss the difficulties of touring.

"You’ve got to think of it as [a fan engagement] ecosystem of: involving your fans in the making of an album, involving your fans in the release of an album, involving your fans in the touring of an album." — Benji Rogers

Key Takeaways for the Difficulties of Touring

  • Pre-sell tickets for your tour dates as a part of a new album pre-order bundle.
  • Consider things like soundcheck passes and meet-and-greets.
  • Support slots can be helpful, but not always. You want to be playing in front of people who want to see you vs. just being the support act.
  • Use the power of the web (social and email) to ask your fans where they want you to play.
  • You need to make sure that you make the most of merch in terms of subsidizing your touring costs.
  • Consider house concerts. House concerts are one of the most under-rated parts of the industry.
  • In terms of merch and the ability to engage more intimately with your fans house concerts usually trump small club shows.
  • Last, but not least, remember to always: ask fans what they want.

Study music marketing online with Benji Rogers and Berklee Online this fall. Get personalized feedback on your work, and direct access to Benji in Berklee’s 12-week Music Marketing 101 course, which begins on September 29th. As space is extremely limited, please contact Berklee Online’s registrar if you are interested in studying directly with Benji, at registrar@berkleemusic.com, or 1.866.BERKLEE.


Cheers!
Chandler Coyle
Publisher, The Coyle Report
Click here for a free subscription to The Coyle Report a free music marketing newsletter that provides tips, tricks, and solutions on fan engagement and get a FREE eBook containing all 4 posts in this series including full video transcripts.

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/30/2014 | 0 comments

Band Website Love: Breaking Grass

Every week we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.   

Who: Breaking Grass  
What: Bluegrass Band
Where: North Mississippi
Why their website rocks: We’re off to Raleigh next week for the IBMA World of Bluegrass conference, so we’re showing some love for one of our bluegrass members. Breaking Grass are using one of our simple full-background themes with a professionally shot photo for the background image. We also love that they’re using our new grid layout for their Store, where they’re offering a mix of albums and t-shirts for their fans.

Plus, on their Tour page it shows that they’ll be at the IBMA conference as well, so we'll see you guys there!

Check out their site at: www.breakinggrass.com

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/26/2014 | 3 comments

Bandzoogle in Raleigh Next Week: World of Bluegrass Conference + Member Meetup!

Our Director of Artist Relations Dave Cool will be traveling to Raleigh next week for the IBMA World of Bluegrass Business Conference.

Taking place from September 30 to October 4 at the Raleigh Convention Center, Dave will be participating in several panels, offering free website reviews, and organizing a member meetup while in town! Here are all the details:

The Digital Get-Down
Tuesday, September 30
1:00pm - 2:30pm
The Monroe Room (305 A & B)

Dave will be one of the mentors for this session where small groups rotate through experts on all things digital - from social media to newsletter creation to website management.


Website Demolition Derby
Wednesday, October 1
10:15am - 11:45am
Martin Room, 305A

Dave will moderate this panel which will offer live critiques of musician websites. Each site's design, organization, content and functionality will be assessed. How does the website fit with the artist's overall online strategy, and how successfully does it achieve their goals? Reviews will be ruthless and diplomacy will be left aside, but in the process everyone will learn some website design best practices.

Free Website Reviews at the Media Center & Exhibit Hall!

We’ll have a table set up to do free website reviews for musicians throughout the conference. There will also no doubt be some free candy and free Bandzoogle t-shirts for members, so please come by to say hello:

Wednesday, October 1: 2pm - 6pm @ Exhibit Hall
Thursday, October 2: 9am - 5pm @ Media Center, then 1pm - 5pm @ Exhibit Hall
Friday, October 3: 9am - 5pm @ Media Center
Saturday, October 4: 9am - 5pm @ Media Center

Bandzoogle Member Meetup!

Where: Bar Posta @ Raleigh Marriott City Center
When: Thursday, October 2 @ 6pm

While in Raleigh, we’re going to host a member meetup. Join Dave Cool for drinks (he’s buying!) to talk music and websites, and get a free Bandzoogle t-shirt too. Please RSVP, as space is limited. Hope to see you there!

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/24/2014 | 0 comments

Bandzoogle CEO David Dufresne in Memphis for GRAMMY futureNOW Website Derby!

Our CEO David Dufresne is off to Memphis this weekend to participate in GRAMMY futureNOW. The day-long mini-conference presented by The Recording Academy Memphis Chapter is taking place on Saturday, September 27 at Stax Academy, and will provide professional development for indie artists looking to improve their online presence and develop new revenue streams.

David will be moderating the Website Demolition Derby, where he along with a panel of experts will review websites for musicians right there in front of the live audience. The Website Derby is always a fun and interactive panel session, with lots of actionable advice given out. 

Registration for the event opens at 11am Saturday, but you can click here to RSVP. For more information about the mini-conference, visit: www.grammypro.com/memphis/event/memphis-grammy-futurenow

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/23/2014 | 0 comments

Berklee Online Open Mic Series: PledgeMusic Founder Benji Rogers on Best Practices for Determining Quantities

This is a guest post by Berklee Online music business instructor Chandler Coyle that originally appeared on the PledgeMusic blog. Chandler is one-half of the fan experience agency Music Geek Services and is also the publisher of the The Coyle Report, a free music marketing newsletter that provides tips, tricks and solutions on fan engagement. Click here for a free subscription to The Coyle Report.


Hi everyone!

This third video in the 4-part interview series is focused on: Best Practices for Determining Quantities. If you missed the first two parts of this series, please also check out: Part 1 of 4 – Benji Rogers on Best Practices for Merch and Part 2 of 4 – Benji Rogers on Best Practices for Pricing.

Benji and Berklee Online’s Mike King discuss best practices for determining the quantities of physical merchandise to produce. While there is no quick rule-of-thumb to figure out how much merch to produce, they talk about the discuss the important variables and factors that you can utilize to make an educated estimate.

Before you watch the video, I wanted to highlight a comment that Benji makes in this video. This advice from Benji is important to keep in mind when interacting with your fans at a show and especially at your merch booth.

“A thing that artists forget is what you do as an artist is fascinating to people that don’t know how.”
-Benji Rogers

Key Takeaways for Best Practices for Determining Quantities:

-Take into account how many units you sold direct-to-fan, via a PledgeMusic campaign for example.

-Take into account the number of tour dates multiplied by the average number of units of each item you tend to sell per show.

-Take note of what you are hearing from your fan base. Does the level of fan chatter about the new release or upcoming tour seem bigger than past releases or tours?

-Balance your concerns about quantities with the realities of better per unit pricing on larger quantities.

-Improve your merch booth presence and attitude in order to increase the quantities you can sell at each show.

-Keep in mind that fans respond to your respect for your art.

Stay tuned as next week we’ll feature part 4 of this 4-part Berklee Online Open Mic Series: Benji Rogers on the Difficulties of Touring.

Study music marketing online with Benji Rogers and Berklee Online this fall. Get personalized feedback on your work, and direct access to Benji in Berklee’s 12-week Music Marketing 101 course, which begins on September 29. As space is extremely limited, please contact Berklee Online’s registrar if you are interested in studying directly with Benji, at registrar@berkleemusic.com, or 1.866.BERKLEE.

Cheers!

Chandler Coyle
Publisher, The Coyle Report

Click here for a free subscription to The Coyle Report, a free music marketing newsletter that provides tips, tricks, and solutions on fan engagement.

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/23/2014 | 0 comments

Band Website Love: The Fallen Stars

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.   

Who: The Fallen Stars  
What: Americana Rock Band
Where: Southern California
Why their website rocks: We’re in Nashville this week for the Americana Conference, so we’re showing some love for the website of Americana Rock Band The Fallen Stars.

We love how they use a cool guitar image as texture for the background of our Cross & Fade theme, then highlight the pre-sale of their new album right there above the fold. They also highlight a unique new project on the Homepage for fans of the TV series Firefly, and link to a page that has the first song, video, and updates about the project.

We also love that they display Press quotes alongside each one of their albums, a great idea to add context to their music (some examples here & here). And to top it all off, they have a custom favicon of a falling star for their site, a really nice touch guys!

Check it out at: www.thefallenstars.com

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/19/2014 | 3 comments

4 Tips to Make Your Band's Instagram More Engaging

Every band and artist knows that social media is important (or, at least I hope they do), but sometimes doing it well can be tricky. What works for Facebook may not be the same as Twitter, and sometimes you need different strategies for different platforms. Instagram’s importance is growing, especially as younger people are gravitating towards it and away from other social networks, so learning how to engage people on the photo-only platform is crucial.

Here are four tips to make sure your Instagram profile is one that people will want to follow and engage with on a regular basis.

1. Be genuine and relatable

While Instagram has started allowing ads in order to actually make some money (so Facebook can start earning back some of that $1 billion they spent acquiring the app), it really isn’t meant to be much of a space for advertising. People don’t go there for you to sell them something, but rather for entertainment and insights into people’s lives.

While I love Beyonce and the photos on her Instagram are beautiful, she’s not a good example of what up-and-coming bands should do. Everything is staged, obviously shot by professional photographers, and carefully planned by what I can only imagine is a privately-employed social media team. If you’re on Bey’s level, by all means follow her lead. If not, you may want to stay a bit more grounded, mixing real photography with things that remind your fans you’re just like them.

2. Don’t hog the spotlight

Yes, people do follow your band on Instagram because they like you and your music, but please don’t be like that friend we all have who posts a daily selfie. Nobody follows that person for very long.

Instead, find ways of bringing other subjects and people into your feed, as long as they’re interesting and enjoyable. Maybe you’ve seen another band recently and loved a photo you took at the show, or perhaps you saw an outfit you loved on someone walking down the street. If it’s on-brand, feel free to share. Make sure it’s something your audience will want to see and they’ll welcome it, no matter how off-course it is from your new album.

3. Invite people to engage

If someone is already following you, chances are they’ll jump at the chance to interact with you. Don’t just expect people to engage with yousocial media is best when it’s a two-way street. Ask your fans to submit photos they took of your latest show, or share videos of them singing and dancing to your new single, and then call out your favorites. This way, people feel like they are truly interacting with you (if they know you’re watching their videos and seeing their photos), and you’ve just promoted your tour or new music without it seeming like typical marketing.

4. Don’t take yourself too seriously

One of the mistakes some celebrities make on social media is trying to appear flawless, or as too much a serious artist to post anything off-beat or silly. While it’s easy to understand that nobody wants to share a photo where they don’t look good, looking too perfect all the time can backfire as well.

Should you share that amazing new photo your photographer took of you at a recent show? Absolutely, but follow it up with a selfie with your eyes crossed, or a picture of what your bandmates drew on you when you passed out drunk on the tour bus (assuming it’s Instagram-friendly). Some of the most-loved people on the site are those unafraid to look stupid for the sake of entertaining their fans. That’s why you’re there, right? This goes back to being relatable, but on a whole other level. It’s not just about coming off as a real human, but one just like your fans.


Editor's note: Don't forget you can use Bandzoogle's Instagram Gallery feature to automatically feed your Instagram photos onto your website!

This guest post by Hugh McIntyre originally appeared on the Sonicbids blog. Hugh is a freelance pop music journalist in NYC by way of Boston. He has written for Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, and MTV, as well as various magazines and blogs around the world. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the blog "Pop! Bang! Boom!" which is dedicated to the genre of pop in all of its glory.

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/18/2014 | 0 comments

Musician Tyler Kealey Records a Video Every Day, Including Bandzoogle’s (Unofficial) Theme Song!

Singer-songwriter, piano man, and Bandzoogle member Tyler Kealey embarked on an ambitious project this year: he set out to record a song on video every day for an entire year. And after over 250 days, he’s still going strong.  

Tyler has diligently posted each new video to a blog on his website. With each post he adds context to the video, explaining why he chose the song, as well details about the recording. The videos include originals, a wide range of cover songs, as well as collaborations with other musicians.

Bandzoogle’s Unofficial Theme Song

Tyler also recorded what has become our unofficial theme song. Bandzoogle is a remote company, so all of the staff work from home. Every year, the staff and their families get together for an annual meetup. Tyler is married to one of our support technicians Melanie, so he was there at the meetup once again this year and still managed to record a video every day.

One of the videos he recorded during the meetup was a spinoff of the Kids in the Hall sketch/song “Daves I Know”. Out of a staff of 20, there are 4 Daves here at Bandzoogle (well, 2 Davids and 2 Daves, but close enough).

So Tyler tweaked the lyrics for “Daves I Know” and made a video talking about the Daves he knows at Bandzoogle: CEO David Dufresne, Developer Dave Spurr, Support technician David English, and Director of Artist Relations Dave Cool.

Here’s the video, with the whole extended Bandzoogle team helping out:

Interview with Tyler Kealey

We spoke to Tyler about his video a day project to find out why he’s doing it, what he’s learning, and what the challenges have been. Plus, he tells us what some of his favorite videos have been so far. Enjoy!

Q: Why did you decide to do a video every day?

I’ve always felt caught between two worlds in my musical life.  I play live cover shows 3-4 times a week and I also write original music and perform it when I can, but the audience just isn’t there in the same way.  

There's no shame in making a living making people happy with songs they enjoy hearing and I enjoy playing, but I had been feeling a bit jaded about playing covers for people in bars and clubs, with no one wanting to hear my original songs.  

I realized that I didn’t want music to become a daunting part of my life.  I have been playing music my whole life and the reason I decided to make it my career, was because I have always had an undying passion for performing, songwriting and singing so I wanted to do something that reminded me of that love.  

I thought by doing a video every day, I could kind of reflect on all the songs I love, to motivate and inspire myself to celebrate music again, in a challenging way. I was hoping to reach a wider audience through social media with the videos - appealing to those who love a good Elton John song and also those who like my style of piano pop music.  

Q: How has the reaction been?

It’s been positive overall. When I go out, people always come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed a recent video, and that’s nice.

Q: What have you learned in the process?

I’ve learned a lot about the process of filming and editing the videos - it takes longer than I thought it would.  I’ve learned to let go a bit as well. If you’re going to really record a song every day, you have to push yourself to get it done and not every day’s song is going to be as perfect as you would have liked it to be.

I’m also learning about what people like to watch. I can spend hours at home perfecting an original song, and some people will watch it, and then I can spend 4 minutes doing a quick Monty Python cover outside next to a new Silly Walks songs, and thousands of people will watch and share that one.  

So I’m learning to balance songs I really feel strongly about, that are meaningful to me or have a story behind them, but nobody knows well, with songs that everyone knows and likes and will share, to increase the project’s visibility.

Q: Have you had any interesting collaborations?

I got together with some musician friends at a cottage and we stayed up all night to write a new song which we recorded for that day’s video which was fun. I did a live song with a female bluegrass band that was really fun. I’ve had some great collaborations with family, too, and with my ten year old cousin (she just started writing music so we filmed one of her songs).  

I’m also planning to get together this month with a couple of musicians I’ve never worked with before, so that should be good.

Q: What’s been your favourite part of doing a video every day?

It’s made me push myself.  I’ve been trying to come up with a creative take on songs that I’ve always liked but never really learned to play. I did a cover of Black Hole Sun recently and came up with a piano arrangement for it. It’s also forced me to work on a few songs that I’d written but not quite finished, to film a version.

Q: What's been the biggest challenge?

Trying to work with so little time.  Especially with a one year old at home with me during the day, and shows a lot of nights, time is a precious commodity. Sometimes it gets to 11pm and I just need to get something done quick. Then I can’t worry about great lighting or doing a few takes - I just have to get one done.

Q: What are some of your favorite videos? Besides the Bandzoogle theme song of course.

Vienna Waits - one of first I did with an editing program; Baseball Diamond - an original song that means a lot to me; Hey Daddy - filmed on an iPhone, and I’m playing my keyboard in the bathtub;  Have you ever seen the Rain - the arrangement is interesting; The Canal medley - I was pulled around, with my piano, on the world’s longest skating rink by a ‘horse’; Rock around the Clock - I played this one because my son likes to jam out to it on his own baby piano.

Q: What are you going to do the first day *after* finishing the year of videos?

It’s a bit of a pipe dream right now but I was thinking about doing a show that includes the whole year of music all in one performance. So it’d probably go well into January 1. But after that I’d like to disconnect for a bit and just write, offline! I imagine the days proceeding this project will feel like I have all the free time in the world by comparison.

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/17/2014 | 2 comments

Berklee Online Open Mic Series: PledgeMusic Founder Benji Rogers on Best Practices for Pricing

This is a guest post by Berklee Online music business instructor Chandler Coyle that originally appeared on the PledgeMusic blog. Chandler is one-half of the fan experience agency Music Geek Services and is also the publisher of the The Coyle Report, a free music marketing newsletter that provides tips, tricks and solutions on fan engagement. Click here for a free subscription to The Coyle Report.


Hi everyone!

This second video in the 4-part interview series is focused on: Best Practices for Pricing. If you missed part one of this series, please also check out: Part 1 of 4 – Benji Rogers on Best Practices for Merch.

Benji and Berklee Online’s Mike King discuss best practices for the pricing of merchandise. Choosing how to price your merchandise is a careful balance between making money, making connections with your fans, and also trying get your music heard. Pricing too high is as bad as pricing too low. Benji discusses some typical price points for the standard merch items. He also outlines the opportunities for making lasting connections with your fans after the show as they visit your merch booth.

Key Takeaways for Best Practices for Pricing

-Fans are willing to pay premium prices if they buy directly from you.

-Fans want to support you, so allow them to do so.

-CDs tend to work best at $10.

-Vinyl – set minimum price at $20 up to max of $30.

-T-shirts – $15-25 depending on quality of shirt. Fans respond to quality.

-Combine items together with a slight discount to create an attractive bundle.

-Stand behind the value of your music to you.

-Balance making money with getting your music heard. Be willing to be flexible on your pricing in some situations.

-The point-of-sale is also a point-of-connection, sometimes the artist <" fan connection has more value than just the sale.

Stay tuned as next week we’ll feature Part 3 of this 4-part Berklee Online Open Mic Series: Benji Rogers on Best Practices for Determining Quantities.

Study music marketing online with Benji Rogers and Berklee Online this fall. Get personalized feedback on your work, and direct access to Benji in Berklee’s 12-week Music Marketing 101 course, which begins on September 29th. As space is extremely limited, please contact Berklee Online’s registrar if you are interested in studying directly with Benji, at registrar@berkleemusic.com, or 1.866.BERKLEE.

Cheers!

Chandler Coyle
Publisher, The Coyle Report

Click here for a free subscription to The Coyle Report, a free music marketing newsletter that provides tips, tricks, and solutions on fan engagement.

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/16/2014 | 0 comments

Musician Website Love: Camila Meza

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.

Who: Camila Meza
What: Jazz, Latin, Alternative Singer/Guitarist
Where: New York via Santiago de Chile
Why her website rocks: This week we announced a partnership with All About Jazz, and we don’t just love that Camila Meza had nice things to say about us in the press release (read it here). We also love her website!

We often tell artists that they should put their best foot forward on their website, and Camila does that perfectly. First, Camila uses a great professional photo using the full-width header image area on our theme Primer.

Then, the first sentence of the Welcome message on her Homepage says:

Camila Meza is a rising star in the New York jazz scene and has been described by the New York Times as “a bright young singer and guitarist with an ear for music of both folkloric and pop intention".

When you’re able to use a quote from the New York Times about your music, that is definitely something you want to put front and center. Nicely done Camila!

Check out her site at: www.camilameza.com

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/12/2014 | 0 comments