New and improved Album Download feature

As Chris mentioned in his blog post two weeks ago, our members have sold over $30,000 worth of MP3 downloads since we introduced the Audio Store feature 18 months ago. Congratulations everyone, $30k is awesome! But at Bandzoogle we like to aim big, so we'd like to challenge you to hit $100k by the end of the year. It's a big challenge, but you can do it! Don't worry, you're not in this alone. To help you out, we've just released a major upgrade to the music store feature that makes it easier for you to organize and promote your music and easier for your fans to buy more of it. Here are some of the major improvements:
  • The feature is now called "Album Download" and you can add as many of them to your site as you like, using one per album. Once you've set up the album information, your tracks will be displayed on your website in an attractive format including the album art, album info, etc. If you don't want to group your tracks by album, just don't add the album info and your tracks will continue to appear much as they used to.
  • Once you've set up your album info, your fans will be able to purchase the entire album in one click, rather than having to purchase each track individually. When they make their purchase, all of the tracks, the album art, and a playlist file will be wrapped up into a zip file automatically, ready to be downloaded and enjoyed.
  • You can still set the price for each track individually, but you can also set the price for the album as a whole. For example, you could sell the 10 tracks in an album at $0.99 each, but only charge $7.99 to purchase all of them.
  • The audio preview clips are of a higher quality than before and they will automatically pause the site-wide audio player when they are played.
  • Your audio store now uses a much better shopping cart system which allows your visitors to purchase a mix of tracks and albums from pages throughout your site.
Remember, we're one of the only pay-per-download providers who provide commission-free sales (you keep every penny) so take advantage and get selling!
Posted on 01/28/2008 | 46 comments

Indie band blogs

By now, you're probably familiar with blogs. There are millions of them out there (60 million+ at last check) discussing every topic under the sun.

As an indie musician, blogs can be an invaluable resource. There are blogs about band promotion, new gear, trends at the record store, and more.

Once you get into blogs, you'll find it helpful to use a Blog Reader. Instead of visiting each blog individually, blog readers organize blogs on a single page, and update automatically when a new post is added. It's like having a newspaper that only includes your favorite columns.

A great blog reader is Google Reader. It's free, and will suggest new blogs based on the posts you find interesting.

Here are some music industry blogs to get you started:

Please share any other indie music blogs you find helpful in the community!

Posted by Stacey on 01/24/2008 | 12 comments

Forum + community update

By popular request, we've added a "quote" feature and the ability to close topics in your forum.

We've also added a "search" feature to the community forum so you can easily dig up older posts.

Posted by Chris on 01/22/2008 | 9 comments

How to edit your digital audio files

Hi guys!

If you've want to edit your digital audio files, but don't have expensive software like ProTools, I've found a great solution. It's free audio editor called Audacity. They have versions for PC and Mac, and you can download it free here.

Audacity is really user friendly and is useful if you want to make individual song clips, or a montage of song clips (i.e.: for promoters or fans to sample your music without downloading full songs.)

Here's a short tutorial on how to make individual song clips:

  • The first thing you need to do is download a file that lets you encode Mp3s. Click this link and click on the link to Audacity for Windows, or Audacity for Mac OS.
  • When that is finished downloading, you can unzip the file by opening it and clicking "Extract all files" to the default folder.
  • Next, open Audacity, and go to file - open and select the song you want to edit.
  • You can use the selection tool (located directly under the file menu option) to select the part of the song you want to use in your clip (Note: when you press the "play" button it will only play the part you have selected.)
  • While your song is "stopped" go to edit - trim. This will trim the song so only the part you selected will play.
  • If you'd like to add effects to your song, like a fade in/fade out, go to Effect - Fade in or Fade Out
  • The "normalize" effect is also useful if you have tracks that are encoded too low. Normalization will increase volume to the maximum without introducing distortion. In other words, normalization sets the average volume level to be the same as most professionally recorded music.
  • To save your clip, go to File - Export Mp3. The first time you try to export an MP3 file, Audacity will ask you to locate your MP3 encoder. Select the file named lame_enc.dll and click Open. From then on, Audacity will not need to ask you again and you will be able to export MP3 files easily. Your next option will be to save your new sound clip on your computer. ** Be sure to save it under a new file name to not overwrite your original mp3.

If you'd like to make a montage of different songs:

  • open Audacity, and go to Project - Import Audio to add each song that will be in your montage (or you can click and drag the songs you want into the window, one on top of the other.)
  • Next, select and trim each song you want in the montage.
  • To change the position of each clip in your montage, click on that track where you'd like that clip to start playing, then go to Project > Align tracks... - Align with Cursor.
  • Tip: If you want to use the Fade In/Fade Out Effect it may be a good idea to overlap your song slightly. To Cross Fade In all of the tracks at once, hold down the shift key while dragging across multiple tracks, then go to Effect - Cross Fade In
  • When you are done, go to File > Export mp3 and save your new montage.

If you need more help with this program, or if you want to take advantage of its many other features, there is a complete reference manual available here. Enjoy!

Posted by Stacey on 01/18/2008 | 22 comments

$30,000 in MP3 download sales!

We just hit a great milestone: $30,000 in MP3 sales since we added the audio store feature 18 months ago. Since we don't skim off a cut of the sale, members have earned the entire amount. Congrats everyone!

On a related note, Colin is putting the finishing touches on a new audio store. Among the new features:

  • You can sell groups of tracks as albums.
  • Albums are sent as ZIP files for faster downloading and include album artwork and a playlist file (m3u)
  • Audio previews are higher quality, and they automatically pause your site-wide audio player when played
  • The "shopping cart" interface has been improved

We'll post more in the blog when it is released!

Posted by Chris on 01/16/2008 | 23 comments

New Zoogler on board

After four years at the help desk, support guru Keif is moving on to new projects. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.

Taking over is our new Zoogler Stacey. Starting next week, she'll be there to answer your questions, fix problems, and help make your site as effective as possible.

Welcome to the Bandzoogle community Stacey!

Posted by Chris on 01/12/2008 | 28 comments