E-Team / Members Upgrades

We've just rolled out some improvements to the members and E-Team features on your websites:
  1. You'll notice that the E-Team feature is now available to be added to your pages. This is a complete rewrite of what was there before, and it now integrates seamlessly with your existing mailing list and site members.
  2. To accomodate these changes, the "View Members" screen has been updated to allow you to more easily organize your members based on their "type" (Site member, E-Team member, or Mailing list member).
  3. You may notice some flashy new error messages when you make a mistake when filling out a form. These new messages are currently used in some parts of your control panel and your site, but soon will soon be used throughout Bandzoogle.
As always, let us know what you think, and how you feel these features could be better suited to your needs.
Posted on 11/30/2005 | 5 comments

Hardware upgrades

All Bandzoogle control panels will be unavailable for a short amount of time (less than 30 minutes) this morning (Monday, November 28th) at around 9:00AM CST as we'll be upgrading the security hardware on one of our servers. Your websites will still be available during this time.

Thanks for your understanding!
Posted on 11/28/2005 | 10 comments

Playing music festivals

I good friend of mine recently had a dilema. The deadline for a music festival was coming up, but he didn't have a demo to submit. He wanted to rush into the studio and record something really quick. Problem was that he didn't have the money to book studio time and he was getting very frustrated at the fact that he'd be missing out on this opportunity.

Having participated in these festivals with Chris, I tried to explain to my friend that it was not the end of the world. Then I got to thinking that you guys could benefit from the same advise.

First let me start by saying that if you do not get chosen to play in the festival, do not let it get the best of you and, not for a second, think that you're not good enough to continue playing music. My band has been both selected and refused to play at the same festival during different stages of the band's life span so go figure.

If you do get selected, do not let it get to your head either. While it might sound like an opportunity of a lifetime do not forget that there are hundreds of other bands playing on the same night you are, but in different venues across the city. Venues are not always all close together. Industry execs can only be in one place at a time. And while some execs will go to these festivals with the intention of trying to find the next big thing, many are influenced by hype and follow buzz bands just for the sake of being where everybody else is going to be. This is called smoozing.

In most cases what these festivals are good for is for the possible chance that the A&R people who you've been shopping your demo to (and that have express an interest in your band) are going to be there and now's your chance to finally meet them in person and potentially play for them. This is what we call a showcase. The interest from people towards your band is called buzz and you'll need a lot of it. Buzz is key. If you haven't generated any buzz up to the point of your band playing in the festival, then there's almost no point in playing.

A great example of generating buzz is Sum 41. Before getting signed they filmed a short EPK (electronic press kit) that they shopped before getting signed to Island/Def Jam. While I don't want to get into the details of the EPK, let me just say that my stomach was hurting from laughter after having seen it. They clearly got my attention and I'm happy to say that they are doing just fine a s a result of it.

Most bands set up showcases outside of the festival scene. You might here a few success stories here and there, but overall, most discoveries and record deals are unrelated to these festivals. You'll here a lot of festivals claim that such and such artist played at their festival. While this is true, it doesn't mean that they got signed during the festival or as a direct result of having participated in them. So if you think the only chances of ever getting signed is by attending and playing at these festivals, then it's time you checked back to reality.

This is not to say that these festivals are a complete waste of time, but in my opinion, they are partly set up to make money. Here's a fact - Thousands of bands submit their demos for $55 dollars, but guess what? Only a few hundred get selected. Someone's racking in the dough and it ain't you. It only takes a few seconds to judge whether or not a band is worthy of playing at the festival. Can I get that job?

Don't get me wrong. Chris and I have had plenty of fun attending and playing at festivals like CMW. In fact, many of the details are a little blurry to us. That's got to be an indication that we had a good time.

And as much as I know the harsh realities of the festival scene, I would still take my chances and submit my music even if it did cost me $55.

But as with most bands, money is an issue. Select the festivals you want to enter carefully. Remember, there are other things to consider. How will your band get out to the festival? Where will you stay? Who do you know that's going to be there? What venue are you playing at? If you've been selected to play some crappy bar out in the middle of nowhere, then it's not worth your time. But generally speaking I would play any opportunity I got whether it be a battle of the bands, a charity gig, a basement party or a music festival.

FYI, the music festival in question was Canadian Music Week and they are still accepting submissions from international bands. While the Canadian deadline has already passed, bands outside of Canada have until November 30th 2005 to submit themselves.

Like many other music festivals, Canadian Music Week was set up in an attempt to pull people within the Canadian music industry together. CMW is a once-in-a-year opportunity to get your band in the face of over 3000 movers and shakers in the industry. You could be among some of the hottest new independent bands that will hit Toronto.


Please Note: The views expressed in this blog post are that of myself and probably thousands of other musicians out there. Please take it with a grain of salt.

Posted by Keif on 11/23/2005 | 13 comments

security update

Don't let anyone tell you running a .COM company is easy.

As you may have noticed, we received an "attack" by an outside source whose goal was to disable our servers.  Not sure why.  Some people have too much time on their hands.  Needless to say, we will be exploring our legal options and they will be contacted soon.

It was a good learning experience.  Since our inception 2 years ago, we haven't had to deal with direct attacks like this.  We will be much better prepared in the future.

We have already purchased and installed some powerful hardware firewalls that will stop attacks like these in their tracks.  We will also be thoroughly revising our security, source code, and policies to make sure our servers are as stable as possible.

Thanks again for your support through this little speed bump.  As the saying goes, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger!
Posted by Chris on 11/18/2005 | 14 comments

Site address change

In order to improve security, we've recently done some re-organizing on our servers. As part of this, we've taken the opportunity to improve the way that your Bandzoogle web addresses work.

Currently, if you do not already have a domain name registered for your Bandzoogle account, your site either has an address like http://www.bandzoogle.com/users/bandname/

Your new address is http://users.bandzoogle.com/bandname/.

Your old address will continue to work just fine--your fans will be re-directed to your new address automatically.

If you already have a domain name set up, this change shouldn't affect you at all.

Posted on 11/17/2005 | 6 comments

server security issue

We are experiencing some server issues at the moment.  These should only affect the control panel and trial users.  We will post again when more is known.  Thanks for your patience. 
Posted by Chris on 11/16/2005 | 10 comments

Bandzoogle community ideas

 I'm starting work on revamping the community tab of the control panel.  I would like to make it a place where bands can hook up with other bands from their local scene or around the world.  Networking with other bands is a great way to open the doors to new fans, especially in other cities.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for features for the community, please share them here!

Posted by Chris on 11/16/2005 | 12 comments

The future of radio

My MP3 collection has been replaced by http://www.pandora.com.  It's an online radio station that helps you discover new music.  Tell it a song or artist you like and it will continuously play songs that are a similar style or genre.  Its pretty in depth, analysing music right down to chord structure, harmonization and instrumentation.  The interface is really slick, and best of all its free.

Pandora is great because they play artists on indie labels right alongside big name acts.  Getting artists on the radio is one of the hardest things for an indie label.  This really levels the playing field.  With Pandora, the music stands on its own merits. 

My favorite: the "Fountains of Wayne" channel...
Posted by Chris on 11/11/2005 | 8 comments

Bandzoogle members AM Glory, opening for Hanson tonight!

Our support goes out to AM Glory who have won the chance to open up for Hanson (known for their *clears throat* hit Mmm Bop)tonight at the Kool Haus in Toronto, ONT. The band was hand picked by Hanson from thousands of bands that submitted their demos.
Posted by Keif on 11/10/2005 | 6 comments

New template added!

Posted by Keif on 11/09/2005 | 14 comments