Warm Holiday Wishes from the Bandzoogle Team

As 2010 comes to a close the Bandzoogle team would like to take this moment to THANK all of you wonderful Bandzoogle members. We wish you the very best holiday season and a festive New Year! If you notice a few silent nights (and days) from the Bandzoogle staff don’t worry…. all is calm, all is bright. We are just taking a few days to re-coop during the holidays so we can provide spectacular support in the New Year. From December 24th – 28th we will be available by email for urgent issues only. Full support will resume again on the 29th-30th, and then limited support again for December 31st – January 2nd. By January 3rd we will be back in full swing ready to rock-n-roll (or rap, or country jamboree…). Happy Holidays!!

Posted by Allison on 12/23/2010 | 10 comments

CONTEST ALERT - New Year's Resolutions

CONTEST ALERT!! The New Year is fast approaching and we’d like to know what goals you have for your band or solo project. What will you do in 2011 to boost your music career? Let us know on Bandzoogle's FACEBOOK page. Please include a festive holiday image in your post. Next week we will randomly choose two lucky winners to receive ONE MONTH FREE!!

Posted by Allison on 12/22/2010 | 6 comments

3 Great Holiday Reads for Musicians

Looking for some last-minute gifts for the musicians in your lives? Or maybe you're in need a good read to curl up with after the holiday feast. Here are three inspirational books I've read this year:

Crush it by Gary Vaynerchuk

If you need inspiration to take your music career to the next level, this book is for you. It is all about following your dreams, "going for it", and building your personal brand. Gary is an expert; in just a few years he has re-written the rules of wine reviewing on his blog winelibrarytv.com, created thousands of dedicated fans, and grown a multi-million dollar business in the process. His passion is infectious, and he shares his secrets while also forcing you to think about what drives you, and how you can accomplish your goals while having fun at the same time.

Linchpin by Seth Godin

Godin is a master of writing short but profound books and blog posts. In Linchpin, he argues that success on any level depends on being "remarkable", something unique that cannot be replaced. Though he usually targets the business crowd, Linchpin talks a lot about the uniqueness of artists and their work. It will make you think not only of how you can make your music stand out, but every aspect of your career; for example, what can you do to make your next concert an amazing experience that people will talk about? Though a lot of the book rehashes ideas from his blog, I found the book as a whole was cohesive and worth the investment.

Life by Keith Richards

Some parts of Richard's autobiography are exactly what you'd expect - crazy rock-band stories of excess (sex, drugs, trashing your hotel room). But there is also great advice on the writing process, coming up with a unique sound, and enduring through the hard times. Keith Richards has seen it all, and gives us a backstage view of his wild ride.

What books are on your radar this Christmas?

Posted by Chris on 12/22/2010 | 5 comments

New Rock Stars, Treadmill Videos, Giving Away Your Music, Selling Koozies

The Wall Street Journal today published an article written by Damian Kulash Jr. (from the Youtube superstar rock band OK Go). The article is titled "The New Rock-Stars Paradigm" and it is definitely a must-read for any musician building a career, or thinking of making a career of being an artist. In the article, Damian does a great job of explaining how his own band was able to gain success outside of the old music industry model of "selling recordings of music" and how online metrics have become much more important than record sales in measuring their success. In their case, this convinces corporate sponsors to invest in that success, and enables them to earn a very good living from their music. He makes the point that "Music is getting harder to define again. It's becoming more of an experience and less of an object." To illustrate this, he tells the story of long-time Bandzoogler Corey Smith

Georgia singer/songwriter Corey Smith has never had a traditional record contract, but in 2008 he grossed about $4 million from touring, merchandise and other revenue, yielding roughly $2 million that was reinvested in the singer's business, according to his manager, Marty Winsch. Mr. Smith makes his recordings downloadable at no cost from his website, and Mr. Winsch emphasizes that they are promotion for his live shows, not the other way around. "We don't look at it as 'free,' " he says. "When people come to the website and download the music, they're giving us their time, their most valuable commodity." Recently, Mr. Smith entered a partnership with a small music company, but unlike a traditional label deal, the arrangement will give him 50% of any net revenue.

"They're giving us their time, their most valuable commodity."

To me this the most important thing that we need to understand and accept, in order to understand the new "music industry".  It has become an attention economy.  OK Go and Corey Smith are not in the business of selling records or mp3s, they are in the business of grabbing attention. Technology has made it so that music fans (and consumers) today have access to almost unlimited music, at all time, at a very low cost, or completely free.  They used to vote with their wallets, a the Tower Records cash register. Today they have access to all that music, but they still have only 2 ears per person (unless very unlucky) and a maximum of 1,440 precious minutes per day, a fraction of which they may or may not allocate to actively listen to music.  Those minutes have become the valuable and scarce commodity.  More and more, fans now vote with their attention... which can be measured in many ways; iTunes play count, videos watched on Youtube, the online radios they stream.  They also vote with how they'll endorse and promote the music they like; Facebook "likes", Tweets and follows, sending a Youtube link to a friend, etc.

... And, yes, ultimately they'll vote with their wallets, too.  Some still do it at a cash registers (iTunes' register, in most cases... or, even better, your Bandzoogle storefront check-out... eh, better margins !).  But ultimately, fans now want to buy the "experience, and an emotional connection with the band". 

But what is that, an experience that fans will want to pay for ? And can you create an emotional connection they'll want to buy into ? It depends, and it will probably vary for each artist (and many will fail to find ways to make it happen).  In Corey Smith's case, giving away his recordings of excellent music made people interested in experiencing the live show. And that worked so well that these shows kept getting bigger and lucrative and helped create an emotional engagement between Corey and a large number of his fans.  And now, they can get a "free koozie, poster and sticker with any purchase of $30 or more" on coreysmith.com. And many folks will, I'm sure, get that koozie. Why ? Because the koozie is part of the "Corey Smith experience". It's an artefact, a souvenir of musical attention well spent for these fans, and a statement that they support an artist that they love and respect.  Because they feel the respect is mutual, and because Corey started by giving, before he started taking.

So, what are the experiences you want to create for your fans ? How are you engaging them emotionally ? And... what's your version of Corey's koozie ?

Posted by David Dufresne on 12/17/2010 | 5 comments

How-to: Get Your Music on Pandora !

The majority of our U.S. based Bandzooglers are probably familiar with Pandora, the leading online streaming radio, also super popular on iPhones and other mobile devices. For music fans, Pandora is a great way to discover new music, building personalized "stations" based on artists you already love.  So in theory, for independent artists looking to reach new listeners, Pandora should be a great way to promote your music, right ?  But how should one go about getting their music up there in the first place ? Well luckily for us, Bandzoogler (and Blogging Challenger) Jennifer Grassman recently wrote a post giving step-by-step instructions on how to make that happen.  After we saw in the Community Forums, we politely asked if we could re-post it here for our visitors and for anyone who had missed it, and she gracefully accepted. Check out her blog for more advice and general awesomeness.

By special request from one of my musician friends, I decided to write a blog about how to get your music aired on Pandora Radio (www.Pandora.com).

I just went through the steps myself when submitting Serpent Tales & Nightingales, so I took some screencaps to illustrate the process. 

PREREQUISITE: One thing that should be noted before you proceed to upload your music onto Pandora, is that in order for Pandora to display a cover image of your album in its player, it needs to be able to grab the image off Amazon.com.  So, if your physical album is not available for sale on Amazon.com, Pandora may ask you to make it available there prior to accepting your music.  How do you get your album sold on Amazon?  Simple. Sell it through CDBaby (or other distributors like Tunecore, just make sure they will make it available as a CD in Amazon' U.S. store). They'll take care of the rest. It's $35 per album, and CDBaby will distribute your music all over the world through their main website, iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, and of course, Amazon (among many others). I can personally vouch for their services, as I sell all my albums through CDBaby and have never had any complaints (and I must say, it feels like my birthday every time a surprise payment for downloads or CD sales pops into my bank account!).

WARNING: The songs / albums you submit to Pandora must be high quality, professionally produced, mixed and mastered. Otherwise, they will be rejected ... and I'm not certain ... but submitted low-grade material could potentially make Pandora less likely to take your submissions seriously in the future - even if they're great!  So be careful, and only submit your very best.  DO NOT SUBMIT ANY ARTIST'S MUSIC FOR THEM ON THEIR BEHALF. NICE THOUGHT, BUT ILLEGAL!

You can click on the screencaps to enlarge them in a new window.

1. Go to http://submitmusic.pandora.com/.  You'll see the page depicted below. Click "Continue."

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2. Sign in to your Pandora account, or create one. Click "Continue"

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3. Enter your UPC Code. You'll find it in the Bar Code area on your album. Enter ALL the numbers - BIG and small. Click "Check UPC"

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4. Double check your Artist name and Album title are correct. Select 2 tracks for review. I recommend submitted your most "radio ready" songs, or the songs fans seem to like the most right off the bat.  Your songs should be high quality, professionally produced, mixed and mastered tracks. Poorly produced songs or low quality tracks will be rejected by Pandora.  On this page, you'll be able to select an MP3 file off your computer. Make sure they're good quality MP3s ... and they match the song title you just selected!

 Click for larger image.

5. Scroll down and enter any Optional Information you want Pandora to consider when reviewing your music. Maybe some similar sounding artists would be helpful!

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6. Scroll down to review Pandora's contract with you. Check the square that confirms, "I do have the legal rights and permissions to submit this album and it's tracks to Pandora ..." Click "Upload to Pandora"

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7. Confirmation! If you're seeing this page, you've just successfully submitted your tracks to Pandora for review:

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8. If you click "status page" you will be taken to the following page, where you can review your submission, and cancel it if needed.

 Click for larger image.

9. You'll have to wait several weeks to months to hear back from Pandora.  If your music is accepted, you'll receive instructions on how to mail them your full album.

And that, as they say, is that.

Good luck!


Posted by David Dufresne on 12/02/2010 | 27 comments

Bandzoogle at the SF MusicTech Summit

Hey Bandzooglers, just a quick note to tell you all that Chris and I will be attending the SF MusicTech Summit in San Francisco next Monday (Dec. 6th).  The Summit is a full and busy day of panels and conferences, attended by pretty much every tech company involved with anything related to music.  Lots of schmoozing,  and partnerships get discussed in the hallways... One of the panels will star none other than the knowledgeable and always articulate Chris Vinson. The topic is "Engaging Your Community", so you can be sure that Chris will talk about how so many of our members do a great job at leveraging their website in order to create connections and communicate with their fans.

The whole schedule is here. The event is also going to be very informative and entertaining for the musicians that will attend, so if you happen to be in the Bay Area that day and would like to register, do it here and use "Bandzoogle" as discount code to get 20% off ticket price (act quick, the early bird special ends today - Tuesday).  If you do make it there, make sure you track us down and come say hi.

Alternatively, follow our tweets, we'll try keep you updated on all the controversies and gossip.
Posted by David Dufresne on 11/30/2010 | 0 comments