"Captcha" Spam guard on your site

Rolling right along with more "most requested features" this week, we've just added spam protection to your website using "Captcha" images. Many members have complained about spam posts showing up in their forum, guestbook, blog, etc. Some members have even gotten up to 200 posts a day! These spam posts are automatically entered by computer programs called "spam bots". In order to make sure that your visitor is really a human and not a spam bot, they will now need to type in some text that appears in an image (called a "Captcha" image) before posting messages on your site. It's quick and easy for a human to do, but impossible for most spam bots. If your visitor is logged-in as a member of your site, they will not have to fill in any Captcha forms. If you have set site features as "members-only" or "posts must be verified" just to avoid spam, go ahead and open them back up! This measure should reduce 99-100% of the spam that you're receiving in your guestbook, forum, blog, etc. If some still gets through, let us know! We've set up our Captcha system to make images that are very easy to read. This makes the system less troublesome for your visitors, but also easier for very advanced spam bots to figure out. If you still get some spam we'll increase the settings on our Captcha generator. Enjoy!
Posted on 05/31/2006 | 14 comments

Pay-Per-Download Music Store added!

By tremendously popular request, we've added a Pay-Per-Download music store feature to Bandzoogle! This new feature lets you sell tracks and receive payments via PayPal with NO fees other than the standard PayPal charges. When one of your fans purchases a track on your site they are sent a unique link to your MP3 by email. They then have three days to download the file before their link is de-activated. You can also send free download links to promoters, E-team members, your mom, etc. You'll find this feature in your "Transaction History". Enough details, now how do you get set up? Well, it's integrated right into your existing "music" features. You'll notice a new section called "Pay-Per-Download tracks". Before you can add new tracks you'll have to test your PayPal account settings (we wouldn't want your fans to pay money to an account that doesn't work!). To test your PayPal settings you will make a quick $0.01 payment to your account. Once that payment clears (it should be intantaneous), you're ready to upload tracks! When you upload your tracks you can set the price to whatever you want and can also choose which portion of your track will be used as a preview clip. Once your tracks are uploaded, you add them to the "music" feature's "Tracks on this page" list right along with your regular downloadable tracks. That means that you could, for example, list all of the tracks on an album with two or three songs as free downloads and the rest for sale. By the way, we also gave a makeover to the upload and edit pages in both the "music" and "musicplayer" features. You can now use punctuation in your song titles! That means no more track titles like "Im yours youre mine". Feel free to edit your existing track names to take advantage of this. Enjoy and good sales to everyone!
Posted on 05/29/2006 | 96 comments

Getting Signed

This week I'd like to share an article with you written by Jimmy Landry. I spoke to Jimmy about his studio in New York, his new role with Virgin A&R, and artist development. He was kind enough to share the article below with me and would like to share it with all our members. Tips on Getting Signed Unfortunately for artists looking to get on a major label, the music industry has drastically changed in the last few years. In my opinion (which is one that encompasses both the artist side as well as the business side,) there are four main factors for this change. 1. Illegal downloading 2. File- sharing 3. The ability to burn music from CD to CD with no loss of quality. 4. The re-allocation of the consumer's expendable entertainment dollar. Ie. the purchase of a video game over a compact music disc. Labels have lost a big chunk of the demographic CD buying sector between the ages of 15 and 28 years old. What does this mean to artists? It means most major labels are in some trouble. They're in trouble because of the decline of record sales. It's basically a downward funnel: Loss of record sales> loss of money at the bottom line> make up for losses by lay-offs, budget cuts, less signings and signing only sure fire acts... ie. American Idol contestants with a jump start marketing campaign. What does this mean to artists? If you you are looking to get picked up by a major label you must really have something going on. It comes down to great songs. Everyone always complains about "crap" on the radio but there is a reason why it's on the radio. Labels are not stupid. Most people don't realize that all songs are put into test markets before the national radio campaign kicks in. This means that certain radio stations in certain "test markets" (Ohio is a big test market) test songs for labels without mentioning the artists name. There is a formula for the response and then that information is fed back to the label by the radio station. There is correlation between radio play and record sales. Sometimes radio singles that are played all the time on the radio do not translate into record sales. On the other hand some songs that are "hooky" or "catchy" (and sometimes real corny) are played only a few times on the radio and catch on fire fast in terms of record sales. The bottom line for artists is that the bar has been raised and the songs must be great no matter what genre. Must Have: 1. A great 3 song demo with 2 radio hits that could be remastered or remixed for commercial release. If the songs are exceptionally strong you may not need to have the demo commercially ready. On your demo you MUST put your strongest songs first. 2. A great live show. 3. Professional Representation. 4. A good presence for marketing and publicity. Very Helpful: A large local and/or regional following. Soundscan sales of 3,000 + units. Local radio airplay of 15+ spins/week. National press or publicity. Youth (especially in certain genres) The good news is that the time is right for the independent artist if it's done correctly. As a producer I travel all over the country to work with artists and I have a mobile Protools system that will work in any studio. I usually track drums and bass in a studio and then everything else outside the studio "off the clock" on my system. In most cases I will then bring all the tracks back to a studio to mix. With this method, the artist can concentrate on great vocal, guitar and keyboard performances without having to worry about studio time. I also have the capability of getting great mixes out of my work studio in Boston Massachusetts.
Posted by Keif on 05/26/2006 | 34 comments