Recap from the New Music Seminar NYC

Just got back from NYC and the New Music Seminar. It was crazy, exciting, and bubbling with the positive energy of thousands of musicians. Oh yeah, and very very very hot.

I met a ton of Bandzoogle members, and demo'd the system to hundreds more. We also had our first ever Bandzoogle team meetup! Some of us have been working together for years without ever seeing each other face to face. Dave even flew out from the UK. It was a great time.

Aside from all of that, I gave a talk about designing band websites, titled "Attract, Engage, Sell: How to make a band site that rocks". I condensed all my 15 years of experience into 18 minutes. It was my first stab at doing a long talk, and I think it went well!

All in all, it was a great experience. Some pics:

Not your typical conference venue

The booth, day one. Third bowl of candy.

The focus of our message at the seminar: how to make a great band website.

Myself, newest Zoogler David D. and Allison taking care of the booth.

Friendly neighbors Need merch printed? Best company around. They do an amazing job on all of Bandzoogle's printed material.

Packed house + broken A/C = Lots of sweat.

My talk: Attract, Engage, Sell -- how to make a band website that rocks.

Great example of a call to action on Adam Taylor's site.

Interesting/outspoken panel; Kelly Cutrone, Steve Van Zandt, Tom Jackson, Just Blaze

Bada Bing!

The first ever Bandzoogle team meetup!

Posted by Chris on 07/27/2010 | 15 comments

New automatic form protection

We've always protected data input areas like your Guestbook and Mail form from spam with a security word (called a Captcha):

Problem is, they are a bit of a pain for regular humans to read and type in. Worse, it can turn people off from posting in the form altogether. So, Brad just updated the system to detect bot-like activity and only show the captcha for those cases. This gives you both the security of having the captcha, but also the ease of use of just a simple form. Here's the same form when a human visits it:

We hope this helps make it easier for fans to contribute to your site!

Posted by Chris on 07/26/2010 | 11 comments

Bandzoogle members hit $2.5 million in sales!

Bandzooglers have hit a big milestone: $2.5 million in sales directly from their websites! Even more amazing, we were at $1 million only 14 months ago.

The best part? We don't take a cut of your sales (and never will!), so members pocketed this whole amount.

When I created Bandzoogle, my goal was to create a tool to help musicians succeed online. These sales numbers show me that we're evolving into a platform that does just that.

Congrats to all Bandzoogle members who have made this milestone possible. The whole team is proud of your success!

Posted by Chris on 07/15/2010 | 15 comments

Brand new mailing list with location-based targeting

Another big update, this time to the mailing list. Brad revamped it from top to bottom and added some powerful new features:

Automatic fan location
We now automatically find the location of your mailing list members when they click any link in your mailouts. This means that even with just an email address, you can find out where your fans are coming from! Even better, we've retroactively done this for all the members in your current list, so you'll notice cities listed for a lot of existing fans (if you've sent mailouts with links in the past).

Send by location
Now that you know where your fans are located, we figured you'd want to target your emails to specific areas. So, in the "targeting" step we've added the ability to send to fans around a specific zipcode (for example, all fans within 100 miles of zipcode 90210). This is great when you're announcing tour dates but don't want far-away fans to get those emails.

A whole new look
Finally, the interface in the control panel has been completely revamped, making it faster and much easier to use.

With this update to the mailing list, the new site traffic system, and last week's "email for a track" option, you now have both powerful incentives to grow your fanbase, and also detailed data on who those fans are when they sign up. In an upcoming blog post, I'll give you some tips to take maximum advantage of these features!

Posted by Chris on 07/08/2010 | 13 comments

Huge update to the Album & Store features!

We just posted a huge update to the Album and Store features based on your ideas in the Bandzoogle community. The new features are: (Drum roll....)

"Require email address" option for downloads
This is great way to build up your mailing list. With this feature you can ask your fans to enter a valid email address before they can download your free tracks and albums. Fans instantly get a download link by email, and they're automatically added to your mailing list.

Album-only downloads
Set a track to be downloadable as a single, or restrict it to only be downloaded as part of an album.

Preview-only tracks (Discography mode)
If you want to list the contents of your albums but not have all of your tracks available for download or sale, now you can do that too! This makes the Album feature work great for a discography page where you just have tracks playable but not downloadable.

Lossless files
You can now sell CD-quality WAV files in your album store! This is something many of our beat producer members have been asking for. Like MP3s, we automatically make streaming previews with a fade in/out for your WAV files.

Upload your own preview clip
Our automatically-generated preview clips are handy, but now when you need even more control you can just upload your own. This is handy if you want to preview the entire track but add an audio tag for protection.

An easier to use album control panel
We've also done a big cleanup of the Album feature's control panel interface to make managing your music even smoother and easier than before.

Bigger store images & a cleaner look
Nick revised the look of the Album feature, the Store feature and the shopping cart. Their sizing and positioning match better, so they look seamless if they are on the same page. We've also increased the size of the store images to highlight your products.

Automatic detection of visitor location in the checkout
The cart will automatically find your visitor's location and pre-select "international shipping" if they are not in your home country.

Automatic mailing list signup for purchasers
When your fans make a purchase from your store, they are now automatically subscribed to your mailing list (they can choose to opt-out in the cart).

Hope you enjoy these new features, and "Happy Independence Day" to all our American friends!

Posted by Chris on 07/02/2010 | 62 comments