Musician Website Love: Jenie Thai

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.

Who: Jenie Thai
What: Singer, Songwriter
Where: Fort Saskatchewan, AB, CA
Why her website rocks: When you first hit Jenie Thai’s Homepage, you immediately see a simple, but beautifully branded custom site with a strong header image. Her website is also well-organized, making it easy for visitors to find the info they’re looking for. But maybe our favorite element of her site is the custom mailbox image on her Contact page. It’s another nice little touch that makes her website unique!

Check it out at:

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/28/2012 | 9 comments

The musician’s podcasting checklist

Podcasting is another great way to engage fans. In addition to being a viable way to disseminate information on projects and upcoming performances, adding your voice to this communication can instill a personal connection that listeners will appreciate. As musicians using the Bandzoogle platform, you will likely already have access to all of the tools you need to record, produce, and distribute the podcast. Here is a checklist to help you get started:

Image ©
Graham Stanley (cc).

1. Structure When planning your first podcast, it is important to consider the format itself and its conventions. While anything goes, you may want to structure your early episodes like a classic radio show. This will entail producing a simple three part structure. In the opening few minutes, you can introduce the show, the episode number, the day’s topics, and the panel on the show if you have one. If fans have written in with comments, this is also great time to address them. You can then use the middle of the show to expand on the topics outlined in the introduction as well as present regular segments if you have planned them. Naturally, the conclusion will follow. Having wrapped up the conversation, this is a good time to mention your website, contact information, and provide a brief preview of what is to come in the next episode.

2. Transitions
Musically speaking, you can set the tone of the show with a theme song that both opens and closes the show. Many podcasters even add a comedic segment at the beginning of the show that segues into the main theme. You might also compose a few interludes to connect the various segments and topics.

3. Equipment and Software You can actually achieve a lot with just a few free basic tools. In terms of software, both the included Garageband on the Mac and the open source software Audacity on the PC, provide easy options for recording. If you want to have a multi-city panel on the show, you can also use Skype’s conference call feature. While the internal microphone on most computers will function well for recording your voice, you might consider looking into a simple USB microphone. Blue microphones provides a reasonable yet solid option with its Snowflake microphone.

4. Style On the subject of style, your podcast does not need to be too formal. The expectations for radio broadcasting are not as strict when it comes to podcasting. A conversational style with a few bloopers can be quite endearing and will induce a real sense in the listener that they are there with you. If you do want to make a scripted announcement though, you might try rehearsing it once or twice before hand, marking in pauses, points of emphasis, and phrasing.

5. Distribution Bandzoogle offers the easy incorporation of a podcast via the blog feature. For this you can consult the step-by-step help article here:

Subsequently, you can also expand the podcast’s reach by adding it to the iTunes catalog and by using Feedburner. Both Apple and Google offer great instructions:

Examples If you are looking for further inspiration you may want to check out some of the more popular podcasts in the iTunes catalog. The top slots in the music category are largely dominated by DJs like Tiesto who use the platform to broadcast their latest club mixes. A few radio formatted shows rank highly as well:

Tiesto’s Club Life

NPR’s All Songs Considered
Sound Opinions
Music Business Radio

Two of my personal favorites are Operanow, a regular show documenting news in the operatic field, and the always stimulating This American Life.

Do you have any podcast favorites or segment ideas? How about favorite podcasting equipment & software? Let us know in the comments!
Posted by Dave English on 09/26/2012 | 2 comments

Next Stops on the Bandzoogle Tour: Atlanta and San Francisco!

Our CEO David Dufresne is headed back to Nashville this week for the International Bluegrass Music Association Business Conference, and then New Orleans for the Cutting Edge Music Business Conference. But after a quick break back home, David will be on the road again with stops in Atlanta and San Francisco:

Driven Music Conference: October 5-7 in Atlanta

David will be in Atlanta for the Driven Music Conference. Here are the details on where you can catch him:

Bandzoogle Presents: Website Demolition Derby
Saturday, October 6

Live critiques of band websites. Reviews will be ruthless and leave all diplomacy aside. The site's design, organization, content and functionality will be reviewed. To make sure your site is reviewed, send it to: david[at]

Featuring: David Dufresne (Bandzoogle), Lou Plaia (Reverbnation) and Dez Dickerson (original Prince guitarist, Pavilion Entertainment).

Bandzoogle Presents: 1-On-1 Website Reviews
Saturday, October 6,

Open to all artists. To schedule an appointment with David, contact the conference directly.

SF MusicTech: October 9 in San Francisco

From Atlanta, David heads straight to Northern California to speak at the SF MusicTech in San Francisco.

The SF MusicTech Summit is a 1 Day Music/Technology Conference and Marketplace that brings together visionaries in the music/technology space, along with the best and brightest developers, entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, journalists, musicians and organizations who work with them at the convergence of culture and commerce.

David will be speaking on a panel, although details are TBD. Check the conference schedule for updates.

Also no word if David will be wearing flowers in his hair.

So if you’ll be in these cities for these conferences, be sure to go see David at one of his panels and say hello!

Stay tuned to our blog as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages for more updates about our Fall Tour. Upcoming stops include OCFF in Mississauga, CMJ in NYC, MaMA in France, and more...

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/25/2012 | 2 comments

Great Musician or Working Musician: Does one follow the other?

This blog post by Peter Spellman originally appeared on his blog "Music Career Juice". Peter is the Director of Career Development at Berklee College of Music, and the author of several books about the music industry including "The Self-Promoting Musician" and "Indie Business Power".

Great Musician / Working Musician

Each fall and spring I have the privilege of speaking to Berklee’s entering class about how to navigate a successful music career. Here’s how I usually begin my talk:

Who here wants to be a great musician?

Who here wants to be a working musician?

Does one necessarily follow the other?

If only great musicianship guaranteed career success! The questions, of course, are designed to get these young musicians thinking about how they can turn their musical passions into sustainable careers.

But you know the answer.

Great musicianship will not necessarily result in a sustainable music career. Great musicianship must be combined with additional ingredients that may at times seem far afield from core musical passions. But are they really so far afield?

Why does one musician succeed while another struggles? From where I sit, here are some reasons favoring music career success:

  • A keen understanding of the marketplace & a strong ability to communicate and engage with it. When you boil all marketing tools and tactics down to their essence, what you have is communication. Marketing is essentially communicating so well with your audience they want to know more about you. Even artists who don’t seem to give a hoot about “working the market” often have associates who are constantly scanning the landscape for touch points that will work for the artist’s career.
  • Abundant self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is important so that you don’t create any illusions for yourself. It assumes you have put yourself through a review – what’s worked so far in your life, what you can do without, where your passions really lie. Self-knowledge is knowing who you are and what you want to do with your life, and this means committing to goals – defining them, planning them, knowing that with enough planning and dedication and hard work, you’ll meet your goals.
  • The right combination of integrity and cooperation (knowing when to say no and when to say yes). Integrity means internal consistency based on decided values. Artists inevitably encounter opportunities or relationship that pull at their integrity. All partners in successful relationships know how to compromise when negotiating each other’s needs. They fully expect to give up some things and strive for fairness in those decisions. There is an art to negotiating the balance between these two things and those who can will grow their career assets more quickly than those who can’t (or won’t).
  • Willingness of others to work with you (based on track record, industry reputation, personality, quality of the opportunity). Do you know what others think of you? How they would describe you? A reputation is built inch by inch over years. Each act of generosity and kindness will sow seeds towards a future harvest. In truth, it doesn’t matter how hard you work on managing your reputation, it will only ever be as solid as your actual character. Good character acts like a magnet. People are drawn to it. If you’re seen as a dreamer with little regard for clocks and calendars you’ll probably limit your musical associations; if, on the other hand, you’re seen as a clear-headed professional who shows respect to others and others’ time, you’ll magnetize the same to you.
  • An ability to raise necessary resources and support. This goes with the previous. The community of cohorts that grows around you becomes your network of support: support for ideas, for short-term projects, for creative alliances, and for long-term profit too. Forging creative alliances is key to building a multi-dimensional music career. Teaming up can multiply your efforts and move your career in an upward trajectory. Teams share the burden and divide the grief.

The “working” part of the phrase, “working musician” should always be broadly defined. Especially in the early stages, a career musician will wear a number of hats. You might be a Performer-Writer-Teacher, or an Arranger-Mixer-Editor, or, more likely, a Singer-AdminAssistant-Barista or Producer-Babysitter-Sales Associate. That’s appropriate; all of us have done it.

Musicians are often slow starters but good finishers if they stick to their knitting. Nurture these five qualities and you’ll go a long way towards thriving career success.

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/24/2012 | 1 comment

Musician website love: Valorie Miller

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.

Who: Valorie Miller
What: Singer, Songwriter
Where: Sheville, North Carolina
Why her website rocks: There is too much to say about this site! Visually stunning, and extremely well layed out, and INTERESTING.  Valorie's site contains more media than text, filtering out all the jargon to showcase what is needed to make a good impression on visitors to her site. Solid testimonials, awards, impressive bio, she has it all. Valorie's site is also great example of how much flexibility the Bandzoogle custom website builder offers. 
Check it out at:

Posted by Stacey on 09/21/2012 | 6 comments

Bandzoogle Fall Tour Continues: Back to Nashville, then off to New Orleans!

After successful (and fun!) trips to the Americana Music Conference in Nashville and the San Diego Music Thing, our Fall Tour continues with a trip back to Nashville, then a visit to New Orleans:

IBMA Business Conference: September 24-27 in Nashville

Our CEO David Dufresne is headed back to Nashville for more Southern hospitality, great live music, incredible ribs and fried chicken, oh, and he’ll be speaking at the International Bluegrass Music Association Business Conference too. Here are the details of his panel:

Promoting Your Bluegrass in Virtual Music Communities

Wednesday, September 26
1:30-3:00 PM

Moderator: Henri Deschamps (Bluegrass Legacy)

David Dufresne (Bandzoogle)
Craig Havighurst (Bluegrass Nation)
John Lawless (Bluegrass Today)
Brian McNeal (Prescription Bluegrass)

Description: If you’ve been struggling to get tangible results from promoting your music on the many different virtual music communities and promotional sites, you won’t want to miss this session! Learn to harness a variety of online media – writing, sound, audio, video, and photography – to promote your bluegrass, and how to make things happen with little or no money.

Bandzoogle is also happy to sponsor the new website from IBMA,, which will serve as a community and a platform for news, information sharing, promotion, education and all kinds of media relevant to the bluegrass world. Watch for its launch soon!

Cutting Edge Music Business Conference: September 26-30 in New Orleans

Straight from Nashville, our jet-setting CEO heads to New Orleans for the Cutting Edge Music Business Conference.

But David won’t have too much time to stuff his face with gumbo and po-boys (those are sandwiches people!) as he’ll be very busy while visiting the birthplace of jazz. You can catch David several times during the conference, here are all the details:

Social Media Marketing: Let’s Get Social
September 27, 3:30 – 4:45PM

This panel will discuss various social media platforms to promote music, best practices on Facebook, Twitter, growing your mailing list, different ways to help monetize social media and more.

Website Demolition Panel
September 29, 2:00 – 3:15M

This panel will offer live reviews of audience members’ websites.

Website Clinic
September 29, 3:30 - 5:00

One-on-one website reviews and consultation on musicians’ online strategy.

Fun Fact:

Bandzoogle is based in Montreal, Quebec, and both the New Orleans and Quebec flags share a common symbol: the fleur-de-lys. The fleur-de-lys is most often associated with the French monarchy (Or with the New Orleans Saints’ logo, really).

So if you’ll be in Nashville or New Orleans for these conferences, be sure to go see David at one of his panels or clinics. Like usual he’ll probably have some free t-shirts for members, so hit him up for one of those, and if it’s after 5PM, ask him to buy you a drink, he likely won’t refuse.

Stay tuned to our blog as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages for more updates about our Fall Tour. Some upcoming stops include Driven Music Conference in Atlanta, the San Francisco MusicTech Summit, OCFF in Mississauga, CMJ in NYC, and more...

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/18/2012 | 3 comments

Top 10 iPhone Apps for Musicians

It is increasingly rare to find someone who isn’t attached to a smartphone at the hip. Especially musicians. We love our gadgets! Aside from the addictive ability to check your email any time, browse the web, and play Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies, your smartphone also has a plethora of music making apps available. My addiction of choice is the iPhone, so I’m going to be covering the top 10 iPhone apps for musicians (sorry, Android users - feel free to chime in below with your picks). So, without further ado, here we go!

  1. Garageband (iPhone/iPad)
    What can be said about Garageband that hasn’t been said before? Available on Mac for ages, it is now available in the App Store (and downloading it nets you copies for any iOS device you own, including the iPad). Garageband is like a mini recording studio in your pocket. It allows you to record up to 8 different tracks per song, has some pretty excellent pre-recorded instruments, and also allows you to record your own audio directly using the iPhone’s decent mic. You can set reverb, echo, and volume for each track, and if you’re feeling silly, you can add some fun effects like “monster” and “robot”. Garageband is perfect for recording a quick demo to give out to the band when you’re trying out a new song, or even to just hear your own sound on a recording.

  2. Songwriter’s Pad (iPhone/iPad/Android)
    Songwriter’s Pad is a great on-the-go lyric writing tool, and it can also help you overcome any pesky writer’s block you might encounter. Along with a tool to write your lyrics and record your ideas on audio, Songwriter’s Pad has a suite of features to help inspire your writing. Have an emotion you’re trying to convey, but having a hard time putting it down in words? Use the Idea tool to input the emotion, and generate a host of words and phrases associated with it. It also has a rhyming dictionary, so if you’re having a tough time finding that perfect rhyme, you can just input your word, and the app will generate a bunch of suggestions for you. And it’s available on Android as well!

  3. ProChords (iPhone/iPad)
    ProChords is an excellent tool for when you’re sitting down to write a new song. Once you set the key you’re writing in and input your first chord, ProChords will display suggestions of possible chords you could follow with, along with star ratings for each chord. As you write your progression, the suggestions will continue to evolve and change. For musicians with a deep background in theory, this app may be unnecessary, but for someone like me it saves a lot of that initial time spent plunking around on the keyboard. The cost is a bit steep at $8.99, but I’ve found it to be worth every penny (and if you have an iPad, you don’t have to pay twice for the app - it will be available on both your devices).

  4. Cleartune - Chromatic Tuner (iPhone/iPad)
    This app’s title says it all. At $3.99, it is probably the cheapest tuner you will ever buy, and it is highly rated on the App Store. It includes both a chromatic tuner and a pitch pipe, and multiple display options. Since you likely already have your iPhone with you at your gig, you might as well use it to tune your instrument as well.

  5. iReal b (iPhone/iPad/Android)
    Think of iReal b like a fake book in your pocket. Using their forum, you can search for chord charts for 1,000s of songs by category. In addition, you can transpose the charts right on your phone, loop sections of the song, and export the charts to PDF or JPEG so you can print them out.

  6. Nanostudio (iPhone/iPad)
    Nanostudio is a comprehensive recording studio for your mobile device. Music tech geeks will probably go crazy over this one - a sequencer, sample trigger pads, and advanced mixing tools give you a lot of options in this pocket studio. You can also export your mixes directly to Soundcloud, which is pretty cool. For someone like me, Garageband is a better fit because of its simplicity, but if you have a little more knowledge and confidence around a soundboard, this will probably be a great app for you.

  7. Shazam (iPhone)
    Just heard a song on the radio and desperately want to cover it, but have no idea who wrote it, who’s performing it, or how to find out? Shazam has you covered. Using your microphone, Shazam will listen to the song and then search its database for all the information you need about the song. Isn’t technology amazing?

  8. Instagram/Facebook/Twitter (iPhone/iPad/Android)
    This one might seem a bit out of left field, but instagram is a pretty superb way to connect with your fans on a personal level. You can also set it up so it automatically posts your photos and captions to both Twitter and Facebook. Take some pictures of the band practicing, or of the crowd at your next concert, and start getting some followers on instagram! Twitter and Facebook aren’t specifically for musicians either, but they are both incredibly important tools for connecting with your fans. Both apps are free, easy to use, and allow you to post live about upcoming gigs or projects from wherever you are. So get those thumbs moving!

  9. Yelp (iPhone/iPad/Android)
    If you are on tour, Yelp is a pretty fantastic tool to find cheap places to eat and sleep. It can use the current location of your phone to search for hotels, restaurants, and pretty much any store you might need to find. It also comes with comprehensive user reviews to help you determine how divey a place really is.

  10. Reminders (iPhone/iPad)Seriously, Reminders is a life saving app for me. Now, every time I’m on the go and suddenly remember I need to follow up on a potential gig, instead of trying to remember to call when I have a chance and then certainly forgetting to do so, I quickly pop the reminder into my phone. I’m also pretty bad at forgetting important things at home, so setting a reminder to go off right before a gig with a list of all the gear I need to bring is super helpful.

Well, that rounds out my favourite music apps for the iPhone. What about you? Do you have any apps you can’t live without? Share in the comments below!

Posted by Justin on 09/12/2012 | 14 comments

Hub & Spokes: The Key to Driving Fans to Your Band Website

In a previous post here on Bandzoogle we talked about the importance of driving fans to your website. In this post, we’ll go over the “Hub & Spokes” analogy and method to help drive traffic to your site using your social media profiles, and some of the best ways you can use content to do that.

Hub and spokes

A lot of artists we work with, or meet at different events, are often confused by how their website “fits” with their broader online strategy. Some even wonder if they need a website. What we always tell them is to see your online strategy as a “hub and spokes” image. Your full band website (and, to some extent, your mailing list) is the hub of your online world, and your different profiles on social networks and music sites are the spokes: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, SoundCloud, Tumblr, Instagram, and many, many more...

Your goal is to seed your “spokes” with great, tasteful and interesting content, making sure to link back to your own website as often as you can. You engage your fans where they usually hang out (say, Facebook), but try to bring them back to your hub, where you own the address, where you control the design and narrative, and where it’s easier for you to “convert” your fans into buyers of your music or merch, or have them sign-up for your mailing list.

This is the essence of the “hub and spokes” method, where you use your social networks (spokes) to draw fans back to your website (hub), which you control. So what content can you publish out there on your social networks to drive fans to your site? Here are 7 content ideas for your website which you can then promote on your social media profiles to help drive traffic back to your site:

7 Ways to Drive Fans from Social Media to Your Band Website

1. New Blog or Video Blog Post

Create a new blog or video blog post on your website. Some ideas for posts:

A career announcement:
  • New gig
  • New album
  • New song
  • New addition to your team (manager, agent, label, publicist, etc.)
  • Media coverage
  • Winning a contest
  • Tour announcement
  • New gear

Tour Blogging:
  • Show previews
  • Photos from shows
  • Experiences with fans
  • Photos of landmarks in each city
  • Food in each city
  • Etc.

Or write about a subject you are passionate about that fits with your brand (social, sports, political, charitable, etc.)

2. Contests

You can hold a contest where your fans must sign-up through your website. Some contest ideas:
  • Give away exclusive music
  • Give away merchandise
  • Give away tickets to shows
  • Invite fans to be part of the recording studio experience
  • Contest to go backstage after a show and hang out with your band
  • Contest to have dinner with the band before a show
  • Have a design contest for a new gig poster
  • Have a design contest for new album cover art
  • Contest to have your fans star in your next music video

And any other creative ideas you might have that can be used to create a contest for your fans.

3. New Song

If you’ve recorded a new song, post it on your website for your fans to get a first listen before posting the song on social networks. The song doesn’t even have to be completely finished, or it could be a different version. Make your visitors feel privileged that they can hear it on your website. They’ll appreciate it there a lot more than on their Facebook newsfeed, where the distractions and silly images to click on might be too tempting for them to give your song the full attention it deserves.

4. New Video

Same idea as with a new song, if you’ve made a new video, post on your website first before embedding it on social networks. Some video ideas:
  • Official music video
  • Teaser video for an upcoming album
  • Teaser video for an upcoming show
  • Live video from a show
  • Message for fans
  • Video from recording session or rehearsal
  • Video of a cover song

5. Live Streaming Video

Another great way to drive traffic to your website is to hold a live streaming video event. This could be to live stream a:
  • Studio session
  • Jam Session
  • Live show
  • Video chat, taking fan questions
  • Live show after-party
Simply create a channel on a service like Ustream, then embed the video on your own website and tell your fans the date & time of your live streaming event.

6. New Merchandise

Once you’ve released a new piece of merchandise, be sure to put it up for sale in your online store and announce it through social media. This can be:
  • Albums
  • Digital singles
  • Vinyls
  • T-Shirts or other clothing
  • Live albums
  • Stickers/buttons
  • Etc.

7. Special Offers

Why not have a sale through your online store? Everyone loves a deal. You can discount prices on merchandise and music, bundle items together, which can be great when you have new merch and want to move some older stock. The more creative the deals, the better.

These are just some of the ways that you can create content on your website “hub” and use your social media “spokes” to drive traffic back there. In what ways have you used the “hub & spokes” method to drive traffic to your site?

Posted by David Dufresne on 09/10/2012 | 4 comments

Musician Website Love: Dan Reardon

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle. 

Who: Dan Reardon
What: Singer, Songwriter
Where: Long Island, NY
Why his website rocks: There are a few elements we love about Dan’s website. First, he makes proper use of a splash page by making it informative, letting his fans know that his new album is out on iTunes. Once you enter his site, you’ll see that Dan’s website is very well-organized. It has a nice Homepage, his Photos section does a great job of making it easy to find different kinds of photos, and his Music & Store sections are simple but effective. All of this is done using one of our standard templates, which Dan has augmented by adding professional photos and his album artwork. Great job Dan!

Check it out at:

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/07/2012 | 0 comments

Bandzoogle Fall Tour Begins in Nashville and San Diego!

Howdy folks,

The Bandzoogle team is hitting the road this Fall to attend lots of music conferences. We’ll be offering free website reviews, speaking on panels, and our favorite part, meeting some of our awesome members. First up: Nashville and San Diego. Here are the details:

Americana Music Conference in Nashville: September 12-14

Our first stop is Music City! We’re really excited, this will be our first official visit to Nashville, but definitely not our last.

We’ll have a booth at the Exhibit Hall during the Americana Music Conference on September 12, 13 & 14, offering free website reviews to attendees. Our CEO David Dufresne, our Nashville-based designer Hannah Brown, and our Director of Artist Relations Dave Cool will be on hand to meet and greet musicians.

Website Demo Derby

On Friday, September 14 from 9:30-10:30AM in Suite 5, Dave Cool will be part of the Website Demo Derby at the Americana Conference offering live critiques of brands online - including websites and social profiles. The expert panel will assess design, organization, content and functionality with real-time positive feedback. Full details here.

San Diego Music Thing: September 14-15

Our CEO David Dufresne will then fly straight from Nashville to California to open for Chuck D at the San Diego Music Thing! Well, sort of. David will help lead the Website Demolition Derby, which happens right before Chuck D’s keynote address. Still kinda cool. Here are the details:

Website Demolition Derby

On Saturday September 15, at 4:05-5:05PM, David, along with a panel of experts, will offer live critiques of artist websites. The site's design, organization, content and functionality will be assessed and of course, panelists will leave all diplomacy aside.

David and Allison will also be available to give free website reviews during the day on Saturday, so if you can’t make it to the panel, you'll have another chance at the tradeshow.

If you’ll be in Nashville or San Diego for these conferences, please pass by to say hello, we usually have some free t-shirts for members when we’re on the road (hint, hint) and we LOVE to buy drinks for Bandzooglers we meet.

Stay tuned to our blog, as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages for more updates about our Fall Tour... (Preview: Nashville again for World of Bluegrass, Cutting Edge Conference in New Orleans, Driven Conference in Atlanta, San Francisco MusicTech Summit, CMJ in NYC, Womex in Greece, MaMa Conference in Paris, Taxi Road Rally in L.A.... busy times !)

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/06/2012 | 1 comment