The Bandzoogle Blog

10 years of advice, inspiration and resources for musicians navigating the new music industry.

How To Organize and Promote An Open Mic

How To Organize and Promote An Open Mic

Guest post by Joy Ike

Open Mic is about 3 things - Location, Hospitality, and Camaraderie. Whether or not you agree with that statement, it's hard to deny the fact that musicians want to go to open mic so they can rub shoulders with other like-minded and talented artists, plug into their local music community, and be where the action is.

With that said, this post is for the person hoping to run and host their own open mic...or the person who wants to make their Open Mic better. Maybe you don't realize this, but a lot goes into your job - especially if you want to do it well. Read the following tips for some Open Mic best practices for hosts and coordinators!

1. Pick a venue that cares just as much as you do

This is key. A coffee shop, restaurant, or space that cares about the local music scene will not only make more money off of patrons, but they will help your open mic become better. They will support you by offering drink specials and discounts to attendees as incentives to come out; and in turn visitors will become regulars.

A venue that makes Open Mic the focus of the night will become a destination spot for people looking for something to do on an off night. Good turnouts are all about the partnership of venues and hosts.

2. Create a Facebook page for your open mic

Your physical meeting spot is the venue. Now you need a virtual one. Yeah, Facebook pages are highly overrated, but musicians live and breath social media because they have to. So having a central online meeting spot where people can check for updates is essential.

Use this Page to announce when Open Mic is canceled, or if there is a special guest host on any particular week. It's also a way to keep people engaged with the Open Mic so that when Tuesday comes (or whatever day you pick) they already know where they're gonna be at 8pm.

3. Don't fill up the sign-up sheet before the night starts

I once watched an Open Mic run itself into the ground by filling up the sign-up list before the night even started. If you are the host, and you happen to know 80% of regular attendees, make a rule that they have to show up 30 minutes in advance (like everyone else) to claim a spot on the list. Don't let them text you, inbox you, or Facebook you to claim a spot the night before.

This particular Open Mic got so accustomed to filling the list up, that newbies stopped coming because they could never get on the list. Some had even waited outside the venue for an hour, but by the time doors opened the list was already full. That open mic quickly earned a bad reputation.

4. Pick a Feature

The typical open mic gives each artist 2 or 3 songs-worth of stage time. Pick a weekly featured artist and give them one or two extra tunes. Touring musicians especially love this. We often have off-nights that we just want to fill as we make our way across the map. Having a weekly feature can sometimes annoy the average attendee, but it can also spruce up the night and introduce the local music community to an artist they never would have heard otherwise.

In most cases, this artist is uber talented and more experienced because they're touring (not always the case). What's more, playing an open mic is a great way for a touring artist to meet fellow musicians they can split shows with when they pass through town in the future.

5. Make it Affordable

I personally don't think an open mic should be any more than $5. Free is even better because it encourages attendees to buy drinks and food. If you plan to charge, just know that people associate money with quality. Is the quality of your open mic worth how much you're charging? It's easier to sell a free event on a weeknight - especially if some people work late hours and can only stop in briefly before their day ends. I’m not saying you shouldn't charge, I’m just saying it encourages a higher standard. That can actually be a good thing. Talk it over with the venue.

Alternatively we suggest passing a hat and giving the collected money to the touring artists. It's a roundabout way of helping the venue maintain good food/drink sales (for their own peace of mind), while also supporting working artists by the donations of those who want to give.

6. Be Hospitable

You're probably thinking, “This isn't some bed and breakfast! Be hospitable?”. Yes, that's what I said. Most of the musicians (and even some non-musicians) coming to open mic are coming by themselves. If they're not extroverts, the host is probably the only person they'll talk to on their first visit. It's your job to make them feel comfortable, let them know how things work, and give them a reason to come back. You can even introduce them to 2 or 3 people.

Take it from an introvert: I always want to return to an open mic when the host is nice and makes me feel at home. The best open mics are not about the best talent. The best open mics are about great music community. Talent helps too!

7. Be efficient. PLEASE be efficient!!!

Let me say it one more time: BE EFFICIENT. Open mics that take 20 minutes to get through one artist are a waste of my time...and everyone else’s. #sooverit

Make sure everyone knows to tune before they get on stage. Make sure they know that they will be cut off after 10 minutes or 2 songs (whichever comes first). Make sure people know who they fall after on the list so they are ready to go when its their turn. 

There's nothing that makes me want to rip out my hair more than an inefficient open mic. You don't have to shove people off stage, but you do want to keep things rolling so the night doesn't stretch on forever and that the majority of people actually get to play for an audience.

8. Be the ring-leader.

Like we said in #6, an open mic takes on the personality of the host. If you're a jerk, attendees will care less. If you're nice, others will be respectful. If you take it seriously, others will also take it seriously. If you don't do your job, the night will be sloppy. Just make it look good. Just care.

And have fun!

Joy Ike is a full-time singer/songwriter based out of Philadelphia, PA. She is also the founder and primary writer for Grassrootsy, one of the most-read music business blogs on the internet. She believes the greatest tragedy in the world is having a talent and keeping it to yourself.

Build your fanbase, promote your gigs, and sell tickets commission-free on your own Bandzoogle website. Sign up free now!

How to Build a Music Venue website

Build a Music Venue Website

There's nothing like a great live music venue. The sense of excitement that builds before a sold-out show; the people working tirelessly to make sure all the equipment is set up just right. Posters adorn the walls, and the air starts to buzz as show time approaches. A music venue can be an essential part of a city's local music scene.

If you own a live music venue, and want to bring it online, creating a well-organized website is essential!

Key Elements for a Music Venue Website

Home page

The homepage of a music venue website should do two things. First, it should give a quick but informative glimpse at the goings-on of your venue. Second, it should be attractive and professional to music fans of all ages, and to bands as well. This will provide information to customers, and will ensure that you attract quality acts to perform.

For the design, be sure to get a few hi-resolution images to use in the banner image area or background. Good quality images of your interior, exterior, or a show in progress would work well. If you don’t have these, look for a stock image that matches the vibe you are going for (brick wall, sound equipment, a grainy but cool crowd shot).

You could also use a sleek and clean theme, use your logo in the header area, then match it's colors in the body area.

In terms of content, start off with a bit of welcome text. Add a few words about your venue, such as how long you have been in business, and what your current main attraction is. Do you have live music 7 nights a week, or a recurring open mic night? Who was the latest and greatest musical act to grace your stage?

Music venue template

Update your home page text regularly to show off menu features or the next big act that is performing at your venue. Add an events feature with the next few acts only.

Include a Twitter feature to keep the fresh content coming. This will pull Tweets that you add, with anything from upcoming show dates, to band posters.


A great way to highlight to acts that you are bringing to your music venue over the next few months is a to use a blog feature. Place news and images that focus on upcoming acts into their own blog posts. Add media such as videos to amp up interest in the performer. To each blog post, add a link at the end pointing to your Buy Tickets page to encourage interested patrons to go ahead and reserve their spots.

Buy Tickets / Show Listings

This menu option deserves it's own dedicated page. Add an events feature that will serve as your main listing for all events. Use a calendar, table or list display to add details for your shows.  You can add a poster or image, price, and information about the act. Add the option to buy tickets directly for each show.

Music Venue Website Template

[Sell Tickets for Shows Directly through your Website]

About page

Take a bit of time to go through the history of your venue. Whether it's brand new, or established, this page will appeal to concert-goers, community folks, and bands alike. If you are just starting out, why did you choose to start the venue? If your music venue has been around for some time, list the acts you've had the pleasure of hosting.

Your About page should mirror the vibe of your venue - fun, casual, eclectic, and so on. Add a few images of your venue, or integrate your venue’s Instagram feed if you have one.


If you are actively looking for acts to play at your venue, include some information on how to contact you. To ensure you get submissions in the format that you want, be clear on the requirements. Make it easy for you to listen and read through by asking for a press kit link.

Provide info to those who are interested in booking shows, or have been booked. Do you only want acts who are at a certain level? Will you want the band to advertise? Do you set the ticket price or do they? Include details such as the room’s capacity and whether a PA and sound tech are provided. If these options vary, let the band or booking agent know who to contact directly.


Include ways to reach your venue here - a phone number and email address or contact form work well as a first point of contact for customers. Adding a Google Map with directions to your address will help people get to your venue easily. Also provide social media links if your venue has a Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram, or YouTube account.

Music Venue Website Templates

Other feature to add: Mailing list signup form

Getting paying customers through the door lies in communication. In addition to using social media, and relying on bands to provide fans, make good use of a mailing list signup form. You can place this on the Home page, Contact page, and the Tickets page. Depending on how many events you book, a bi-monthly or monthly newsletter with info about upcoming acts may be vital to getting the word out.

For a music venue website, content is king and lots of it. Keeping everything well-organized and easy to find will help boost your ticket sales. A sleek, simple website will do wonders in creating a polished, professional look.

Build a website for your music venue in minutes with all of these features and more. Sign up free with Bandzoogle today!


7 Questions: ‘Unbelievable Beats’ on sales and beat production

7 Questions: 'unbelievable beats' on sales and beat production

While Shaun Friedman from ‘Unbelievable Beats’ started as a young composer making music on his Dad’s home studio equipment, he quickly became an extremely prolific beat and music producer in his own right.  

Aside from studying music, he’s worked in several studios, all the while maintaining his own beat production studio and selling beats from his site on Bandzoogle successfully.  We interviewed Shaun about how he makes it all happen in terms of his productions, and how he manages to do so well selling beats.

Q:  Tell us a bit about yourself - how did you get into music in general?

A: My dad got me the "Casio SK-8" keyboard and I was sequencing, sampling, and creating sound effects at 5 or 6 years old.  The keyboard also taught you some classical songs where you could follow little red dots above each key.  

We also used the keyboard to prank phone call people by sampling our voice and pitching it down or up!  Besides that, we also had a real piano in the house and my dad composed jingles and jazz in the basement studio.

Q: While most of the music on your site is beat-centric, you’ve got a really broad range of hip-hop styles (and beyond) going on.  How important do you think it is to have musical diversity in your repertoire?

A: I think that's pretty crucial, especially if you are composing for film, tv, or any audio visual project.  When working with those type of projects, the supervisor is usually very specific about the mood and vibe they are looking for.  

Regarding hip hop and music in general, diversity adds more ability to your repertoire, so it is definitely helpful.  However, that's sort of a fine line because finding your own niche helps you focus on what you do really good.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your studio set-up for producing your beats  - do you have any ‘go-to’ hardware, software, plugins? Or do you have a DAW preference for your beat production?

A: I usually sequence with FL Studio and use it with Reason "Rewired."  Reason has some great sounds and virtual instruments.  Sometimes I use VSTs from Native Instruments.  Other times, I may use the Roland Fantom X-8 keyboard and record it into FL Studio.

Q: It looks like you have beats posted to your site for free - 107!  How does selling your beats online for free help you to make more monetary sales for your tracks?

A: Well, it may or may not lead to a sale of a track, but if you "capture" their email address (by requiring an email address in order to download the track in your bandzoogle admin panel) you now have another method of building your email list.  

If the track gets used on a YouTube video, you can then use a service like AdRev who helps to monetize the video with ContentID.  

If more people are going to my site for free downloads, it inherently makes the site more popular and may come up in search results faster for actual buyers for licensing.  

Something I need to do more of (I actually haven't done much of it)  is using an Mp3 tagging/metadata program.  If you have thousands of tracks that were downloaded, depending on where the track is played back, the listener/user can see your own picture/branding, and see the artist name, composer, song name, and other metadata fields.  

Of course, that isn't actually the music making part; it's the admin and organization work that is sometimes grueling.  When you realize the impact it can have, it may be worth it for you.

Q: When checking your site out, I noticed you do really well in searches like with Google - do you have any tips for aspiring beat producers in terms of increasing their search visibility to make more sales for their beats or productions?

A: Fundamentally, make sure the title, meta tags, and description are on point for the market and niche you are going after.  Home page text and subsequent keywords within the text is pretty crucial.  

I know there are many "experts" regarding SEO and strategies are always changing, but fresh content most likely remains supreme.  You can update your site and let it "marinate" for a little bit, but don't get stagnate.  You can always add new features and helpful tools for visitors.  

Information is power and "how tos" are so very popular all over the internet now.  Using YouTube is majorly important; at that point, your thumbnail picture, title, and description are all factors that can actually rank pretty high in google searches, even with a video that was recently published.  

At that point, you should have your site link in the description of the video, or even use YouTube's annotations and video tools to your liking.  You should also use all the tools that Google provides, like Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics.  If you use Google tools they like it. Why? Because they are Google!  There simply has to be a correlation there. (maybe not but it would be hard to convince me otherwise)

Q: How about social media or other music related services like Soundcloud or Beatport?  I’m wondering if there’s another online option you use, that you feel pairs well with promoting your site and production work, that also helps with your search visibility?

A: YouTube is the best for this, especially with remixes and covers.  You can direct the listener to your site in the description of the video.  So, you make a remix, title it properly, have someone stream it, they go to your site for the free download (email required), and you now have an email address, built up your site ranking (and maybe gain a YouTube subscriber), and the user has the song they wanted.  

The cats meow would be having the metadata inside the track as previously mentioned with Mp3 tagging (I really wish I did that more).

I have posted some songs on Soundcloud.  I believe, based on the stats there, that the younger generation uses Soundcloud the most.  You can put your own website link in the description of songs there.

Q: Any quick pointers that you can provide to other aspiring beatmakers out there on how to succeed in music?

A: YouTube tutorials are a great way to learn production techniques.  The actual music making part and completion of a track is really just the beginning.  You should look into music publishers and libraries online and apply if they accept your type of niche.  

You should know about non-exclusive vs. exclusive licensing.  I have recently had songs accepted at - a new licensing model overseas and they look for hip hop tracks.  

I would also say to do some YouTube tutorials, where again you can put your site in the description.  

Teaching/tutoring is a great way to earn revenue.  You can also put Google ads on your site and earn revenue from clicks.  Some DAW and/or manufacturers offer affiliate programs, and I have earned revenue through that.  

If you notice, a lot of these things don't have to do with making music, but in today's day and age, there are many tangents, especially online, in which you can take advantage of.  

You should look into music libraries and get your feet wet with them.  You can also start your OWN library where YOU accept music submission from other people.  Of course, you would have to have relationships with film and tv people at that point, or just build your site up over time and establish a name for yourself.

With serious libraries, they usually request song versions that are 30 secs long, 60 seconds long, a "sting" version that is between 6-12 seconds, and a "narrative" version where the lead melody is removed.  

Again, this is not actual music making.  This is admin work after your track is done.  It's hard work.  It's filling out the moods, tempo, and description of your track time and time again. It's having the proper file and bit rate because certain libraries only accept certain formats.  It's the mundane task of constant uploading.  

The beauty of all of this is that once you set yourself up, you can reap the rewards for the rest of your life.  You can plant your seeds all over the world as long as you have an internet connection, computer, and superior work ethic.

Make more money as a beat producer! Keep 100% of your revenues when you sell your beats and music through your website. Sign up free with Bandzoogle now.

13 Ways to Make Money from Your Songs

13 Ways to Make Money from Your Songs - Bandzoogle Blog

This is a guest post by TuneCore Music Publishing

If you write songs, and your songs are sold, downloaded, streamed or used in many other ways, they’re generating songwriter royalties for you. Awesome, right?

Nowadays, the types of songwriter royalties earned fall into two buckets: Physical/Analog Songwriter Royalties (generated from old school music industry), and Digital Songwriter Royalties (generated from the modern digital music industry). With all of the different ways your compositions can be used in both industry models, there’s a good chance your songs are generating money you’re not even aware of, which means you’re missing out on collecting your money, and that ain’t cool. So, to make sure that stops now, we’ve outlined 13 ways that your songs make you money.

But one note before we begin: each income stream and type of royalty explained below is generated from both the original recording of a song or “composition” (i.e. the Beatles’ version of “Yesterday”), and off of a cover of the song.

Physical/Analog Songwriter Royalties & Revenue

#1. Mechanical Royalties

If you’re serious about getting your music out there, you’re probably selling physical products like CDs, LPs or cassettes (someone must still listen to cassettes…right?).  Every time a unit is sold or manufactured, you earn a mechanical royalty, generated from the reproduction of your song.  Record companies or other entities manufacturing products with your song—like The Gap, W Hotel, Putumayo—pay this royalty.  If the reproduction is in the U.S., the royalty rate is $0.091 per reproduction for songs under five minutes.   A formula rate kicks in set by the U.S. Government for songs over five minutes.  Outside of the U.S., the royalty rate is typically 8%-10% of the list price.

#2. ’Analog’ Public Performance Royalties

Every time there’s a “Public Performance” of your composition, you make money.  Public Performances happen all the time—you play a set at the local pub, your song gets radio play, you hear your track as background music in a restaurant or hair salon—and each time, the songwriter earns money.  So who pays up? AM/FM radio, network TV, bars, restaurants, airplanes, offices, movie theaters…you get the point.  Both in the U.S. and outside the U.S., the royalty rate is determined by a one-to-one negotiation between the Performing Rights Organization (PRO) and the entity where the performance occurred.

#3. Synchronization License Royalties (from the “Distribution” Copyright)

If a film or TV studio, production company or someone else wants to use your composition in a TV show, movie or commercial (hooray!), they need to pay for the synchronization license.  The license fee (both in and outside of the U.S.) is a one-to-one negotiation usually based on several things like the length of the use, how it’s being used (background or up front), the format and the popularity of the production.  Because of all these factors, the fee can range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

#4. Mechanical Synchronization Royalties

Let’s stay on the topic of Sync for a moment, as there’s also a mechanical royalty generated from the “Reproduction” copyright.  All that publishing lingo means that there’s a per unit royalty payment owed to the songwriter based on the number of units manufactured that include the song (like a greeting card, toy, video game, etc.).  Depending on the type of unit manufactured, entities like Hallmark, toy companies, or video game companies generate and pay this royalty, and the value worldwide is usually based on initial manufactured units.

#5. Print Royalties

As the name suggests, this royalty, generated from the Public Display copyright, has to do with printed materials—lyrics, sheet music, tablature, etc.  When music publishers like Hal Leonard or Alfred Music Publishing create sheet music, or a company prints t-shirts with lyrics on them, they are required to pay a print royalty.  There’s no government rate for this royalty—it’s a one-to-one negotiation.  If we’re talking sheet music, the royalty is usually 15% of retail price, and/or a one-time fee for pressing is negotiated.

Digital Songwriter Royalties & Revenue

#6. Digital Download Mechanical Royalties

If you write a song and distribute it to download music services like iTunes, Amazon, or Google, you’re owed a royalty for every unit of your music that’s downloaded.  This royalty type comes from the “Reproduction” and “Distribution” copyrights, and the royalty payment mirrors physical reproductions: $0.091 per reproduction in the U.S., and generally 8% – 10% of the list price outside the U.S.

#7. Streaming Mechanical Royalties

Streaming is the name of the game these days, and if you distributed your music to digital stores, it’s likely that you chose a few interactive streaming services like Spotify, Rhapsody or Rdio.  In case you’re not familiar with the term, “interactive” means that the user can choose songs, stop, go backwards, create playlists, etc. As was the case with digital downloads, a songwriter is owed a royalty (from the “Reproduction” copyright) for every stream of his or her song on an interactive streaming service.  In the U.S. there’s a government-mandated rate of around $0.005 per stream (expected to grow!), and outside of the U.S. the royalty is typically 8% – 10% of the list price.

#8. Digital Non-Interactive “Streaming” Public Performance Royalties

We talked “interactive,” and now we’re talking “non-interactive.”  A non-interactive streaming service is one through which you can’t pick songs, create playlists, or otherwise “interact” with the music, kind of like AM/FM radio.  A non-interactive stream is a “Public Performance” and therefore generates a songwriter royalty, paid by the streaming service, like Pandora, Slacker, iHeartRadio, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, cable companies, and thousands of other entities.  Worldwide, the royalty rate is determined by a one-to-one negotiation between the PRO and the other entity (generally based on a % of the entity’s Gross Revenue).

#9. Interactive “Streaming” Public Performance Royalties

When someone streams your song on an interactive streaming service like YouTube, Spotify or Rdio, it also counts as a “Public Performance,” which means you’re owed additional songwriter royalties. There’s no set government rate in or outside the U.S.—it’s determined individually by the PRO and the other entity, once again usually based on a % of the entity’s gross revenue.  A few formulas and calculations from the PRO later, and you’ve got a royalty.

#10. Digital Synchronization License

Sync also applies to the digital world.  We all know it’s common for people to create YouTube (or Vimeo) videos that use someone else’s music in the background.  In slightly more technical terms, what’s happening here is that the song is being synchronized with a moving image, and when this happens, a per use license payment is required.

[Exciting news: TuneCore can now help artists make more money on YouTube, as our Music Publishing Administration service includes YouTube monetization. Plus, our new partnership with INDMUSIC helps you develop your channel, which results in even more money for you.]

As far as the royalty rate goes, there is no government rate, just a one-to-one negotiation that sets the per use royalty rate.  It’s typically a percentage of Net Revenue as generated by advertising dollars.

#11. Digital Print

Google any song and you’ll immediately find dozens of sites with the song lyrics, sheet music, or tablature available for your use.  The use of the music on these sites is yet another form of public display, and the lyric sites, musician sites, and even sites with avatars wearing virtual t-shirts with song lyrics (yup, those count) all generate and pay this songwriter royalty.  Once again there’s no government rate set worldwide, and the rate is typically a fee for a specific period of time, and/or a percentage of the site’s gross revenue from paid subscriptions or advertising.

#12. Mechanical Royalty for a Ringtone/Ringback Tone

Ever purchase a ringtone? Or distribute your own to the iTunes store on your phone?  Whenever a ringtone or ringback tone is purchased for a mobile device, a royalty is owed (it’s generated from the “Reproduction” and “Distribution” copyrights).  Music services and telecoms like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Cricket, Vodafone and more are required to pay mechanical royalties to the tune of $0.24 per ringtone (in the U.S.) and a percentage of gross revenue (outside the U.S.).

#13. Public Performance Royalty for a Ringtone/Ringback Tone

In addition to the royalty generated in the purchase of a ringtone/ringback tone, a songwriter royalty is owed from the public performance that occurs when someone plays the tone outside of the U.S. Once again, the telecoms and music service need to pay up, and the rate is determined by a one-to-one negotiation.

Exhausted from reading this but ready to get the money you’re owed from the use of your compositions? That’s the right attitude! When you get a publishing deal with a publishing administrator, the publishing administrator will license and collect for you worldwide all of the royalties that should be coming to you, the songwriter, and nobody else.  It’s a good idea to get in the know now, because as the music industry landscape keeps evolving, there’s no doubt you’ll soon have more royalties to collect.

Making money as a musician is tough. That's why you keep 100% of your hard-earned revenues when you sell music, merch & tickets through your Bandzoogle website. Sign up free now!

New ways to share your music: Facebook, Twitter & embeddable players

New Ways to Share your Music

We've just released new music players for you and your fans to share your music across the web, and on Facebook and Twitter. They are beautifully simple, and highlight your album art.

Here are the details:

Embeddable music player

This option lets you add a player on any website that allows HTML code. The players are responsive, and work great on mobile devices. Check it out:

Embeddable music player

Facebook & Twitter music players

You can also create music players that stream your music directly on Facebook and Twitter. Here's what they look like:

Facebook player

Music player for Facebook

Twitter player

Twitter music player

To create these new players, click the "Share" button beside any track in the music feature of your control panel. Or, fans can create their own by clicking the "share" icon in the track list on your website.

All of the new players have a big button that sends fans to your website where they can learn more about you, or buy your tracks directly (commission free!)


Build your own website in minutes and start selling your music commission-free with Bandzoogle. Sign up free now!

Music Website Template Design: Customizing Vesper

Music Website Template Design: Customizing Vesper

What's in a theme? Since releasing the sleek and responsive website template, Vesper, so many musicians have been using it to build great looking websites! This theme, besides being mobile-responsive, is also very flexible. So no matter what type of music you play, the stylish Vesper template can work for you!

It all starts with a great image

First off, let's talk about your image. I do mean the 'brand' that you want to portray, but also your main website image. These two things should be tied together. That way, when a music lover and potential fan lands on your website, they know right away what your music would sound like - just from what they see!

Having some high quality images in the header area of your website will set the tone for your website. Think about the impression you want to make. You could go for striking - dramatic black and white for an indie-rock artist, or a sepia tinged group shot for your folk band.

[8 Ways You Should be using Photos on your Band Website]

A stunning image placed in a website template can work in parallel with your music to create an overall effect. Let's look at some examples!

Beautifully muted blue website

The streamlined look of the Vesper theme lends itself nicely to an uncluttered website. A simple image in the header area will help solidify your brand. Try an image of yourself, your instrument, or some scenery that conveys your sound.

The blue version of Vesper works really well for a classical music website, setting a serene vibe. Look at how classical violinist Sornitza Baharova has done this, using an image that is interesting, and matches the calm feel of her music.

Classical music website template

Kicking it up a notch, this same color scheme works just as well for a beats website! If you want to make money selling beats on your website, this theme has a simple, clean look that will let you focus on content.

With a banner image that represents who you are as a producer, keep the content area simple. Add calls to action that will direct your visitors right to your Store page to buy your tracks.

Beats website template

[How to Build a Website to Sell Beats Online]

Basic black and white website

Another variation on this template is black and white. It's a bit more dramatic and works well for a variety of music genres, depending on how you dress it up.

You can add pops of color, like alt rock band London Above, whose main image tells you right away that they're probably a lot of fun. They're also great at keeping their fans up to date with new snippets of information with their blog and Twitter feed.

Alt rock website template

Fun and funky website

And now for a fun twist, there's a version of Vesper that uses a trendy color combination of navy and pink. It's perfect for a singer- songwriter, folk, Christian, or country artist!

Taylor Loren has used an array of images to create a website that makes you want to listen to her music. She's even got a matching pink shirt that ties in perfectly with the pink menu bar. To let her website visitors know exactly what she looks and sounds like live, she also includes an embedded music video.

Music website template

Mellow Yellow website

Not a band but still need a music website? This version of the website template is a good bet for anyone that wants a modern looking, clear layout.

The neutral background lends itself to any kind of main image. Check out media composer Eric Watkins' website with a gloriously haunting header image, a clean content area, and gorgeous music to match.

Composer website template

Go big or go home

One nice thing about Vesper is that it allows for a large image on the landing page, grabbing your visitor’s attention immediately. Then on the inner pages (every page but the Homepage), a shorter image is featured. You can either use an image that works on all pages, or change your image on every page.

Deafheaven does a great job with this. Their first page features a picture that tells a thousand words, plus an effective call to action to sign up for their email list right away. Then their inner page images are all different, making every page interesting to look at. They have also added some customization to the basic theme to change around the design elements.

[Why Email Newsletters are still a Vital Marketing Tool For Musicians]

Rock band website template

Make it about the Menu

Looking for a way to make your menu bar stand out a bit? Use a logo rather than text for your band name. Check out this funky, free-spirited logo that Hana Kin has added to her website. It ties in an unexpected color and adds a bit of playfulness to her website menu.

Website template with logo

Does your website have great images and font choices that show off your genre of music, in a visual way? We hope these examples inspire you to create a personalized version of Vesper!

Create a stylish website that’s easy to update in minutes. Try Bandzoogle free today!

[VIDEO] How to add a PledgeMusic campaign to your Bandzoogle website

In the small world of web companies that build tools for musicians, PledgeMusic is one of our favourite peers. We always recommend them for musicians and bands looking to engage their fans and create personalized experiences in funding their next project. In this video, we show how easy it is to add your PledgeMusic campaign to your Bandzoogle website.

In just a few clicks, you can pull all of your PledgeMusic offers to any page of your website. Your offers will appear with an image and pricing in a grid format. When a fan clicks on an offer, it will bring them to the offer on your PledgeMusic page. Check it out:

You can display your offers on your Homepage, on your Store page, on a dedicated “PledgeMusic Campaign” page, and even on a landing page. The PledgeMusic feature also styles automatically to match your website’s theme, and looks great on mobile devices!

Get a professional website with all the tools you need to raise funds and be a successful DIY musician. Easy to build, in just minutes. Try Bandzoogle free now!

How to make money from your music on YouTube

How to make money from your music on YouTube

This guest post was written by Jon Ostrow. Jon is the Director of Sales at Bandsintown, Founder of MicControl, lover of all things music, a raging Phish head, and a coffee addict.

YouTube is undoubtedly one of the most important tools for musicians to market and engage with fans online. But how does YouTube make you money?

Rather than simply allowing YouTube to run ads on your music videos and hoping for the best, you should focus on creating a sales funnel strategy.

Sales Funnel

YouTube Sales Funnel for Musicians

This funnel can be broken down into three parts:

  1. Discovery

  2. Monetization

  3. Retention

This will effectively create a full cycle. Focusing on all 3 components will help you optimize your YouTube channel for revenue opportunities, drive traffic to your channel, and ensure that your fans stick around to continue to make you money over the long-term.

So let’s take a look at several easy ways to set up each part of your YouTube sales funnel:


Before you focus on trying to make money from your channel, you’ll want to take a few things into consideration to ensure you’re able to drive as much traffic as possible:

Enable channel recommendations
This is a no-brainer. By turning this setting on here, you’re allowing YouTube to suggest your channel to new viewers.

Every video should be tagged
Just like on Twitter or Instagram, YouTube tags act as keywords that are then indexed and searchable by others. Include tags like the genre and location, and even find opportunities to take advantage of existing tag trends that will help your videos show up in a relevant search.

Word to the wise though, don’t go overboard here – generic tags such as ‘Music’ or ‘new song’ won’t do much if anything for your visibility, so keep your keywords dialed in and to the point.

Create effective video titles
Again, you want to make sure that your videos are easy to find as a relevant search result. Your title needs to be catchy and appealing, but also to the point. If you get too clever with your title, you may end up leaving out a relevant keyword that could be the key to your video being found.

Tip: If you publish cover videos, include the artist name and the word ‘cover’ in the title in addition to the song name and your own name. This will help it be found easier!

Including the link to your YouTube channel everywhere
Make it as easy as possible for people to get back to your YouTube channel by including the link in your bio section of all of your social networking accounts, in your email signature, and even on your download cards, CDs, etc.

For your website, be sure to embed videos directly onto a Videos page, then provide a link to your channel for fans to find you there.

[The Magic 8: Essential Menu Options for Your Band Website]


Now it’s time to consider ways to maximize the traffic you’re bringing to your YouTube channel so that each visitor does their part to contribute to your sales:

Allow ads to be displayed on your videos
This one seems obvious, but it’s important to note that you need to opt-in to video monetization on YouTube. To do so, YouTube offers an easy step by step walkthrough to make sure you’re all set up.

Create playlists to increase # of video views per visitor
So you’ve driven a fan, or a new visitor to your channel and they’ve watched one of your videos. Great! Now they can either leave your channel, or they can continue to watch more videos. Increasing the number of video views per visitor is key when it comes to generating any significant amount of money from advertising.

Use analytics to better understand your audience
YouTube recently released a new tool for musicians called YouTube for Artists. This allows you to see which videos are connecting with your fans, and which ones are not so that you can continue to tailor your content strategy to meet the needs of your fan base. Take advantage of this and don’t waste time creating videos that fall flat.


At this point, you’ve set up your page to increase traffic and optimized your channel to make as much money from those visits and views as possible.  But why only rely on search traffic? A key component in any effective sales funnel is retaining existing fans, as it will always be easier to keep (and make more money from) than it is to find new fans. Here are some things you can do to ensure you retain the fans that are now checking out your YouTube Channel:

Ask fans to subscribe to your Channel
At the end of every video you should have some sort of call to action asking fans to subscribe to your YouTube Channel. You can also include this call to action in the description of each video as well.  This will ensure that your fans receive an update every time you upload a new video!

Use Annotations
YouTube offers ‘annotations’ as an interactive button that can be superimposed over your video to allow you to do things like link to your website or iTunes.  Should you be focused on touring, you can now even include an annotation that allows fans to follow you on platforms such as Bandsintown or Songkick (full disclosure, I work for Bandsintown and we’ve received amazing feedback from our artist platform regarding the effectiveness of this new YouTube feature).

Think beyond the confines of YouTube
While YouTube offers you quite a few ways to retain fans and make money directly on the platform, there are 3rd party platforms that can be used to leverage your video content, and even simply your music on YouTube to get you paid:

  • Patreon – Through this platform, your fans will opt-in to pay a recurring subscription fee for each new piece of content you release. By exclusively releasing (or at least debuting) your YouTube videos on this platform, you can reward the fans most willing to spend money on you, and greatly increase the opportunity to make money from each video you create.

  • Audiam – Believe it or not, you are owed a royalty for every YouTube view your music generates. Audiam helps independent musicians like you get the royalties owed to you from YouTube. If you have your music distributed through aggregators like TuneCore and CDBaby, they also offer services to get paid on royalties from music streams on YouTube.   

We hope the ideas above will help you to set up a basic, but effective sales funnel for your YouTube channel!

Start building your fanbase! Bandzoogle websites have a built-in mailing list, social media integrations, and all the tools you need to step it up. Sign up free now!

5 Secrets to Make Your Voice Sound Better

5 Secrets to Make Your Voice Sound Better

Cari Cole is a Celebrity Vocal Coach, Artist Development Expert & Music Biz Mentor. Her client list includes Grammy winners, legendary rock stars, American Idol & The Voice winners & finalists, and thousands of independent artists worldwide. Cari's two-sided approach as an artist and industry insider brings a wealth of knowledge and creativity to the business of music. To find out about Cari's products and programs, and grab your free gift: The Vocal Road Warrior 3-part Series Keep Your Voice Healthy While You're Out Conquering Your Tour, visit her website/blog at

As one of the top vocal coaches in the country, I frequently hear: “What are your top vocal tips for singers?” Well, I could rattle off a long list, and yammer on for hours. (I’m a nerd’s nerd when it comes to vocals…)

And I have a long list of favorite tricks up my sleeve from more than 20 years of coaching singers… But I love a challenge – so I pretended that I had only 5 minutes to tell you my top ones and so I wracked my brain to come up with the Top 5.

I’ve posted this before – but here is my updated and improved list…

One of the things I am constantly teaching my private clients is that the voice is an instrument inside your body and you have to learn how to use it to get the most out of it. It’s very “physical” on the foundational level.

To have a strong voice and to have vocal consistency there are certain things you have to know and do. There are some really simple methods you can use, right now, to get a great sound out of your instrument.

And most singers even professionals, unless they’ve trained, don’t know this stuff. So I wanted to give them to you as if I was actually giving you a voice lesson, right here, right now.

So – stand in front of a mirror (because I’m going to ask you to watch your jaw and your head position to control movement as you sing).

Here they are:

Cari’s Top 5 Secrets to Make Your Voice Sound Better, Instantly

1. The “Instant Vocal Fix” 

This is a quick trick that makes you sound better instantly so I called it the “Instant Fix”. Say A-E-I-O-U (watch your jaw movement in the mirror). Did your jaw close on any of the vowels? Chances are your jaw closed on the E and the U – and most likely on others too, if not all of them. Take your first two fingers and pull your jaw down 2 inches (or even better – use a plastic bottle cap or a cork (wine) to prop your jaw open). And speak the vowels again. And repeat again (we’re trying to re-program muscle memory – so the more the better). Now sing the vowels on one pitch. A-E-I-O-U. Your goal is to keep your jaw open (long not wide) without closing for all of your vowels. Repeat until you can do it. Now sing a phrase of one of your songs – and make sure your jaw opens to the same position on all of your vowels. You have to practice this a bunch before it becomes natural – but the more you do, the sooner this new movement is programmed into your muscle memory. And  you might be one of those lucky ones who notice the improvement in the sound right away (it will sound louder and more resonant with less vocal strain). If you don’t – don’t sweat it – you will. It just takes a little practice. (You might have some unwanted tension in your neck, jaw and throat muscles – try loosening them up and try it again.) The next time you perform open your jaw more on your vowels — it’s a quick trick that makes you sound better instantly!

2. “Think down” for High Notes 

 The next time you sing an ascending vocal scale or you sing a high note,  try thinking of the way an elevator works. A heavy weight is attached to a  pulley and as the weight pulls down, the elevator actually goes up to the  higher floors. So, the highest floor is reached when the weight is the  heaviest. Similarly, you should think down for your high notes or think  of addingweight (resistance) to your highest notes.

3. More Power without Strain

Who doesn’t want more power without strain? This is a simple technique to apply and a bit easier than the one above. All you have to do is to keep your chin pointed slightly down and your pectorals slightly flexed (well sometimes it’s a lot flexed) when you go for more power. Most singers reach forward or lift their chin up to sing with more power. While it may temporarily work, it causes vocal problems.  Tipping your chin down not only works better and saves your voice – it actually SOUNDS better! Stand in front of the good ‘ol mirror. Sing an Ah scale up and down in one phrase (1-2-3-4-3-2-1). Press your chin slightly in (point your chin towards the floor) — usually only 1” or so. Don’t let your head bob up as you raise pitch. Keep it firmly in place. Go all the way up the scale of your voice keeping this position. Notice how the chin wants to move up as you raise pitch. Keep it planted. This will give you more power and control and eliminate strain. Practice it until it becomes natural!

4. How to Get Natural Vibrato In Your Voice

Here’s a quick tip to get your vibrato working. Stand in front of a mirror; press on
your chest with both hands, then raise your chest higher than normal. Take a breath in and then exhale, but don’t drop your chest. Sing one note and hold it as long as possible with your chest raised. Press on your chest halfway through the note (press kind of hard and raise your chest to meet the pressure). Relax the back of your neck and keep your jaw open as you’re singing “ahhh.” Imagine the air spinning around in your mouth while keeping your chin tucked down a bit and your chest raised. Keep in mind, overuse of vibrato is not a good thing in contemporary singing (pop, rock and R&B). At the same time, no vibrato is also not a good thing. So, try ending phrases with straight tone, then into a little bit of vibrato. The bottom line is to do what’s best for you.

5. HearFones® 

A good vocal tone is not established by singing loudly, it’s established at medium volume. Good tone happens when vocal folds are strong enough to have a good closure but not touch. Releasing too much air creates a “breathy” tone and releasing too little air creates a “nasal” tone. Unless you’re really going for breathy or nasal as a stylistic choice, somewhere right in between the two is the perfect balance. HearFones® allow you to really hear yourself and work on your tone at medium volumes.

Keep in mind that there are natural remedies to keep flus and colds in check.  Check out my keep-your-voice-healthy remedies here:

More about vocal health here:

Build your own professional website in minutes that looks great on all devices. Try Bandzoogle free now!

Build a stunning blog for your band website: new modern tiled view

Build a stunning blog for your band website: new modern tiled view

We've just added a new, modern "tiled" layout for your blog posts.  You've probably seen this style before on sites like Pinterest or Tumblr.  It displays your posts in columns, with a featured image on top.  Check it out on some Bandzoogle member sites:

Kasey Todd

The tiled view highlights the key image in your blog post, and makes posts visually "pop" when visitors land on your site.  You can set the featured image manually, otherwise, it will choose the first image in the content of your blog post.

Like all of our features, the tiled layout works great on tablets and phones.

You'll find the option for the tiled layout in the "blog settings" tab of your blog. Enjoy!

Not a member yet and want to build a great blog for your music ? Try Bandzoogle free now!