The Bandzoogle Blog

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

5 Perfectly Acceptable Reasons to Turn Down a Gig

5 Reasons to turn down a gig

This post originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog

It's tempting, especially as a new band, to say yes to every show you're offered. You want to take advantage of every opportunity you get to make a mark in your local scene. But even groups just starting out can't or shouldn't accept every gig they're extended. Sometimes a show can actually be detrimental to your efforts.

With the exception of opening for another band or artist with a significant following, which is a blessing you should always enthusiastically respond to with a resounding yes, here are a handful of situations in which it's totally reasonable to turn down a gig.

1. A member can't be there

Unless it's a recurring issue, which is another thing altogether, don't temporarily replace a band member because he or she can't perform at a particular gig. There are times in which this might be appropriate, but generally, it's not. The member in question might feel jilted, which could cause internal problems, and the stand-in won't know the music as well as your bandmate does. If you must have an outsider fill in, be sure that person has plenty of time to rehearse alone and with the group, and check with the person who can't make it to be sure that he or she isn't going to resent everyone else for taking the gig.

[14 Rules for Being a Good Bandmate]

2. It's a last-minute gig

When a band cancels just before a show, you could be called upon to perform in their stead. That's great that the booking agent or venue owner thought of you, right? If you haven't rehearsed properly, though, think twice about accepting the gig. Preparation is paramount to a successful set. Consider that against the opportunity before making a decision.

3. The show is at a problematic venue

Not every venue is right for every band, and if you've already learned that a certain spot is wrong for you, avoid playing there again. You should definitely be cautious about writing off particular venues, of course, but once you've decided one doesn't work for you – whether it's because of bad sound, the wrong regular crowd, or something else – don't go back.

[What to Do When Venue Staff Treats Your Band Like Crap]

4. It's too close to another show you've already scheduled

Two shows too close together is not ideal, especially if you're a band with a smaller following. It's very likely that your crowd will be split between the two dates, so you'll probably get two mediocore turnouts instead of a single, sizable one. Don't just check that the date you're asked about is open, make sure you aren't already slated for another night nearby, too.

[How to Get a Booking Agent to Book Your Band]

5. There's no money involved, and you've already played for free

Playing for zero pay is something most fledgling bands do. Venue owners and booking agents often want to be sure you can bring out a crowd before they commit to paying a band or artist. Not only can you gain their trust this way, but also you'll probably play for a bigger crowd if there's no door charge.

You can only do this for so long, though. If you believe you've already proven your pull, don't continue performing for free. Negotiate some degree of payment based on the turnouts you've garnered thus far.

[Making the Transition From Playing Unpaid Shows to Earning a Living From Gigging]

Your band works hard to put on a great show. We work hard so you can make a great band website, easily and affordably. Build your own Bandzoogle website in minutes. Sign up free now!


Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible.

Bandzoogle Team Meetup This Week!

Bandzoogle team meetup 2015

Reuniting and it feels so gooooood! This week the Bandzoogle family is getting together for our annual meetup. 

Bandzoogle team photo

This is where we brainstorm new things we can do for our members (2014 Bandzoogle recap: Our biggest year ever), enjoy each other’s company like normal co workers, and make up funny songs about ourselves.

As you know, the Bandzoogle offices are spread around the globe (Take a Look Inside Bandzoogle’s Lavish Offices Around the World!), so getting some face time is important for us and you, too!

So for the next few days live chat may be unavailable, but all email inquiries will be responded to as usual while the support team take turns between rounds of campfire karaoke. 

Bandzoogle campfire karaoke

We are excited for a great year of new features and designs for our members, and this gathering lays the groundwork.

Thanks, and have a great week everyone!

- Team BZ

Website Design Inspiration: Record Label Sargent House

Record Label Home page

Who: Sargent House
What: Record Label and Management Company
Where: Los Angeles, California
Why their website rocks: Simple, sleek, and easy to navigate. The Sargent House website is a beautiful example of how to organize information on multiple artists, while making it look and sound good!

[Learn how to build a Record Label Website]

Taking full advantage of our image-driven theme Vesper, their Homepage features a large slideshow with stunning shots of their artists. By using a mix of live shots and great promo shots, it's immediately clear their artists are professional and successful.

Then, the website menu does the talking. Clear and well-organized, it allows visitors to find exactly what they want when landing on the site.

Sargent House also puts a lot of work into promoting their artists. To emphasize each one, they have a page dedicated per artist on their website. Each of these pages has contact information for the artist, as well as social media links, images, discography, videos, news, and events.

Band website Russian Circles

On those artist pages, they of course also link out to each artist’s own website, many of which are on Bandzoogle too! Check out some these amazing websites for their artists built with Bandzoogle:

http://marriagesband.com

http://www.russiancirclesband.com

http://www.wovenhandband.com

http://myletsmusic.com

http://deafheaven.com

They also dedicate a page to new releases as a way to promote the music being released on their label. On this page you’ll find hi-res album covers, music players, videos, and links to listen and buy.

To generate even more music sales, Sargent House includes a Discography page, with subpages for each year. These pages neatly represent every album with an image, artist name, and release date. With links included for vinyl, CD, or digital options, the music is easy to purchase.

Record label website discrography

The contact page for their website contains a few important links. Up top, text that directs anyone looking to contact a specific artist to their pages, will help weed out artist inquires. Next, they include a large text link to their Submissions page to be sure bands read through their policies.

Finally, they include a mail form with specific parameters to make sure the email they receive is easy to look through. Plus, adding a mailing list signup to this page is a great way to increase their signups!

Check out this stylish and effective record label website at: http://sargenthouse.com

Build a professional website for your record label that's easy to update, and sell music & merch commission-free. Try Bandzoogle free now!

How to Build a Record Label Website

How To Build a Website for your Record Label

Whether you’re an established label, or you’ve just signed your first band, your website is a vital part of your marketing strategy. Your website is your hub online where fans, industry, and media can discover and quickly connect with your artists.

So here are some tips to help you build and organize an effective website for your record label!

Key Elements for a Record Label Website

Homepage

Your homepage should be fairly simple. Use hi-res photos of your artists in a static or slideshow header so your visitors will know they’ve come to the right place.

Next, use a call-to-action to bring attention to the most important thing you’d like to highlight. This could be an upcoming event, a new video, or recent album release for one of your artists.

Then add a Blog feature with text and images to showcase your recent news in an eye-catching way. Update this regularly to make fans return to see what's new! For even more up to the minute news, use a Twitter feed on one side of the page.

And be sure to place a mailing list signup form right on the Homepage. Offer an incentive like a free download of an exclusive song to encourage visitors to sign up! That way you can follow-up by email with your latest label news, new album releases and upcoming tour dates for your artists.

[Why Email Newsletters Are Still a Vital Marketing Tool]Record Label website

About

Who are you? Why did you start a label? Are you a musician yourself? Or just a total music geek? How did you discover the bands on the label? What inspired you to sign them? Use the About page to tell the story of why and how your record label was created.

You should also make it easy for industry and media to contact you. Include some kind of call-to-action at the bottom of the page, which can be a contact form, or even just your email address.

Want to make it more visually appealing? Add an Instagram gallery to the About page to seamlessly add a nice visual element that will automatically update with new images.

Artists

One of the most visited pages on your label's website will be the Artists page. Make sure it represents your label well by creating an organized page with easy to find information on all of your artists.

One option is to add images in a 3-column layout, and link each image to a subpage with more information about that artist.

On those subpages, add a short bio, some hi-res images, a few of their latest and greatest tracks, and a video. Add their social media links, as well as contact information for booking agents.

[How to Get a Booking Agent to Book Your Band]

However, if your label is just starting out, you could simply use a single page using a 2-column layout, with images and descriptive text side by side.

Record Label artists pageShows

Use a Calendar to list all upcoming tour dates for your artists. Bandzoogle has a built-in events feature where you can display upcoming shows in several formats, and sell tickets commission-free.

[Sell tickets for shows commission-free directly through your website]

You can also use our Bandsintown feature to display show dates for each band separately.

Store

Looking to sell music and merch for your artists? Set up a Store page to sell digital tracks, CDs, vinyl, and T-shirts commission-free. If one of your artists is dropping a new album soon, set it up for pre-order and sell it in advance to generate buzz.

Want to clear out old stock? Offer music and merch at sale prices to get people buying!

Submissions

Are you actively looking for new artists for your record label? If so, add a page that outlines the format that you will accept for demos. Be sure to address some FAQs as well, such as the genre of artist, what kind of experience they should have, where they have played shows, and what kind of a crowd they can draw.

If you are not seeking submissions, some text here indicating that you are not currently accepting clients will help clarify things for bands contacting your label.

Record label contact page

Contact

Include a contact form to accept inquiries about your record label. Add a link to your Submissions page to be sure people have read what you are looking for before they submit an inquiry. Then add an email address for any separate staff: management, booking inquires, and press.

Build a professional website for your record label that's easy to update, and sell music & merch commission-free. Try Bandzoogle free now!

17 ways to make money selling tickets on your website

17 ways to make money selling tickets on your website

With our new built-in ticketing feature, you can now sell tickets through your website commission-free! This not only makes it easier to make more money, but also stay in touch with fans who buy tickets directly from you. Ticketing companies not only take a % of your sales, but often don’t share the valuable data of who is buying your tickets.

[Sell Tickets for Shows Directly Through your Website]

Now, the first thing that comes to mind with ticket sales is selling tickets for large concerts, but that’s just the beginning! Here are 17 more ways you can grow your band’s bank account by using the new ticket sales feature:

  1. Regular gigs - You don’t need to be a famous band to sell tickets. You can offer tickets for any gig you’d like right from your website. As an incentive to buy earlier, you can offer a discount to those buying tickets from your website. Bandzoogle member, Michael Tracy, is also smart to mention there are no processing fees with this option. This is a big plus for customers especially if you’ve seen the fees some of the big ticketing companies are charging!

    Michael Tracy

  2. Ticket bundles - Another plus to selling tickets online is that you can increase the price to cover the cost of admission to the gig + a CD or T-Shirt. Bundling makes customers feel like they are getting extra value. Plus it’s fun to receive something cool at the door when they get to the gig!

  3. Special events - You can double or triple your profits by selling tickets to special events like a New Year’s Celebration, St. Patrick’s Day Bash, or special guest musician performances. You can even negotiate a little something with the venue if they add in a free drink ticket or appetizer for all ticket holders.

  4. Autographs and photos - As an add-on event you can set a time at the end of the gig for fans to receive autographs or pictures. Frame it as a VIP exclusive and even if you charge $10 a person, you’ll be bringing in more money that would’ve been left on the table.

  5. Fundraisers and Benefits - Making money for the band is great, making money to help others is even better! You can offer to perform for free at benefit events such as Cancer Awareness Walks, Diabetes Awareness Galas, or similar events. Then on your website you can sell tickets to the event where all proceeds go towards the charitable organization like BZ member Anielle Reid has done. Heck, you can even do a regular gig every now and then and let fans know you’re donating proceeds to a cause close to the band’s heart. This allows them to also get to know more about you and what causes you’re passionate about.

    Anielle Reid

  6. Workshops - Think of topics your band members have experience with such as how to get the press to notice your band, how to book a paid tour, how to crowdfund your next album (hint: anything that helps others make money is a hit!). At the end of the workshop, maybe play a few tunes for the participants. Who knows, you may gain a few unlikely fans there!

  7. Group lessons - If you have teaching skills, consider setting up some group lessons and selling tickets for each event. You can even hold it in locations like a recording studio, or museum and charge a bit more for the cool factor. [10 Ways to make more money selling music lessons on your website]

  8. Album launch - Fans love it when their favorite band or artist comes out with new music. Let them share in your excitement each time you release a new album. Plan a festive album launch party and sell tickets. During the event play a few tracks from your new album, throw in some older tunes and give out a few free CD’s. BZ member Hannah Jane Kile does a great job here by including other artists at the celebration as well.

    Hannah Jane Kile

  9. Industry mixer - If you’ve been in the biz for awhile, chances are you’ve made some great contacts. Sell tickets to a special mixer that brings all the local players to the table. You can invite music industry professionals, other artists, music engineers, venue owners and the like. This is another effective way to make new contacts and forge new partnerships in the process.

  10. Writers lounge - Even the best writers experience writer’s block, or simply need a new perspective. Hold a special invitation only night and invite (for a small entrance fee) all the songwriters in your local area. Provide some nourishing snacks and collab on new song ideas.

  11. Fan appreciation - Every once in awhile it’s nice to show your fans how much you care. Hold a FREE fan appreciation night in honor of their support. This doesn’t mean you can’t make money from this event though! You can sell raffle tickets for a nominal fee for things like autographed CD’s and merch. You could even throw in a few one of a kind items like a rough draft of your songwriting process, drumsticks from your biggest show, or you singing their voicemail greeting.

  12. Fan exclusives - In addition to the free fan appreciation event, you can offer a limited number of VIP tickets for advance purchase. Think about how excited you’d be if you had access to your favorite musicians studio session, backstage greenroom, or a private listening party in their home! You can provide the same feeling to your fans by offering VIP exclusives into the life of a musician. After the main free event, gather the VIP’s together for a VIP meet and greet to give them a peek into your daily life as a rockstar. This is a perfect time to offer higher priced tickets to only a select few superfans.

  13. Festivals - The festival circuit is becoming more popular every year, so now’s a great time to jump on board. Once you’re signed up as a performer you can sell tickets for the festival right from your website. Or if you plan your own festival, you can set it up to sell full passes to the entire event. Here's a great example by BZ member Culture Fest WV.

    Culture Fest WV

  14. Local showcase - Instead of booking a bunch of shows only for your band, think about partnering up with other bands in your genre to showcase local talent. For more publicity, you can even check in with your chamber of commerce and make it a summer series.

  15. Battles and open mic contests - Charge a competition submission fee for anyone who wants to show off their talent at an open mic event. Or for something even more interesting, follow the lead of Bandzoogle members ‘That Awful Rhythm’ and go head to head with other local talent. Battle of the bands or freestyle rap contests are a crowd pleaser and one many fans would love to attend.

    That Awful Rhythm

  16. Pre-gig meetup and after party - Give fans the opportunity to meet with the band before the concert starts. Let them be part of soundcheck, the pre-gig formalities and toast to a great show. Then afterwards, let them hang with you for the after party! BZ members, Members Only 80's Band, gets the party started with this cool festival pre-party.

    Members Only

  17. Live video recording party - If you plan on doing a live in concert CD or DVD, charge a small fee and invite fans to be part of your live video audience. Promote it as a chance to be part of the video and fans will be thrilled to be involved.

Once you get in the mode of selling tickets you can even combine a few ideas together like BZ member Patrick Lehman did here for his Album Launch party.

Not only is he selling tickets from his website, but he’s also setting some of the proceeds aside for charity, including special guests, and giving a free CD to each ticket holder.

Patrick Lehman


Making money as a musician can be 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!

 

[VIDEO] How to sell music online with Bandzoogle Part 5- Digital Products

In Part 5 of this video series, we show how easy it is to sell music videos, PDFs, sheet music and other digital products online with your Bandzoogle website.

Using our Store feature, your fans can shop securely using their credit card, debit card, or PayPal account. All merch sales go directly into your PayPal account and are commission-free!

With Bandzoogle’s Store feature, you can:

  • Sell files like music videos, PDFs, sheet music, and other digital products commission-free
  • Sell t-shirts, posters, mugs, and other band merch commission-free
  • Set the price
  • Offer sale prices (Pro members)
  • Track inventory (Pro members)
  • Choose between List & Grid display formats
Ready to sell digital products & band merch online commission-free with Bandzoogle? Sign up free now!

[VIDEO] How to sell music online with Bandzoogle Part 4- Download Codes

In Part 1 of this series, we showed you how to sell Digital Albums. Part 2 was about selling CDs & Vinyl Records. And Part 3 covered selling band merch through your website.

With Part 4, we show how easy it is to create download codes for your music through your Bandzoogle website. You can print them as stickers, or save the codes as a file and print your own download cards to sell at live shows. Download codes are also integrated with the mailing list, so you can send out email blasts with a built-in free track in just a few clicks!

With Bandzoogle’s music players, you can:

  • Create download codes (Pro members)

  • Sell digital albums, EPs, and individual tracks

  • Add lyrics to each song

  • Set custom preview clips

  • Set the price

  • Offer free downloads

  • Offer free downloads in exchange for an email address

  • Let fans pay what they want

  • Report sales to SoundScan (Pro members)

  • Accept album pre-orders (Pro members)

  • Offer sale prices on albums & songs (Pro members)

  • Easily share albums & songs to Facebook and Twitter

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

How to sell more beats online using discount codes

How to sell more beats online using discount codes

Bandzoogle’s latest Store feature update lets you create, manage, and share discount codes with your fans and customers who shop through your website. [New: Discount codes for your music & merch store]

As a beats producer, discount codes can be a helpful tool to increase your sales. Here are a few tips to get you started using discounts as part of your promotional strategy!

Why would you want to discount beats?

Providing exclusive rebates through a discount code can make new clients more keen to use your beats.  It can give you a pricing edge on the competition, and it can make your existing customers even more happy with the service you provide.  

Depending on the licenses you’re applying to your sales, beats can be a higher investment purchase. So a discount code can give customers the feeling of getting great value at a really good price, while helping you sell more of your beats.

And beat producers aren’t the only business that offers discounts on products they sell. It’s a tried and true method to help you clinch more sales, and make the relationship with your client base that much stronger.

What are the goals for your discount codes?

Having some idea of what you want your discount codes to do for you is a really good start. Some common goals when you’re going to share them out are:

1 - You’re looking to increase your short term sales.

2 - You’d like to reward loyal customers.

3 - You want to promote new beats.

Once you know your goals for your promo codes, you can plan how to distribute them.

1. Boosting short term sales

If your goal is to increase short term sales, then you’ll probably need a more ‘time based’ promotional campaign. Example: ‘For a limited time, get 15% off’ and send that out through an email blast and across social media.

[Why Email Newsletters Are Still a Vital Marketing Tool for Musicians]

The discount code option lets you manage multiple codes, and this includes the ability to set the codes as ‘active’ or ‘inactive’. So if your limited time offer is 1 week, when the time is up for your promotion, click the discount code option in the music feature, then the code in your list. From there you can then uncheck the ‘active’ option.

This will disable the code so it can’t be applied to future purchases from your site. Until of course, you decide to run another discount promotion and re-activate it!

2. Reward loyal customers

If you’re looking to reward your loyal customers with an exclusive discount, it will likely involve reaching out in an email campaign and providing the discount code in your message. Your loyal customers should DEFINITELY be on your list already!

All Bandzoogle plans come with a built-in mailing list tool! Sign up free now.

These are customers that you’re hoping will keep using your services and buying beats from you, so in your message:

3. Promote new beats

Top flight beat producers are constantly releasing new material on their websites. Promoting new material can give your customers the sense of ‘I found it first’. Giving them a deal on new tracks with a discount code can make those customers feel like ‘I found it first, AND I’m getting a great deal on it too!’

You should first consider posting all of your newer beats to their own separate page on your website with a track list. This way, you can simply swap out older tracks for new ones as you produce them. This can also add to the exclusive feeling when you let your customers know about your new productions.

Like discount promotions to loyal customers, sending a discount code from an email campaign is a great place to start. But you’ll probably want to go for more reach than just your mailing list. Be sure to also share your discount code across social media, like your Facebook and Twitter pages.  

Bandzoogle now provides an ‘in status’ player on Facebook. So when you promote the track and the promotion code by clicking a ‘share’ button on your music player, customers can preview your new beats right from their Facebook feed. Again, don’t forget to include the code with a quick commentary about the promotion and discount when you post the status!

Naming your discount codes

When you create a discount code, try to keep the name easy to remember. Your customers will find it pretty simple to apply a discount from your site checkout. But don’t make it harder by having them type out a long and complicated discount code!

Avoid special characters and spaces as well. This will help make sure there are no mistakes when entering it. And make sure the code reflects the promotion you’re running, like MORE4LESS for your short term goals. Or BEATSVIP for your loyal (and hopefully repeat) customers.

How much should you discount?

Every retailer that uses discounts, not just beat producers, can struggle with this. The core reason you’re providing a discount on anything you sell is based on your goals you set for the promotion.

Ultimately, you want to make a reasonably attractive offer without completely giving away your goods for free. So discounts - unless you’re going out of business - should never be excessively high.

Think about it. If you sell an exclusively licensed beat for $300, that’s not total profit you’re gaining.  There are costs involved, including your production time, equipment, and skills. So consider those when offering a discount. Anywhere from a 10-30% discount is reasonable, depending on the campaign goals.

Two rules to remember are: if you give too low of a discount, it’s not attractive enough to convince a customer to purchase. If the discount is too high, you might come across as too desperate for a sale.  

Your customers are paying for professional work. So slashing prices too heavily can make your customers think your product’s quality is not up to par. Be reasonable, without feeling like you won’t make anything in the process.

We hope this helps you sell more beats from your websites!

Build your own professional website in minutes and offer discount codes to sell your beats! Sign up free with Bandzoogle now.

Artist Website Design Inspiration: How to Create a Stand-out Digital Press Kit (EPK)

Website Design Inspiration: Stand-out Press Kit page (EPK)

Who: Simon Andersson
What: Country singer/songwiter
Where: Nashville, TN. by way of Sweden
Why their website rocks: When you first arrive at Simon's website you're hit with a clear, professional background image and custom logo. This matches the feature titles font to tie the site content together. 

As you scroll down, you'll notice Simon's included only quality images down the page. This makes visitors want to stick around and see more. Notice he's added text onto his professional images to serve as clickable buttons to navigate to other pages.  He also keeps the page flowing by breaking up sections into different rows and columns

All the pages on Simon's site are nicely organized but one stands out in particular - the Press page. Experienced music professionals are busy so when viewing a website they want to get in, grab what they need, and get out. Simon's page is set in a fashion that allows an industry pro to get a quick glimpse of everything he has to offer which shows he respects their time (bonus points!)

He starts the page with a nice, big video to introduce hismself and his music to his fans and music insiders. Next he offers two bright download sections - one for hi-res press photos and the other for a downloadable EPK (electronic press kit.) Just under that he adds a distinguished bio, his individual album tracks and a list of noteworthy performances.

Last, but definitely not least, he's included many linked press reviews. This part is important as music professionals like to work with someone who's already had a bit of experience communicating with the Press. Looks like Simon's built a great rapport with bloggers, journalists and reporters as he has many articles to show for it. 

[The 8 things that should be in every band's digital press kit]

Country singer/songwriter Simon Andersson Press page

We love the way Simon has designed his website to stand out with fantastic images, organized sections and an effective Press page. Well done!

Check out his website at http://simonandersson.net

Catch the attention of industry & media with a professional digital press kit integrated onto your own Bandzoogle website in minutes. Sign up free now!

[VIDEO] How to sell music online with Bandzoogle Part 3- Band Merch

In Part 1 of this series, we showed you how to sell Digital Albums. Part 2 was about selling CDs & Vinyl Records. Now in Part 3, we show how easy it is to sell physical & digital band merch online with your Bandzoogle website.

Using our Store feature, your fans can shop securely using their credit card, debit card, or PayPal account. All merch sales go directly into your PayPal account and are commission-free!



With Bandzoogle’s Store feature, you can:

  • Sell t-shirts, posters, mugs, and other merch commission-free
  • Sell digital files like music videos, PDFs, sheet music, and other digital media commission-free
  • Set the price
  • Add variations to products like sizes & colors 
  • Charge shipping or use PayPal’s shipping settings
  • Offer sale prices (Pro members)
  • Track inventory (Pro members)
  • Choose between List & Grid display formats
Ready to sell your band merch online commission-free with Bandzoogle? Sign up free now!