The Bandzoogle Blog

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

3 Pillars to Selling Your Band Without Feeling Like a Sleazy Salesman

This is a guest post from Brad Lazarus. He is the founder of GiggingSuccess.com, a blog and podcast dedicated to helping musicians in cover bands increase their bookings and multiply the income they receive from them (listen to his interview with our Director of Artist Relations Dave Cool here).

Although this blog post was originally meant for cover bands, *every* band needs to sell themselves to bookers and clients at some point, so the advice he offers is relevant to all musicians. Enjoy! 


For many bands the thought of ‘selling’ and ‘sales’ fills them with dread and fear.

Words like pushy and sleazy come to mind. That feeling of nervousness, sweaty palms and dry mouth is enough to make you never pick up the phone again.

It doesn’t have to be that way though.

In this post I’m going to walk you through a much softer and gentler approach to selling your cover band over the phone or face to face. More on that a little later.

Your band is so good it sells itself, right?

If you’re reading this then it’s likely that something you’re doing to get bookings isn’t working quite how you want it to.

If that’s the case then you need to do things differently. Doing the same thing will only get you the same results.

Most bands approach ‘sales’ all wrong. It’s hit or miss at best.

They either volunteer unwanted and mis-timed information in the form of a ‘pitch’, or just don’t do any sales at all because they think their band ‘sells itself’.

The problem is that as soon as you start to volunteer info that sounds salesy then your prospects barriers shoot up in defense.

If you could see them on the other end of the phone then you’d probably notice them recoiling backwards!

At that point they’ve likely stopped actually listening to what you’re saying so you haven’t got a hope of getting the booking!

Why You Need to Get To Grips With The Art of Authentic Sales

It’s really worth taking the time to get to grips with some basic modern day sales techniques that DON’T sound sleazy or make you feel like a dodgy salesman.

When you learn and implement these techniques you can expect to:

  1. More effectively communicate your value to your prospect
  2. Book more clients.
  3. Your value will be communicated without you having to explain it
  4. You’ll never get stuck with what to say
  5. …and you’ll actually have fun doing it

The 3 Pillars to Selling Without Feeling Like a Sleazy Salesman

Here’s my three simple steps to getting a booking over the phone or face to face:

  1. Ask questions
  2. LISTEN
  3. Be helpful

Lets go into a little more detail on each:

  1. Ask questions: By asking questions you show you’re interested in your prospects event. Moroever you actually learn about their event and how your band might work best for them. Ask questions about band related things but also ask about non band related stuff. Show a genuine interest in their event.
  2. Listen: Asking questions only works when you actually listen to the answers. By listening I don’t mean just waiting until they finish speaking and then saying your ‘piece’. I mean actually hearing what they have to say and then repeating it back to them in the form of a solution to their problem. By repeating their words back to them you have demonstrated to them that you’ve understood their problems. This is hugely powerful.
  3. Be helpful: Put aside your agenda for a short while and start to help your prospect. The simplest thing to do here is to just give great answers to their questions. Dig deep into your experience and pull out some insights into events that they might otherwise not have picked up elsewhere. Secondly you can refer them to some helpful blog posts or better still create a short guide that covers some FAQS they may have or offers some inspiring tips. Being helpful naturally puts your name top of their minds.

These can all be deceptively hard to do especially when you’ve got minimal time to speak with prospects. At first it can feel unnatural as your instinct will be one of ‘I have to book this’. But when you stop thinking about selling yourself and start asking genuine questions, listening intently and helping them you’ll begin to get more bookings and it will be much easier.

They will only understand the value your band brings to their event when you’ve taken the time to understand your prospects problems and needs. To do this you need to take the time to listen. Really listen.

Once you’ve listened and understood only then can you start to lead your prospect towards the sale in a way that suggests you can solve their problems.

Here’s a good example:

I recently spoke with a bride who said she wanted the band to play during dinner, for an one hour after dinner and then the DJ would take over.

Nothing new there.

I continued to probe a bit and ask a few more questions:
What time did she expect guests to arrive?
When did she expect dinner to be finished?
What was her thinking behind having a full band play during dinner?
What time she did expect dinner to be finished?
etc etc.

Getting the answers to these questions enabled me to start piecing the story of the evening together.

It became apparent that there was only really going to be about 45 minutes of playing time for the DJ.

We’d been on the phone to each other a good ten minutes at this point and rapport between us was good. As a result she shared her DJ and band budget with me.

I suggested to her that rather than the band play over dinner and one set after dinner she should consider the band playing both their sets after dinner. That way she’d be getting the most value from the band.

If she did do this the DJ would only have an hour slot. She’d be better off having the band play music through their PA system for that hour.

Without hint from me she decided to do away with the DJ and put the DJ budget towards the band.

A week later she came back to me and booked the band to perform two sets after dinner. She also thanked me for being so helpful. That’s a ‘win win’ scenario if ever there was one.

Because I’d taken the time to ask questions and listen to the answers I discovered an opportunity to help her and by doing so I’d booked the band.

There was no awkward, uncomfortable hard selling going on. I just listened and offered sensible practical help and advice.

I clearly demonstrated that I understood her and for that we were rewarded with the booking.


Are you ready to take your cover band to the next level? Download my free guide ‘Cover Band Essentials - 5 Free & Easy Killer Tactics & Strategies To Get More Bookings & Dominate Your Competition In The Current Economy’ here.

Music Website Inspiration: Social Media Integration

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

Who: Chelsea Rivers 
What: R&B Singer/Songwriter
Where: Philadelphia, PA
Why her website rocks: Chelsea’s website is a great example of how to drive fans to your website by using multiple social media streams. She uses our built-in YouTube, Twitter and Instagram features to display the latest news and updates right up front. The large Home page video, and a great slideshow background make this site visually interesting, with great social media integration.

On a side note, she’s also got awesome hair, and the girl can sing! 

Check out her site at: www.chelseariversmusic.com

How to make money by leveraging other arts with your music

Piano and camera

Many musicians are multi-passionate when it comes to the arts. Those who love to sing, play instruments, and write music are the same ones you’ll usually find painting, dancing, taking beautiful pictures or writing books. It’s all that creativity swirling around inside and it comes out in various forms.

Getting your music out to the world is a challenging endeavor, but once you have a bit of stability in your music career, here are a few more areas to consider when thinking about making money with your talent:

Music and Photography

  • It’s likely you’ve made many connections while creating music or out at gigs. If you’re multi-talented and photography is your other love, you may be in a great position to take promotional photos for other bands and musicians. Musicians are always in need of pro photos for their website, flyers, Facebook posts and announcements. Bands are also in need of awesome action shots while they’re playing, recording or writing. This is a great way to make some extra money while staying in the music scene.

  • If you’re a musician and photographer, plan a show to display your photos in a slideshow set to your music. Patrons can buy your art and music at the same time.

  • Another option is to align yourself with a photographer with a similar style as your music, and offer your music as accompaniment to their photographic display at art shows. A good example is the legendary Ansel Adams who hired a couple of composers to put together a 22-minute jazz musical selection to go along with his photo slideshow.

  • Create unique music videos by piecing together multiple photos that sync with song lyrics. This will show off your music and photography at the same time. The video can link to your website where visitors can buy both your music and photos.

Music and Videography

  • Similar to making videos using photos, you can also use video clips with music to create something truly extraordinary like Pop Danthology. It takes creator, Daniel Kim, around 180 hours a year to create but it generates a lot of buzz and traffic back to his website. You can do something similar with a compilation of your songs or songs in your genre (with proper clearance) to gain new fans and visitors to your website.

  • Many business owners and entrepreneurs are now venturing into video to talk about their products and services. This has created a large demand for music clips for the intro, background music, and sound effects. Services like jamendo.com, audiomicro.com and audiojungle.net offer visitors the opportunity to download royalty free music to add to videos. You can sign up to be a seller to earn a percentage each time your track is downloaded.

  • YouTube also offers video creators the option to download royalty free music right from YouTube. Although these are free tracks, it’s a great way to get your name out there by submitting your own tracks for the YouTube library.

  • For a unique gift idea, you can offer fans customized songs to go with home videos, wedding videos, or other special occasions. As long as there is love, there will be a need for sentimental music to go with it.

Music and Visual Arts

  • A big night for artists is when their work is finally being shown at an art gala or showing. Align yourself with the artsy crowd and maybe pick up a gig to play live music while guests peruse the artwork. On a somewhat related topic, our CEO David wrote a blog post about your music, art galleries, and Ikea (!) a few years ago.

  • Paint and Sip (wine) parties are a new trend, so get in on the new craze by adding music to the mix. Host a concert and paint night at your home or local venue.

  • When playing local gigs, invite artists to come paint their canvases while you play. This makes for a fun experience for your fans and also puts you in touch with the fans of those artists. You may gain new fans that may not have otherwise heard your music at another venue.

  • Playing art festivals puts you around other creatives so it’s not only a great gig, but a good networking opportunity as well. Check local town and city calendars to see where you might be able to book your spot to play for the art crowd.  A great example of this is the Mural Festival, in Montreal, which pairs bands with public art and graffiti painters.

  • For a unique take on merging art and music, take a gander at what Markus Reugels is doing to combine the two. He’s taken paint and made art from techno baselines. This is a truly original piece of art that many art and music lovers would love to buy.

Music and Fashion

  • Fashion shows have really evolved into large events for designers. Many times they hire bands to play live during the runway show. Get your name out there in the fashion world and extra points if you wear the styles created by the designer.

  • Music and fashion have always seemed to be a perfect pair. If you have an equal love for both and have a bit of a following, consider creating your own fashion line or look that compliments your music. Bandzoogle member/artist-come-designer Morgan Joanel did just that!

Music and Writing

  • If you’re writing music, chances are the writing bug is already in you to branch out to other writing opportunities. Use your music as inspiration to write poems, blogs, or even books. Musiq Soulchild, writer of the love song “143”, did this by writing a book about love and relationships. If you or your band are particularly known for a topic or style, consider writing a book about it.

Music and Dance

  • Check with dance companies to see how you can compose for a customized dance event. Or even better, play live for the dancers performance.

  • You can use your Bandzoogle website (or make a second one) to sell your compositions. Bandzoogle member soundFORMovement has been seeing great success doing just that.

Music and Fitness

  • Nowadays everyone is a fitness guru, and fitness videos are popping up everywhere. This is good news for artists who create upbeat songs that can work well in power workouts.

  • On the flipside, if you are into creating peaceful instrumentals, your music is a perfect fit for Yoga and meditation videos.

These are just a few ways to use your creative juices to explore other money making opportunities. Can you think of any others?

Musicians: Create An Experience Before a Website

This is a guest post from Ethan Schiff (CEO of New Torch Entertainment), from the Music Marketing Money blog. In this post, Ethan stresses the importance of creating a world for fans to enter before taking care of all of those other tasks on your to do list.


As a new artist, it’s very easy to buy into the mindset that there’s a list of things you must do to compete in today’s music industry. This makes sense. Artists are, in fact, not solely artists as much as creative entrepreneurs.

Your Instagram page might see twice as much traffic as your official website, and your recent Tumblr post about a charity you support might resonate with fans more than your latest press release. The industry is changing. Digital is everything and everything is digital. It’s all on you. All of a sudden, launching your project is very overwhelming.

Typically I see new artists begin their new project with some sort of list. We’ll call this LIST A.

LIST A:
• Make Facebook page
• Make Twitter page
• Make Instagram page
• Immediately ask friends and family to Like/Follow/Share these pages
• Make MailChimp account
• Find a web designer to build a website (Editor's note: you can skip this with Bandzoogle, of course!)
• Find a graphic designer to make a logo
• Find a publicist
• Find a manager
• Find a merch company to make t-shirts
• Book as many shows as possible
• Hope for the best

Doing these things is of course not a bad thing. But doing them first misses the point. Creating LIST A is easy because everyone is writing the same list. As an alternative, here’s a list of questions (we’ll call it LIST B) that are much tougher to answer:

LIST B:
• What is my end goal?
• What do I care about, not as an “artist”, but as a person?
• What do my “fans” care about, as people?
• What level of transparency am I comfortable with?
• What visual aesthetic do I identify with?
• What will phase one, two and three of my live show look like?
• Is my current music actually the first impression I want to make, or should I keep writing?

And perhaps most difficultly yet importantly:

• What kind of experience do I want to create?

The most important thing to realize here is that you should not make LIST A if you don’t know the answers to LIST B. The second informs the first. How can you begin talking to your fans if you don’t know what you believe in?

The question of experience is critical. When planning new projects, it’s important to remember that a common thread between many of the most recognizable and successful artists is that they are able to create a world for fans to enter. This concept transcends genre, budget and even your recorded music.

When you see Katy Perry’s live show, you are absolutely and completely in a world that she created. But it extends beyond that into everything she does – from the way she tweets to her weather reporting skills.

Tom Waits does the exact same thing, possibly better than anyone else. If you watch his compelling live performances or this brilliant press conference for a minute, you’ll find yourself almost in a trance, realizing that you are in Tom’s world and not your own.

Beyonce is the queen, shining down on everyone else, and you’re lucky if you’re able to enter her world. Amanda Palmer is the artist of the people. Her world is completely accessible. You can hear the names Radiohead or Jay-Z and associate it with some sort of feeling and environment beyond your own.

As a new artist, your challenge is to truly identify and articulate the experience you are trying to create, regardless of scale. After firmly knowing the answer to that question, you will embark on your journey with significantly more clarity and confidence than ever imagined.


Ethan Schiff is co-founder and CEO of New Torch Entertainment, a New York-based music management, publicity and consulting company. He can be found on Twitter @EthanSchiff.

Musician Website Inspiration: Perfect Digital Press Kit

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

Who: Anne Janelle  
What: Contemporary Folk
Where: Brookfield, Nova Scotia, Canada
Why her website rocks: We recently posted The 8 things that should be in every band's digital press kit on our blog with tips for how to put together a press kit on your website. Well, Bandzoogle member Anne Janelle attended our Website Derby at the Folk Alliance conference this week, and we were blown away by the one she has on her site!

On top of having an incredibly well-organized site with great photos on each page, Anne created a perfect digital press kit page. We especially love that she has hi-res photos with vertical, horizontal, and black & white versions, giving journalists and bookers all the options they need for images.

Plus, she has a downloadable Onesheet with great press quotes, notable performances, and her full contact info. Really nicely done Anne!

Visit her site at: www.annejanelle.com

*If you’re in Kansas City for Folk Alliance, be sure to pass by our booth to get your website reviewed and join us for a member meetup Saturday night! Details here.

Musicians: 10 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your YouTube Channel

YouTube is becoming an increasingly important source of revenue for musicians. In this guest post, TuneCore Music Publishing offers some great tips on how to get the most out of your YouTube Channel. 


In case you haven’t heard, you can earn money when your sound recordings are used anywhere on YouTube. You can earn money when other people use your sound recordings in their videos and on your own YouTube videos. TuneCore can collect all this revenue for you. By signing up for TuneCore’s YouTube Sound Recording collection service, YouTube’s Content ID system will identify your sound recordings and your revenue everywhere it can be found. TuneCore gets the revenue from YouTube and deposits it directly into your TuneCore account!

With these new opportunities to make money from your music on YouTube and grow your brand, it’s important to have a well-developed YouTube channel. To help you kick your channel into shape, we’ve outlined some best practices designed to increase your channel’s appeal and effectiveness.

But first things first: If you don’t already have a YouTube channel, go to YouTube.com to create your artist page and start uploading great, engaging content.

All set?  Good.

#1. Give a good first impression.

Make sure you have a great thumbnail for each video. It’s the first thing people will see when they search for your videos, so make it appealing.  Each time you upload a video on your channel, you can choose from three thumbnail options.

#2. Be smart with your title and video description.

Your title is of course important for intriguing viewers, but it can also improve your search results. The very first term should be relevant and you should follow that with what is featured in the video. While your title should be clear and concise, the video description is where you can go in depth, providing insight into you as an artist. Go ahead and include your lyrics in the description—if a fan knows the chorus but not the song title, including lyrics will help them find your video.

#3. Set up your tent.

Tent pole content is the BIG EVENT or piece of content that you will build around. If the launch of your music video is the tent pole event, behind-the-scenes videos, in-studio sessions, direct-to-fan announcements and other promotions should all support the major launch. Plan out your calendar with these larger videos throughout the year, and build the roads leading to them with additional posts.

#4. Remember that YouTube is a social network.

According to recent stats, YouTube is more popular than Facebook for teens. YouTube is interactive. It’s not skyping-with-a-friend interactive, but the comments section reflects the real-time evolution of conversations. Artists should be engaging with fans after posting a video. And make sure you keep revisiting the comments section, responding to your viewers who just saw your video for the first time.

#5. Pick a winner.

Are you running a contest to give away tickets or merch? Make sure you use YouTube as a communication channel.  Create video announcements encouraging fans to enter, and announce the winner with a filmed congratulations!

#6. Create call-to-action videos.

Consider making a few quick videos to encourage your fans to take action. Ask people to vote, buy your single on release day, go support another artist’s site, or ask fans to come out to see you on tour. Speaking of touring, how about making a video for each city; you can be creative and ask for local tips in the comment section, or announce where you’ll be before the show for a fan meet-up. Use your videos to create opportunities.

#7. Annotate, Annotate, Annotate.

Add comments, directions, websites, purchase links—this is your video, after all! Use it as a billboard to advertise. And definitely direct fans to subscribe to your channel so you can keep them coming back for more. Bonus: annotations have been shown to improve total watch time.

#8. Play around (with playlists).

Create playlists of your videos instead of having a series of isolated videos. Start with your most recent and most popular videos to get your fans hooked, then let them cycle through new and old material.

#9. Hang out.  It’s work.

Make use of Google Hangouts, especially around your video premiers.  It’s also possible to set it up so you can stream your hangouts on your YouTube channel where your subscribers can tune in and participate.  (This functionality does require an application—INDMUSIC can help you make this happen.)  Have a way for fans to submit to be one of the few people in the hangout and not just a commenter. And always share the link to the stream to expand the hangout. These personal connections elevate your online events.

If you have the type of fans that talk and post about you in their YouTube videos, jump in their comments section and encourage them to join the hangout, or if they’re the host, crash their own hangout.  You can also try surprising fans with a video dedicated to their page.

Important tip! Make sure your Google + account is integrated and linked to your YouTube page.

#10. Timing is key.

If you’re busy promoting your music, you’re being featured on music blogs, your album just came out, or you have a song on a TV show, make sure you have relevant content on YouTube as well. Fans are going to be searching for your music.  Even if you don’t have a “professional” video done, throw together a lyric video.

Ready to take your YouTube channel to the next level? Try out the tips above, and let us know in the comments if they work for you (or if you have more tips to add). And make sure to check out how we can help you make more money on YouTube.

EDM Musician Website Inspiration: Amazing Header Slideshow

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

Who: Zardonic  
What: Metal EDM
Where: Planet Earth
Why his website rocks: When landing on Zardonic’s website, you’re immediately brought into his world of metal EDM.

Using our Manhattan theme, Zardonic added his logo to the header, and then created an amazing header slideshow using some great live images that show him in action. The mask, the stage production, and of course, the incredible crowd shots, all help to paint a picture of an artist who has been described as "Skrillex meets Slayer".

Great job with your site Zardonic, and we’re looking forward to those masks being available in your Store!

Check out his site at: www.zardonic.net

Free Website Reviews at Folk Alliance + Kansas City Member Meetup!

We’re heading to Kansas City for one of our favorite events, the International Folk Alliance Conference!

The conference is happening February 18-22 at the Westin Crown Center Hotel. Our Director of Artist Relations Dave Cool will be offering free website reviews, hosting our signature Website Derby panel, as well as organizing a members meetup. Here’s where to find him:

Website Derby

Thursday, February 19
10:00am (Penn Valley)

Dave will host this panel which will feature live website reviews for musicians, as well as for festivals, venues and presenters. Joining Dave to help critique websites will be Cindy Cogbill from Folk Alliance, and artist/designer/Bandzoogle member Alex Vissia.

Free Website Reviews

Dave will also be offering free website reviews to attendees of the conference during the following times at the Bandzoogle table:

Thursday, Friday & Saturday:

10am-1pm (Mezzanine in front of waterfall)
2pm-5pm (Exhibit Hall)

Kansas City Member Meetup

While in town for Folk Alliance, we’re also going to host a member meetup!

Please join our Director of Artist Relations Dave Cool to talk music and websites. It’s a great opportunity to meet and network with other members, find out what’s coming up next for Bandzoogle, and to let us know what features *you* would like to see us build. And the best part? Drinks are on us!

Details:

Saturday, February 21 @ 7pm
The Brasserie at Westin Crown Center Hotel (1 Pershing Road)

Please RSVP if you’ll be attending, space is limited.

Hope to see you there!

New: Automatic inventory tracking for your band merch

Great news if you’re selling physical items (CDs, vinyl, merch, tickets): you can now set "in stock" quantities and manage your inventory in the Store feature!  

More and more artists are selling limited-edition items like signed albums and posters, or even a one of a kind, hand crafted items. Now you can set a quantity of items to be "in stock" and you won’t need to worry about someone trying to purchase an item after it sells out.  It also works well for things like tickets with a limit number of seats available.

Whenever a fan purchases an item from your store, the inventory will automatically decrease. When there are no items left, it will display as “out of stock” on your website and you’ll know it’s time to reorder.

And as always, with our Store feature you get to keep 100% of your sales!

Inventory tracking is a PRO feature, a plan that includes other awesome stuff like album pre-orders, selling PDFs and videos, sale pricing, and creating unlimited download codes.

How it works

  • In the Pages tab, click add feature, and select “Store”, or select an existing Store feature in your pages.

  • Click add product, and choose to create a new product, or add an existing one

  • Set Track Inventory to Yes, and enter the number of items you have available in stock.

  • If you have variations of your product available, you can also track the amount of stock available for each variation.

  • Click Save.

It’s that simple. Once you sell out of something, simply update the inventory for the item in your Store when you have new items available.


Let us know if this is an option that will help you better manage your sales. What types of merch items are you selling in your Store? Any other commerce feature or option you’d like us to build? Let us know in the comments!

Band Website Inspiration: Learn from Grammy Nominees!

With over 25,000 bands and musicians using Bandzoogle to power their websites, we see artists of all genres, and at different levels of their careers. Everything from garage bands rehearsing to play their first show, unsigned bands who just self-released their debut album, to artists signed to labels with many albums already under their belts.

The Grammy Awards are coming up this weekend, and we’re thrilled that several Bandzoogle members have been nominated! So we wanted to congratulate them, and also highlight their sites so you guys can learn a few website tips from some of the very best musicians around.

Who: Brandy Clark   
What: Country Singer-songwriter
Where: Nashville, TN
Why her website rocks: Brandy Clark is up for *two* Grammys, for Best New Artist & Best Country Album. Incredible. She’ll also be performing during the broadcast alongside Dwight Yoakam!

Brandy’s website is an example of how one nice professional photo can make for a simple, but great looking website. And we love how she puts her best foot forward on the Homepage with news about the Grammy nominations, an appearance on Good Morning America, and Late Night with Seth Meyers. Clearly it’s been a great year so far for Brandy. Congrats and good luck this weekend!

Check out her website at: www.brandyclarkmusic.com

Who: Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
What: Jazz Ensemble
Where: New York, NY
Why their website rocks: We love the page on The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra’s website dedicated to their latest album, which was nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album!

That page gives tons of context for the album. They explain the album's concept, who played on it, and include video interviews about the album, as well as photos from recording sessions. Really nicely done guys, we’ll be rooting for you this weekend!

Check out their site at: www.vanguardjazzorchestra.com

Who: T. Graham Brown
What: Gospel/Soul Singer-Songwriter
Where: Arabi, GA
Why his website rocks: T. Graham Brown was nominated for Best Roots Gospel Album, which is obvious as soon as you land on his site and see the special header image. A great way to put your best foot forward!

We also love that T. Graham Brown created a page just for Grammy voters. It has a full stream of the nominated album, biographical information about himself and the producer, as well as a personal video message from T. Graham Brown. We hope you bring home the gold T. Graham Brown!

Visit his site at www.tgrahambrown.com