The Bandzoogle Blog

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

Musician Website Inspiration: Great Mobile Layout

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

Who: Lyris Hung  
What: Violinist / Producer
Where: New York City, NY
Why her website rocks: Lyris is using our Manhattan theme, which is just one of our 100+ mobile-ready themes. We love how she keeps it simple with the content and layout on her Homepage. This really translates well when viewing her site on a mobile device, and makes it so visitors won’t have to scroll down forever to see relevant content.

You can press play on the site-wide music player to listen to her music while you browse through her latest blog posts, signup to her mailing list, and check out her upcoming shows. Speaking of which, looks like touring with the Indigo Girls is going to keep Lyris pretty busy the next few months!

And if you click on the “hamburger” menu when viewing on a mobile phone, visit her Bio page and you’ll see that she not only tours regularly with the Indigo Girls, but has also played with hip-hop giant Jay-Z and Beyoncé too! Pretty awesome.

Check out her site (from your phone!) at: www.lyrishung.com

 

Get More Gigs: Growing Your Band’s Web Presence

This is a guest post from GigSalad. GigSalad offers promotional tools and exposure to help performers get gigs. All kinds of event planners and talent buyers use GigSalad to book talent for corporate, private, and public gigs. Their members get booked for venues, weddings, corporate events, birthday parties, festivals, TV shows, commercials, movies, and more.


As a seasoned musician, you’ve probably noticed a shift in the way people are discovering bands and new music. With so many sharing platforms out there, the web is crammed with musicians trying to make their way to the top. More than ever, the difference between getting a gig or not very often depends on how easy it is to find your music on the internet. Simply having a website isn’t enough to make your band stand out. The hard truth is, if you can’t catch a user’s attention during their clicking frenzy, you’ll get lost in the noise. Here are a few things you can do to help grow your band’s web presence, attract new listeners, and get more gigs.

Create a straightforward website

When someone visits your website, your services should be obvious to them. Answer the questions your clients would want to know.

What are you offering me? Why do I need you? What makes you different from your competitors?

But, don’t just tell them; show them. Use photos, videos, and audio clips to engage your site visitors. With each element, however, you must follow a few guidelines:

Display your latest high-quality photos. Great imagery can grab the user’s attention, but make sure that the images you’re using are as relevant and recent as possible. If your band has a logo, make it visible, but it shouldn’t be the main focal point. Event hosts looking to book a band for personal events are typically more attracted to photos of actual people rather than graphics. And try not to go too avant-garde here. Just a clean, simple photo showing all of your band members will be enough.  

Share a video performance. For musicians, videos are key for showing both your sound and stage presence. But much like your photos, make sure you’re providing high-quality footage. Don’t worry, there’s no need to buy a professional production camera. Here are a few affordable apps and tools for your iPhone that can help boost the value of your videos:

  • Videon -one of the best all-in-one video capturing and editing apps.

  • MoviePro -an advanced video recording app with higher resolutions and fully manual controls, but no video editing component.

  • GorillaPod -a phone or camera stand that provides excellent stability while filming.

  • iRig Mic -a solution for improving the quality of audio recordings on your iPhone.

Keep your videos as up-to-date as possible. By always having fresh content, you can avoid confusion as to how many pieces are in the band, what music you typically play, and if your style is suited to the client’s event.

Keep your writing concise. Once you’ve piqued interest with great visuals, be sure to follow through with your writing. Ideally, you’ll want to keep the text short, but include the essentials: the services you offer and how they can book you for their gig.

Find a great website builder. Fortunately, you don’t have to be tech-savvy to have an impressive website for your act. Website builders are typically mobile-friendly, offer stylistic flexibility, and make it easy to plug your media and information into a beautifully designed template. Most of these services are highly cost-effective and will even provide hands-on support services. We recommend Bandzoogle because it’s built specifically for musicians, making it easy to add downloadable music files, manage gig calendars, and sell band merch.

Research online platforms with great SEO

Search Engine Optimization refers to the practices that improve your site’s ranking in top search engines. SEO can be a beast to understand and conquer, but the benefits of this process are incredibly important to your web presence. Because these practices (and even the definition of SEO) are ever-evolving, it is continuously being researched and analyzed. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to dive into SEO analysis. However, you may want to consider linking up with sites that already have the expertise. There are platforms specifically for entertainers that have already built up high credibility in search engines and allow you to showcase yourself as a professional working musician.

For example, GigSalad.com is a prime spot for musicians to promote their talents and facilitate bookings. Not only can it help land you in a top position on Google, but it also brings in thousands of event planners every day who are searching for local bands to book for their events. So you will also find an influx in gigs just by being a part of the community.

Maintain Online Professionalism

Sometimes, when a performer receives a quote request through their website or booking marketplace, the inquiry is viewed as more of a “lead” than an actual person requesting information. Dehumanizing these requests can influence the way you interact with potential clients as well as the etiquette you’ve developed in your face-to-face encounters. It’s important to remember that our actions affect our reputation and potential for referrals. Word travels fast – especially on the internet, which allows for uncensored and instant communication. Here are a few ways to maintain optimal online professionalism:

  1. Respond to online inquiries quickly. Performers who deliver quick responses are typically the ones to land the gig. Set up your website or booking platform to allow quote requests to be sent to you via email. This way, you can access them from your phone and respond from anywhere.

  2. Use correct grammar and punctuation. This goes for all outgoing emails, your social media posts, your blog, and any direct correspondence with clients. Your language is directly linked to your level of professionalism.

  3. Be courteous. Some musicians have an ego about the types of gigs they’ll perform, and that’s fine – but your communication with event hosts should never indicate this in a negative way. Regardless of whether or not a potential gig is your ideal situation, remember that this may just be a milestone event for the person contacting you. Don’t belittle that. Also be aware that the performer working without rigid gig requirements has the fullest gigging calendar, the most networking opportunities, and typically, the best reviews.

  4. Respond even if you’re unable to make the gig. It’s frustrating for anyone to ask a question and wait a while before realizing they’re not getting a response. The majority of the quote requests you get will be associated with a specific event date, so the event host can’t afford to waste time.

The more professional and courteous you are with your online and offline communication, the more positive reviews you’ll receive. Great reviews can do wonders to make you stand out among your competition, and event hosts are more likely to book you after hearing from previous satisfied clients.

Making a living as a musician isn’t an easy task, but with the right combination of professionalism, talent, and web visibility, you’ll position yourself to land gigs with ease.

Find out how GigSalad can help you book more gigs by visiting their website at www.GigSalad.com

Online Marketing Workshop + Member Meetup in San Diego

After the ASCAP EXPO in Hollywood, we’ll be heading straight down to San Diego to give an online marketing workshop for musicians and meet up with local members there! We hope you’ll join us for the workshop and networking afterwards. Here are the details for the event:

Online Marketing for Musicians:
How to Gain More Fans & Generate More Income for Your Career

There’s no shortage of online promotional tools for musicians, so it can be daunting to figure out just how to use them effectively to promote your music. Which social media sites should you be active on? Do you still need your own website? Are mailing lists outdated?

Join Dave and Allison from musician marketing and website platform Bandzoogle, as well as musician Brad Perry, to discuss how to use all of these tools in a cohesive strategy to gain more fans, and generate more income for your career.

Food and drinks available for purchase at the venue. Following the workshop, stick around to network and have drinks with the panelists and attendees!

Presented by the San Diego Songwriters Guild in association with Bandzoogle.

When:
Sunday, May 3
6:00pm (Registration begins at 5:30pm)

Where:
Mainstream Bar and Grill
13385 Poway Road
Poway, CA 92064

Cost: $5

Click here to let us know you’ll be attending!

Submit Your Site for the Website Demolition Derby at ASCAP EXPO!


Bandzoogle is going Hollywood! We’ll be at the ASCAP EXPO at the Loews Hollywood Hotel April 30th to May 2nd to host our signature “Website Demolition Derby” panel. We’ll also be offering free website reviews for conference attendees, and hosting a Los Angeles member meetup! Here are the details:

Website Demolition Derby

Saturday, May 2nd
1:10pm - 2:10pm (Hollywood Ballroom B/C)

This eternally awesome panel will offer live, no-holds-barred critiques of real websites. Our panelists will assess design, organization, content and functionality. How does the website fit with the artist's overall online strategy, and how successfully does it achieve the artist’s goals?

Our experts have worked with hundreds of songwriters and musicians (including themselves), from major label superstars to secluded basement composers. They know all about website best practices, and they’re deeply allergic to bad design, music that auto-starts, Flash widgets, and unreadable fonts.

Panelists have been instructed to leave all diplomacy aside, so if you’re courageous enough to submit your website for their scrutiny, send a note to: dcool[at]bandzoogle.com

Note: you must ATTEND the panel to have your site reviewed!

Moderator: Dave Cool (Director of Artist Relations, Bandzoogle)
Panelists: Ari Herstand (Musician, Blogger at Ari's Take/Digital Music News), Cheryl B. Engelhardt (Creative Career Coach, Branding Strategist at CBE Music/In The Key Of Success), Rebecca Calejo (Sr. Director, Partnerships & Biz Dev, Section 101), Delaney Gibson (Independent singer/songwriter).

Free Website Reviews at the Bandzoogle Booth 

If you would rather not have your website reviewed in front of a live audience, that’s ok too! Just drop by the Bandzoogle booth between 9AM and 5PM during the ASCAP EXPO and we’ll gladly review your site.

Los Angeles Member Meetup!

While in town for the ASCAP EXPO, we’re going to have a little informal meetup for Bandzoogle members!

Please join our Director of Artist Relations Dave Cool and Allison from the Support team to 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 next. And best of all: drinks are on us!

Details:
Saturday, May 2 @ 5:30pm
H2 Kitchen & Bar at the Loews Hollywood Hotel (Lobby lounge)

Please RSVP to confirm if you'll be attending.

We hope to see you there!

Musician Website Inspiration: Mailing List Call-to-Action

Mylets Music Website

Who: Henry Kohen aka Mylets

What: Loop rock

Where: Los Angeles

Why his website rocks: We love Mylets website for a few reasons: it features a fantastically streamlined design that is not only simple and sleek, but also gives you a sense of who he is through his excellent header images.

With such an effective design, Mylets is able to really focus his website visitors attention on the main feature (or call-to-action) of his landing page: the mailing list signup form. There’s nothing like growing a solid mailing list to reach your fans to inform them of your upcoming shows, good news, or most importantly, once your new album is ready!

Check it out at http://myletsmusic.com

Bandzoogle Hosting Website Demolition Derby at Chicago Lake FX Summit + Expo

This week our Director of Artist Relations Dave Cool is heading to Chicago for the Lake FX Summit + Expo.  

Presented by Google, it’s a free conference for artists, creative professionals, and entrepreneurs. The inaugural four-day event, running April 16-19, will feature keynotes by industry leaders, professional development panels and workshops, networking opportunities, music and film showcases, an Expo resource fair, and a marketplace featuring local artisans.

We’re thrilled to have been invited to host our signature “Website Demolition Derby” panel at the summit. Dave Cool will be moderating and will be joined by some amazing panelists. It’s open to artists of all disciplines, so they’ll be reviewing websites for not only musicians, but filmmakers, as well as visual artists and performers as well!

Here are the details:

Website Demolition Derby

Friday, April 17 @ 12pm
Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North

Live critiques of artists' websites! In this interactive session, artists in all disciplines submit their websites or social media pages for review, then each site's design, organization, content, and functionality will be assessed.

Speakers: Dave Cool, Bandzoogle (moderator); Chandler Coyle, Berklee Online / Music Geek Services; Matt Dennewitz, Pitchfork; Tom Giles, StageBloc.

Artists/creative entrepreneurs can email their websites in advance to Dave Cool at dcool[at]bandzoogle.com

SEO for Musicians: 3 Tips to Optimize Your Website Content

Music website SEO tips: website content

Making your website rank well in search engines can seem like a daunting task. Now more than ever, people look to Google to find out information, and it’s important for your music website to work in search engines.

Not sure where to begin? Even starting with a few small things can help with the search engine optimization (also called SEO) for your website. Let’s look at a few quick ways to update the text on your website to help it rank better in search results!

Content update 1: Page title

Writing a descriptive page title tells Google what your website’s pages are about, and improves the chances of matching a search query.

Let's look at Bandzoogle members Gladstone Ave, a new band just starting out. They have a generic band name and no custom Page title yet.

Changing their page title from the default "Gladstone Ave - Home" to "Gladstone Ave - Acoustic-folk duo in Toronto" gives a bit more information about them right off the bat. It makes the page more likely to return in search results that include "acoustic-folk" and "Toronto," and a user is more likely to click on it because they know what they are clicking on (that IS the band website I was looking for!)

Band website in Google

To do this with your Bandzoogle music website, click the Pages tab and choose Edit Title and Settings. Look down the page to the 'Meta tags for this page' area, and click Custom.

This will open up a Page Title field and that’s where you’ll write out your text. Try to keep it under 55 characters so that it will show up in Google without being cut off.

Content update 2: Page Description

Similarly in the Edit Title and Settings area, you'll see a spot to add a custom meta description. This tells the search engine what that specific page is about in more detail, and helps match the page to search results.

You can set a page description in your Pages tab, again by clicking Edit Title and Settings, then looking for Meta tags for this page: custom: Page Description.

By default this is set to 'Automatically generated from your page content' which can work well. But it's nice to have a bit more control, especially for your pages that don't have much text, or if the text that you do have is not very descriptive or keyword friendly.

For your Home page, describe your band in detail. For your Music page, you'll talk more about your sound or your latest CD. With your Events page's description, you might mention that you play at a certain venue regularly, or an important upcoming show. Write these details in paragraph form, using around 155 characters.

SEO music website page description

Another reason to add a great page description? Social sharing sites like Facebook tend to use a page's description when that page is shared.

Content update 3: Homepage text

Remember, Google is a machine, not a human, and can only match what people type into the search engine to your website if you provide the words. So adding a short paragraph to your Homepage that includes words that describe yourself and your music (called keywords) will help your website come up more easily in search.

To do this, write your bio and make sure to include your band name, your genre, your location - things that you think people would type into Google to find you - and put it right on your Homepage (need help writing this? Here are a few tips on creating a perfect pitch).

Search engines are also very smart, using complex algorithms to determine what is relevant on your pages, and can penalize you for stuffing many keywords that make no sense in context onto your page. So keep it simple, relevant, and human-readable.

Updates complete? Submit to Google!

Once you've done these updates, you can re-submit your website for Google to crawl here: Submit Url to Google

I hope that these tips give you a bit of insight into how to make your website more search engine friendly! Have fun adding or updating your page title, page description, and homepage text.

Music sales now reported to SoundScan

Great news: music sales through Bandzoogle websites are now reported to Nielsen SoundScan, the company that powers the Billboard charts. That means website sales will give you a chance at charting, which can generate buzz for your career and get media and industry attention.  

Having SoundScan data for your sales can also help your career in other ways, like in negotiating with record labels, agents, managers, and for sponsorships. Armed with your social media numbers, mailing list numbers, and sales data, you can put yourself in a position to get a better deal.

For our Canadian members, SoundScan data can also help you with applications for grants like FACTOR and Radio Starmaker.

And of course, when you sell music using our Music & Store features, you get to keep 100% of your sales! ($16 million and counting).

SoundScan reporting is another feature for our Pro members. The Pro plan includes other great stuff like inventory tracking, album pre-orders, selling PDFs and videos, sale pricing, and creating unlimited download codes.

How to make your music eligible for SoundScan reporting

To start reporting your sales to SoundScan, you must include the UPC code for each album, and ISRC code for each track within the Music feature (more info about ISRC codes here). You'll find these fields in the "edit" form for tracks and albums.

Bandzoogle doesn’t supply UPC and ISRC codes, but there are several easy ways to get them. In fact, there’s a very good chance that you already have them. For example, if your music is being distributed digitally by an aggregator like TuneCore, you’ve already been given UPC codes for your albums and ISRC codes for your songs.

If you do not have your music distributed through an aggregator, but would like to submit your sales to SoundScan, you’ll need to purchase UPC and ISRC codes. It’s an easy process, and you pay per album for UPC codes, and per track for ISRC codes, plus a small registration fee: www.isrcmusiccodes.com/order-form.php

To have physical CD sales reported to SoundScan, you have to associate the CD in the Store feature with a digital album, then the CD sales will be reported.

To qualify for SoundScan reporting, albums must be sold for a minimum of $3.49 USD, and digital tracks for a minimum of $0.39.  

We submit US and Canadian sales reports to SoundScan weekly.

If you have any questions about SoundScan reporting or need some help, just click on the Help tab through your Control Panel to chat with our Support team!

Musician Website Inspiration: Using custom images for events

Who: Rakeem-Andre

What: Gospel Recording Artist

Where: Boston, MA

Why his website rocks: We've said it before, but having a professional header image really makes a website stand out and Rakeem-Andre's site is no exception. With his large colorful header image it's hard not to want to explore more of his website. Then right up front he adds a nice genre/location one-liner letting you know what to expect.

Scroll down just a little and you'll see that Rakeem-Andre is in high demand! He displays several upcoming dates using our built-in Events feature. He highlights each date with a custom event image, which makes each gig stand out from the next. We love how he not only shows concerts, but other exciting activities like photoshoots, basketball tournaments, and radio interviews. This gives his fans a peek into the life of a gospel recording artist. Well done Rakeem-Andre!

Check out his site at: www.rakeemandre.com

New: Easily integrate your Bandsintown tour dates into your website

For musicians and music fans alike, Bandsintown is a must-have app. Downloaded more than 16 million times, it’s the largest concert discovery app in the world, and through personalized notifications and a full Facebook integration, they connect artists to fans. Which is why we’re so excited to announce that we’ve partnered with them to build a new feature to make your gigging lives easier!

Now in just a couple of clicks, you can pull your tour dates from Bandsintown and display them on any page of your Bandzoogle website. No need to re-enter dates, or embed widgets or plug-ins. The Bandsintown feature displays your events, styled to automatically match your website’s theme, and is responsive on mobile devices.

How it works

To add your Bandsintown events to any page on your site:

  • Click Add feature

  • Under External, Click Bandsintown

  • Enter your Bandsintown account name

  • Click Save

And you’re done! Your events will automatically appear in the feature. Now anytime you enter dates into Bandsintown, they will display on your website.

Display Options

Like with our Events feature, the Bandsintown feature can display your events as a List, Calendar, or Table. You can change the display anytime without affecting your event listings. All displays are responsive, they adapt to your layouts, and to mobile devices.


Check out the integration at work on these Bandzoogle-powered websites:

Sonic Boom Six

Jubilee Riots