Who: New Orleans Swamp Donkeys
What: New-Orleans based traditional jazz band
Where: New Orleans
Why their website rocks: There are few reasons to love this engaging website. The crisp, colorful header image immediately gives you a sense of the soulful, foot-tapping, New Orleans-style sound of this band.
Their pages also offer a great mix of text content, images, and videos. Plus, they are using the grid-style option in the Store feature to keep their merch and CDs well organized. Video Birthday greeting, anyone?
Check out their website at: www.swampdonkeyjass.com
Just a quick update: we’ve added a new “Title” feature, which adds a nicely styled title to your page.
Previously, titles were attached to whichever feature you added to your site. We split them out to be their own feature, which gives you the flexibility to place them where you like.
To add a Title above a feature on your site:
To adjust the size and change the font of titles:
This change is a necessary step in moving forward with our new design system. We’ll have more news on that soon, but we can’t wait to show you guys what we’ve been working on!
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.
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!
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:
Here’s my three simple steps to getting a booking over the phone or face to face:
Lets go into a little more detail on each:
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?
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
• 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:
• 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.
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
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:
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.
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)
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!
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!