The Bandzoogle Blog

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

Everything You Need to Know About Flying With Your Musical Instrument

Everything You Need to Know About Flying With Your Musical Instrument

This is a guest post by John Tyler Kent, which originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.

The United States Department of Transportation finally set official rules that standardized policy for flying with musical instruments across all US airlines. These new rules were written bearing any musician in mind, from the casual strummer to the touring professional, and are designed to allow you to bring your music with you without incurring any unreasonable expenses or hassles. Since the process of flying with an instrument has previously been a dreaded uncertainty amongst traveling musicians, we figured we would do our part to clear the air (no pun intended).

The new rules

The official document can be found here, but to summarize:

  • Airlines must now allow a smaller instrument, such as a violin or guitar, to be stowed on board as carry-on baggage, so long as there's room for said instrument in the overhead storage racks or under your seat at the time of boarding. Storage is provided on a "first come, first serve" basis.
  • You cannot be asked to remove your instrument from the plane once it has already been safely stored on board.
  • You cannot be charged any fees for bringing an instrument on board as carry-on baggage other than any standard carry-on fee charged by the carrier.
  • Passengers who have instruments that are too large to be carried on board as standard carry-on baggage (for example, double basses) may store their instrument in a separately purchased seat.

Preparing your instrument for flight

Since storage for carry-on baggage is first come, first serve, a good rule of thumb for preparing your instrument for flight is to do so under the assumption that it'll be gate checked. This way, you're covered even if there's not enough room on board.

  • Make sure your instrument is in a hard case. Not a soft case, and not a polyfoam case. While polyfoam cases are great for their portability and generally provide adequate protection for day-to-day handling, they're not well suited for the abuse luggage may receive before, during, and after a flight. At the very least, your instrument should be inside a sturdy wooden case, although you can never go wrong with a flight-safe case with TSA latches. Gator and SKB are two great companies who make such cases, and while they do tend to be more expensive than the standard hard case, it is definitely a sound investment for frequent flyers.
  • Your instrument should fit snug in its case. If there's any noticeable wiggle room, it's a good idea to stuff the open space with rags, towels, or T-shirts. Not so much as to add too much extra pressure that could cause harm, but enough to prevent the instrument from moving around.
  • Remove any accessories and tools from the case and pack them elsewhere for the flight. This includes, but is not limited to, things like string winders, cutters, multi-tools, hex wrenches, tuners, pedals, and cleaning supplies. While these items may seem harmless and commonplace for musicians, they may be unfamiliar and foreign to airport security personnel. You want to avoid giving anyone a reason to need to search your case, as this often provides an opportunity for rough handling and accidental dropping of instruments.
  • You do not need loosen the strings of your instrument for flight. In spite of a fairly common travel myth, stringed instruments are designed to withstand string tension. As long as your bass guitar isn't strapped to the wing of the airliner, your instrument is being transported in a pressurized, reasonably climate-controlled environment. If this were not the case, people would be unable to travel with their pets.

Boarding with your instrument

Now that you have safely packed your instrument for travel, here are a few tips for ensuring successful boarding:

  • Remember to be polite and always keep your cool when dealing with airport staff, as they tend to feel more inclined to accommodate someone who's treating them with respect.
  • Since many gate agents and flight attendants may be unaware of the official policy regarding musical instruments, it's important that you have a copy of the official rules printed and ready.
  • It's advised that you pay extra for priority boarding so that you can make sure to find a space for your instrument before the overhead luggage racks fill up.
  • Some planes may have an additional closet on board for extra storage. This varies depending on the size of the aircraft, but there's certainly no harm in asking a flight attendant if your instrument can be stowed there for the duration of the flight.

The recent US Department of Transportation ruling is a huge step in making travel a lot easier for musicians. Supplementing these rules with a few extra precautions means that you can now confidently and comfortably take your music abroad without having to worry about the safety of your instrument. Bon voyage!

As a performing musician, John Tyler Kent has played with a wide variety of artists for all kinds of audiences, from small clubs across the country to international music festivals. In addition to his work as a performer, Tyler has working experience in marketing, production, and composition.

Create a beautiful, professional website that is easy to keep up-to-date as your music career evolves. Try Bandzoogle free now!

How to Build a DJ Website

How to build a DJ website

Having a professional website where potential clients can read testimonials, and check out your song list will go a long way in getting you booked. Whether you're an up and coming club artist, or a long-time pro looking to get online, these tips will make it easy for you to start building your DJ website!

DJ website design

One thing that the best DJ websites have in common is a clear content area. You want to be sure that your information reaches your visitors in an organized way.

You can choose from several templates on Bandzoogle that are ideal for DJs, including Surround or Manhattan. Start with featuring a large, eye-catching image to showcase your vibe. Then add your content to a simple, clear content area.

DJ Mini website

Key Elements for a DJ website

Homepage

The best DJ websites are well-organized, with a funky vibe. Your homepage will set the tone right away. In the content area, include a few sentences introducing yourself, and a music player with a few of your best tracks. Add an instagram feed to spark interest, keeping it colorful and on brand. If you have events to promote, place your upcoming dates on the homepage as well.

About

Are you a resident DJ anywhere in town? What kind of events do you play at? Adding some history about yourself here will show how long you’ve been in the business. Make sure to note your achievements and what you excel at.

DJ Welly website

Music or Mixes

Do you produce or make music in addition to playing events? Offer your mixes for sale or streaming on a Music page. If you're a DJ that often plays events like weddings, corporate functions, or sporting events, include a song list. You can set one up in 2 columns with the artist name on the left, and the song name on the right. Use a title feature to categorize your list by genre, or by era. This will make your song list easy to scan.

DJ website music page

Services

The services page is one that a lot of visitors will head straight to in order to check out what you offer, and the price. List out the services you offer, and include specifics about the equipment you use.

Add a custom form as well to collect details and provide a customized quote for the event. You can also add a message letting them know you'll respond within 24 hours. After a website visitor submits this form, you'll get an email with the details that you can reply to directly.

Packages page

If you offer bundles or different packages for events, you may want to list these options out in a 2 column layout, on a different page. This could be a totally separate menu item all on it’s own, or it could be a sub-page of your Services page. Add a few photos here of successful past events.

Ottawa Valley DJ

FAQ page

This page will inform your potential customers what you can provide for their event. The more information you give about what you do, the more organized and professional you will come across. If someone is on the fence about hiring you, answering some Frequently Asked Questions will put their minds at ease.

Some questions to address:

Do you provide extras, at what cost? If you are a wedding DJ for example, do you provide lighting, a cordless mic for speeches, or songs between sets? Do you rent out speakers, a stage, or AV equipment on it's own?

Reviews / Testimonials

Add a reviews page with testimonials from previous customers. There's nothing like the words of a satisfied client to show how trustworthy you are. Do you mostly play weddings, or corporate events? Include quotes that show your ability to get the party started. If you are primarily a club DJ, a few testimonials from club owners or private event bookers can help here.

Dj website testimonials

Client area

Make use of a password protected page to accept client payment. You can give out the url with a password, and list a deposit price, or the full package in a Store feature. It's an easy and quick way to get paid, or to accept partial payment in advance for bigger events.

Page for local vendors that you work with

Make mention of vendors that you’ve worked with and trust. This could be audio visual companies that provide sound, wedding photographers, or event planning companies. You could add links or logos on a Links page, or as part of your Services page.

This can help your website for a few reasons. It shows that you're well connected in the community, and that you work well with others. Plus, these other companies may return the favor, by linking to your website or suggesting you for work.

[Use Link Building to Improve your Website's SEO]

We hope this post was helpful! Setting up a professional DJ website is a great way to get more opportunities, and more bookings. Good luck!

Build a professional, mobile-ready DJ website that is easy to update in minutes. Try Bandzoogle free now!

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Band Merch Online

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Band Merch Online

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

Bandzoogle members have now crossed $20 Million in direct-to-fan sales through their websites (commission-free!). This comprehensive guide will show you how to set up an online merch store for your own band, and give you some ideas for the different types of merch you can sell to your fans.

Part 1: Choosing Your MerchChoosing Your Merch

Before you dive into ordering or creating your merch, there are a few steps to consider to ensure that your time and money spent on investing in merch is worth the effort.

Step 1: Ask your fans

There are so many things that you can order with your logo on it, why leave it up to chance? Put out a little survey on your website, in your newsletter, and through social media to get an idea of the kind of merch that your fans would actually enjoy.

Step 2: Research other bands / ask what sells best

Being unique and creative is great, but as a band without an unlimited budget, it doesn’t hurt to do a bit of market research and see what other musicians have had success selling.

Step 3: Consider your budget (aka don’t break the bank)

Speaking of which, you absolutely need to determine the budget you have to work with before considering what merch you’ll be offering. You want to be able to offer merch that your fans are excited by, and ultimately purchase, but it needs to fit your budget.

Step 4: Track your inventory

Buy too much and you’re left without cash on hand and a need to store all of the merch that you’ve purchased. Buy too little, and you’ll miss out on great opportunities to monetize. Be sure to keep detailed inventory of all your merch items.

[New: Automatic inventory tracking for your band merch]

Step 5: Think custom-made and think for scale

Merch that can be handmade may be difficult to reproduce, but it can also be offered for a significantly higher price-point. Offering a good balance of custom merch and scalable merch allows you to offer unique merch at price points for fans of different levels of dedication.

Part 2: 21 Creative Band Merch Ideas
21 Creative Band Merch Ideas

Now we’ll take a look at some of the different kinds of merch you can offer. These include both physical and digital merch items that are easily scalable, as well as custom merch ideas.

Physical Merch - Scalable

1. Vinyl / cassettes (limited editions): A hot item sought out by die-hard fans and audiophiles alike. Offering limited edition vinyl and/or cassette versions of your albums is a great way to get fans to purchase your album.

2. Wearables: Buttons, patches, sweatbands, shirts, hoodies, hats, etc. These are staple items, so always make sure you have some of these available for your fans.

3. Stickers: Another staple item that you can sell for cheap and still make a good profit from.

4. Baby goods: Not for everyone, but if you know your fans are millennials, it might be a good idea to start offering baby gear with your logo on it.

5. Phone cases: An inexpensive way to keep your band logo constantly in front of your fans. Don’t forget to order both iPhone and Android options with a few different sizes for each.

6. Shot glasses / flasks: Need we say more?

Physical Merch - Custom

7. Signed albums: Along with selling your CDs, vinyl, and cassettes online, offer a premium price for signed versions of those items.

8. Signed posters: A die-hard fan collectable item, make sure you always keep any remaining posters from all of your shows, especially if they’re silk-screen or hand-painted posters. You’ll be surprised how quickly these will get scooped up.

9. Handwritten lyric sheets: Everyone has their own favorite song. Offering handwritten lyrics is an easy way to offer something custom and give your fans a way to become even more attached to the song they hold so dear.

10. Music lessons: Certainly not for everyone, but if you’ve got a deep well of music theory knowledge, offer to give a select number of people lessons via Google Hangout, Skype, etc. You’d be surprised how many fans are also budding musicians.

[VIDEO] How to sell Physical Merch on Bandzoogle:

Digital Merch - Scalable

11. Sheet music: Why not offer sheet music for your fans that want to learn how to play your songs?

12. Guitar tabs: If your music is particularly guitar-driven, you can also sell guitar tabs for your songs.

13. Lyric books: If you have some design skills, why not throw together nicely formatted eBooks with your lyrics from each album?

14. Poetry books: Do you have more lyrics or poems that aren’t being used for songs? Put together a book of poetry for your super-fans. 

15. Companion to album (band commentary about each song): Movie studios have been doing this for years and labels have started to catch on. Why not give your fans the opportunity to dive deeper into your new album by dissecting each song’s meaning, inspirations and fun facts?

16. Music lessons (videos): Do you teach your instrument? If you already give lessons in person or over Skype, consider recording some video lessons to sell online.

17. Live concerts: If you have good quality video of some of your live shows, consider putting them up for sale. These can be great for fans that were at those particular shows, or for your fans around the world who aren’t able to come see you live.

18. Behind the scenes videos / documentary films: Going into the studio for your next album? All you need is a phone with a decent camera and you can create a behind the scenes series of videos or even a mini documentary film.

Digital Merch - Custom

19. Fan club access: Remember you need to continue to create unique, exclusive content for these fans on a regular basis. Particularly if you’re taking part in Patreon or Dreampatron – you need to make that monthly fee worth the investment so ultimately this becomes a custom offering.

20. Voice mail messages: “Believe it or not, George is not home so leave a message at the beep”. Who wouldn’t love a custom voicemail message from one of their favorite bands?

21. Ringtones: Why not offer to record custom ringtones for your fans? It wouldn’t be very time consuming, and you’ll give your fans something unique that will remind them of your music every time their phone rings!

[VIDEO] How to sell Digital Merch on Bandzoogle:

Part 3: Ordering Your Merch
Ordering Your Merch

Once you’ve set a budget and chosen which merch items you’ll be offering, it’s time to order your merch.

There are many companies out there that specialize in different merch items. You’ll want to do some research, and ask other bands in your local scene where they ordered their merch from.

A few places to start:

Jakprints: Great one stop shop for posters, stickers, shirts, sweaters, headwear, bags and more.

Sticker Mule: Name says it all. They just do stickers and do them well.

Button Frog: Sister company of Sticker Mule for buttons.

Zazzle, Cafe Press: With these services, you can upload artwork onto almost any merch item. You can either order a limited quantity to re-sell through your own store, or setup a store through those sites and they’ll create your merch items as the orders come in and ship them to your fans.

5 tips to save money when ordering merch

Here are a few ways you can save money when ordering your merch:

1. Be aware of price breaks

For almost every merch item, there will be price breaks at certain quantities. This doesn’t mean you should order the highest quantity to get the biggest price break! For example, if you wanted to order 100 shirts, but there’s a price break at 120, then it might make sense to order those extra 20 shirts.  

2. Check design specs carefully

Make sure that the files you submit meet the supplier’s specifications. Any last-minute changes will cost you.

3. Limit designs

Each design likely requires a new setup at the supplier, which usually results in extra fees. Limit your designs to avoid these additional costs.

4. Limit colors

Same goes for colors. When ordering apparel, each additional color will cost you. Try to limit the amount of colors you use in the design to reduce the cost.

5. Don’t order last minute

Don’t get caught having to place a rush order! You’ll likely pay through the roof in shipping costs, which will negatively impact your profit margin.

Part 4: Setting Up Your Online Merch Store
Setting Up Your Online Merch Store

By selling direct to your fans, you not only get most of the money (100% using the Bandzoogle Store Feature), you also get their email addresses. That way, you can keep in touch with those fans over the long term to let them know about upcoming shows, new music, and new merch.

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

Step 1: Organize

First and foremost, your online store needs to be organized. Keep the page simple and clean to navigate. If it’s too messy, fans might just leave the page without buying anything.

If you have a lot of merch items, consider creating separate pages for each type of merch, and linking to them from the main Store page. This is what the band A Primitive Evolution did on their website:

Bandzoogle members A Primitive Evolution's merch store

Step 2: Have images for every item

For each item in your Store, you should have an image. Album covers are obvious, but even for stickers and buttons, you should include an image of what they look like.

For t-shirts, you can feature the front and back of the shirts, as well as different colors.

Step 3: Describe each item

You should also add context for each merch item in your store. What’s the story behind the item? Who designed it? Briefly explain the merch item and why you think your fans will enjoy it.

For example, A Primitive Evolution have a Handmade Voodoo Doll Plushie for sale with this great description:

“Printed, sewed and stuffed by us for you! Cast a curse on an enemy or a crappy band perhaps... or just cuddle up with this little guy on those lonely nights.”

Step 4: Offer clear way to contact you

When people are shopping online, they want to know that they can easily contact the seller if they have any questions. On your Store page you can include a contact form specific to sales, or a call-to-action with a link to your Contact section.

Now go sell some merch!

Getting your merchandise plans in order can take a bit of time, but it’s well worth the investment. Use these ideas to get your merch store set up today, there’s no excuse for missing out on opportunities to make alternative revenue from your fans.

For more revenue generating ideas, check out 18 Ways Musicians Can Make Money

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

14 Ways Musicians Can Make Money from Live Shows

14 Ways Musicians Can Make Money from Live Shows

Guest post by Joy Ike

The key for musicians today is to diversify their revenue streams. No musician makes their income strictly from one method anymore. For the most part, we each have our hands in several different pots.

You know the adage, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket“. Musicians just can’t afford to do that anymore. There are just so many baskets and each one has its benefits. Some baskets will be more important to you, and some will be more important during specific times in your career.

Think of the below list as a bunch of baskets related to making money from your live performance, and determine which ones you want to use. Some of these will be no-brainers, but they’re still on the list as a reminder.

1. Ticket Sales

Starting with what is no doubt the most obvious one. Chances are that most of the revenue you generate from live shows will still come from people paying to see your performance. This can be from tickets sold in advance, paying the cover at the door, suggested donations, or even passing-the-hat.

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

2. Merch 

Not everyone at your show will buy merch, but some definitely will. Take your merch table seriously. Put it in the line of vision and make it look appealing. Set up a sign with a price list and image of your band. Take your merch more seriously and others will too.

3. Cover Gigs

Some musicians really hate this type of show. I get it: you’re basically wallpaper. No one sees you. But they hear you and you get a few hundred bucks (hopefully) for a few hours of music. Cover gigs are such a great way to subsidize your other shows. If you’re going to play cover gigs, think of them as shows you have to do in order to play the shows you want to.

4. Private Events

Similar to cover gigs, private events tend to be well-paying. Subscribing to a service like GigSalad can bring in some great revenue from private event planners, corporations, couples who need wedding music, and so much more.

5. House concerts 

These are the real deal. If you need a type of show that requires very little promo but gives a whole lot in return, you should be doing house concerts. Cultivate relationships with fans who already come to your shows. Eventually some will want to host you in their home and share you with their friends. For tips on getting house concerts, check out 5 Ways to Generate House Concert Leads

6. Busking

Some people hate the word busk. But if you’re strategic, busking can be your best friend and you can make some decent money in an afternoon. Busk in high traffic - outside a major sports event, outside the entrance of a major festival, in front of a grocery store, or a movie theater. Try busking before shows while you’re on tour to make a bit of extra cash and promote your show that night.

7. The College Circuit 

NACA (National Association for Campus Activities) is a big investment, but if your music's college appropriate, it’s totally worth it. Student activity boards reserve a significant amount of funding for midday lunchtime music, and late night coffeehouse programming. One gig alone can cover expenses for an entire tour.

For help with booking College gigs, check out Indie on the Move’s College & University Show Booking Directory

8. Festivals

Not only do festivals tend to pay quite well, they’re king when it comes to high-traffic gigs that bring in major merchandise sales and follow-up gigs.

[How to get booked at music festivals]

9. Online Concerts 

Services like Stageit and Concert Window allow you to broadcast live shows online. People love these intimate, low-key concerts, particularly fans who aren’t close enough to make it to one of your regular live shows. You can make really good money on tips and ticket sales, especially when your die-hard fans can actually chat with you between songs.

10. Live Performance Royalties

Performance Rights Organizations allow you to earn royalties from your live shows. If you’re someone who plays a lot of gigs, use this to your advantage. Every extra dollar counts!

11. Sponsorships

These can be difficult to secure, but if you use a product… like really use a product, reach out to the company and ask them about sponsorship. Artists do this for gear, drum sticks, capos, and even clothing. For gigs at bars/clubs, you can also try to get a sponsorship from a beer or energy drink company which might help you save on costs at the venue or get a better cut of the door/bar revenues.

[Musicians- How To Get Sponsored]

12. YouTube Royalties

You can earn royalties whenever your videos are played on YouTube. So be sure to upload all of your good quality live videos to your YouTube Channel then monetize them.

[How to make money from your music on YouTube]

13. Live Albums

It’s easier than ever to record a live album, as many venues are already equipped to help you record a good quality live album. Why not record a live album a few months after your latest studio album is out, and add a few exclusive new songs to help entice your fans to buy it?

14. Online stores

If you’re playing live, be sure to also stock your online store with all of your albums and other merch. Even if fans don’t buy from you the night of your show, they might go to your website in the following days to shop. Some people might also go straight to iTunes or Spotify to check out your catalogue of music, so make sure that all of your music is up on popular retailers and streaming music services as well.

[6 Tips for Setting up Your Online Store]

Bonus tip: Spend Money 

Couldn’t help but end on this. It’s true what they say: it takes money to make money. Spend a few hundred dollars to print T-shirts for your merch table, get a membership to GigSalad, join NACA, ship posters to venues you are playing at, etc. Put a few dollars into everything you do so that it looks good. It will pay off.

You might also enjoy: 18 Ways Musicians Can Make Money

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

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!

Music Website Template Design: Play with Primer

Music Website Template Design

You work hard on your music. So you’ll want to choose a theme for your website that will showcase your band online in an interesting, visual way that will help attract new fans.

Primer is an excellent choice for a website template for any band or artist, from an indie-folk duo to a punk-rock band. With a prominent menu, and a wide space at the top for an image, it’s a modern, mobile-ready website theme that anyone can use.

Meet the Band

This theme is perfect to showcase a full group, whether you play reggae music or you’re part of a choir. The large space at the top has plenty of room, and you can add a different header image per page to show off your best photos. Use a horizontal image - longer than it is wide - to show all of your band members.

Sonic Boom Six website template

Solo artist? No problem - this theme is also a good one to use that hi-res, portrait-style press image you’ve been saving. If you’ve got lots of great images to choose from, combine them into a slideshow to add a little motion to your music website.

Clairdee website

Add your band name, or make use of your logo!

With the header image, use text to add your band name. You can use a basic white font to add some contrast over your image, or even upload a great looking logo.

Choosing a simple but clear font in your header area will give a simple, professional feel to your image. A funky logo is a great way to show off your personality. Either option is a little way to express yourself - your brand, and your music, and you can change it any time.

Chicken Like Birds Website template

Make use of Album Art

Need a cohesive look and feel for your website? If you have an upcoming or recent album release, use that artwork to re-vamp your website’s look. This will tie-in your current music, and give a consistent feel to your branding.

Ancient Sun has added a faded filter to their vibrant album art to give their website a wow factor. The combination of the font they’ve chosen and the background gives their site a cohesive and inviting look.

Ancient Sun website design

Customize that Content

With the Primer theme, the clean sides and clear menu allow for a lot of focus on the content area. The white background provides a fresh palette that’s easy to customize with any features that you’d like!

So be sure to build a great press kit page, offer your albums for sale, and include a blog with your latest news. Add a mailing list signup form, and place your upcoming events right on your Homepage.

[17 Ways to Make Money Selling Tickets on Your Website]

SLF rocks website design

Create columns for a balanced layout

With our visual editor, it's easy to drag and drop your content into columns and change up your look. You can do this easily in the nice white background of the Primer theme.

Adding a 1/3 column - with one larger column and one skinny column, creates a nice sidebar effect. Using text in the bigger column makes for easy reading. Then add images, a mailing list signup form, or a calendar on the opposite side to make those features easy to spot.

Adjust columns

More than music

Because of its open, clean nature, this theme is also great for anyone who needs a multi-purpose music website. If you perform, teach, record, or moonlight as a graphic artist, use this theme to show everything that you can do. Add a sub-menu, or use images in your content area to direct visitors to all of your different pages.

[How to Make Money by Leveraging Other Arts with your Music]

This website template is a popular one for bands and solo musicians of all kinds. With a wide header space, a clear menu, and an open content area, it’s easy to make your music shine with Primer.

Bandzoogle lets you create a flexible and mobile-friendly website with all of the music features you need as a professional artist. Try Bandzoogle free now!

5 Easy Ways to Give Your Website a Makeover

Give your Band Website a Makeover

It’s 2016 - a new year and a new start. Whether your resolutions this year include touring more, or writing more, it feels good to tackle a few things on the to do list early.

Last year, we added lots of options to help you update your website quickly. Why not give it a quick makeover to showcase your music and content this year? Here a few ideas for you:

1. Change your template

You can change your website's design with just a few clicks. Think of changing your template as re-skinning your content to give it a fresh new feel. The basics are still in place, including your layout, images, and text. You'e just adding a new look to that same great content!

Need some inspiration? We’ve got simple, stunning themes like Vesper, Manhattan, Surround, and Dusted to make your website look it's best.

Website header image

2. Change your header image

The new year is a great time to re-evaluate your brand, your music, and yourself. If you haven’t had professional photos taken in some time, book a session and use those images to portray yourself online.

Think about the sound of your music, and your personality, then use an image to convey that in just a glance. To change up your header image, click on your current image and replace it, or add up to 5 images to create a slideshow!

Website theme we are the movies

3. Update and reorganize your content

Our new visual editor has made it quicker than ever before to change up your content. Try dragging and dropping your features to rearrange them on the page, or move your content into 2 or 3 column layouts. You can see how it looks instantly!

Another way to update the look of your content is to try out the tiled layout for your blog! Add a featured thumbnail image for a visual pop to each post.

You also quickly swap out your music. Add tracks quickly with our Dropbox integration, or import them from SoundCloud. Both add your music directly to your account here, so you can then sell or stream it for your listeners.

Tiled blog layout

4. Use features for fresh content

Before you hit the road for your next tour, or immerse yourself into writing and recording, add a few features that will update content on your website for you.

If you have an Instagram or Twitter feed, add that to your Homepage. These features will pull content and update whenever you Tweet or post to Instagram. This changes things up for your returning visitors!

Instagram website feature

You can also add a Bandsintown feature to pull your event dates, without needing to worry about plug-ins or code. Or, use our Bandcamp integration to instantly display your tracks.

As an added bonus, these features match your website's design instantly and work great on mobile.

5. Get social

Now that your website has a new look, let’s get sharing! It's easy to share your events to Facebook, Twitter, or by email. These events have a permalink that will never change.

You can also share your music with embeddable music players, adding a track to your blog post, to Facebook, online publications, or venue websites. It uses your album art - another extension of your look, and links back to your website.

Whether it's changing up your theme, re-arranging your layout, or swapping in fresh new content, we hope this encourages you to try out a new look for your website!

Create a beautiful, professional website that is easy to keep up-to-date as your music career evolves. Try Bandzoogle free now!

6 Ways to Promote Your Music Online with Bandzoogle’s Embeddable Players

6 Ways to Promote Your Music Online with Bandzoogle’s Embeddable Players

Our new share options for your music are a great way to easily share your tracks directly to Facebook and Twitter in just a few clicks. But, you can also use the embeddable player to promote your music online.

The embeddable players allow you to post a music player on any website or service that supports HTML code. The players are responsive, and built to work and look great on mobile devices.

So here are a few ways you can use embeddable music players to promote your music online:

1. Blog Posts

Adding the embeddable player to a blog post is a great way to drive more plays for your songs. It will even be displayed if a fan reads your posts using a blog reader, and will include a direct link to your website. And if a fan shares your blog post to social media, visitors can access your music right there in the blog.

2. Facebook

You can also add the embeddable player to a tab on Facebook. In addition to the Share feature that allows you to post tracks right to Facebook, you can also create a tab to appear in the menu of your Facebook page.

There are several widgets created for Facebook, like Static HTML, which allow you to post embed code into the navigation bar of your Facebook page. When new fans discover you there, they’ll find your music with a quick link to buy - even if it’s been awhile since you shared a track directly.

promote music on facebook

3. Press Outlets

The embeddable player is a really great asset to pass along to any press outlet that covers your music. Just send the HTML code found in the Share portion of the feature, and the embeddable player will display right in the post they publish.

promote music online

4. Music Venues

Similar to press outlets, be sure to send code for an embeddable music player to venues where you’re performing. That way they can post your music on their websites when listing and promoting your show.

5. Conferences & Festivals

Showcasing at a music conference or festival? When you send your bio & photo, also send along embed code for your latest single so they can include it on their website.

6. Online Forums

You can also post embeddable music players to any online forum that supports HTML code. Whether you’re the one posting a new thread, or commenting on another thread, just be sure that it makes sense to post a music player and it won’t be seen as spammy!

Bandzoogle lets you create a professional website in minutes with all the music promotional features you need including a blog, mailing list, and social media integrations. Try Bandzoogle free now!

What a Full-Time Touring Musician’s Daily Schedule Really Looks Like

What a Full-Time Touring Musician’s Daily Schedule Really Looks Like

This is a guest post by Jhoni Jackson, which originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.


No two full-time musicians' schedules are identical. Depending on the projects they're involved in, the to-do lists will vary greatly. There are few better examples of an exceptional hustle, however, than that of Alex White, one-half of the heady garage-rock duo White Mystery. She and her brother Francis have been kickin' under that moniker for more than five years now, and in that time have put out four LPs, toured relentlessly around both North America and Europe, played huge festival gigs, been featured in promotional campaigns for Levi's and Converse and, just recently, even made a nutty, psychedelic rock 'n' roll film based on recent travels. And they've accomplished all of that in a completely DIY fashion.

"My life, physically, is like coffee, emails, working out, playing, sleeping. And some eating. But mostly coffee," Alex says.

We spoke with Alex to get an idea of a typical workday, but she couldn't give us just one. Below are loose accounts of her two schedules: one during a tour, the other during the off months, and each with some extra bits that are actually crucial to how she operates. New bands especially, I think, will find her efforts inspiring, and the actual nuts and bolts of it all quite illuminating. It won't work for everybody, of course, but it's certainly worked for White Mystery.

A typical day when not touring

7:30am: On a day like today, I wake up at like 7:30 in the morning. I get up, I make coffee – like six cups of coffee – and I sit down at my computer and open my inbox. I see what's in there while the coffee's brewing, make my bed, pour myself a cup, and sit down and start looking at my emails. I get almost 100 every day. I start answering them in order of easiest to answer to hardest, which may not be the best strategy, but that's how we do it because I kind of like to get those easy ones out.

11:00am: Today I went and worked out for an hour; I lifted weights, and I ran.

1:00pm: I came home, and my three interns came over. They come at 1:00 p.m. every Monday, three Columbia College students. We learn a different discipline every week and apply it. I do so many things that I always have a project related to what we're talking about. Today with the group we focused on booking, and they have the option to call in or come in person.

2:30pm: Around [this time] we have lunch, they work on something for me until, like, 3:00 p.m., and then I get back to my emails and see what's come up.

3:00pm until late night: I take my dog for a walk, and then I work until, like, two in the morning answering the rest of the difficult emails, like contracts and stuff like that. Today it's 7:30 p.m. and we ordered a deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza.

What are those 100 or so emails about, actually?

It's a lot of organizing and planning, and the particulars shift based on the project at hand. Lately, a lot of Alex's work has been focused on making the band's movie, That Was Awesome, come to life.

"[What] took up a lot of my time was developing the film," she says. "Working with an editor and his questions and the filmmakers, who each have their own part, and then booking the premiere party for it. You're trying to cover a lot of ground by communicating with people."

Additionally, Alex points out something especially important about the way she fields emails: "I'm really thorough. There's a lot of people out there who get 100 emails, and they only answer maybe 10. But when there's a young band who emails me about how to play in Chicago or someone with a blog that wants to do an interview, I'm happy to do that stuff, even though it can muck up the [day] a little bit. The example that's really important to me is that more than 10 years ago, someone had emailed me about playing their parents' basement in New Jersey. It was my old band, Miss Alex White and the Red Orchestra, and we didn't tour that much so it wasn't [really a possibility], but I was like, 'Hey, thanks for the opportunity, but we're not on the road presently.' And that person ended up being [guitarist and vocalist] Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females. [That was] the young teenager who emailed me at that time. And to this day she remembers that I replied to her."

The White siblings are famously positive and friendly, and in the independent music realm, that can truly pay off. She adds, "'Cause, you know, in a couple years that person...you might be opening for them."

So when do they practice, you ask?

"It's hard to practice, [because] even when we are home, we're usually playing twice a week, so a lot of times we just perform live and do a lot of our writing in that two-month period when we're home where we have access to our practice space and stuff like that. Usually when we're home, it's unplugged electric guitar and working on lyrics, then we kind of brings those songs to our live shows and kinda test them out live. Kind of organically that way," she says.

Tour schedule (about 10 months out of the year)

11:30am to noon: I open my laptop in a hotel, probably, and try to find coffee. Usually I don't have that luxury, and I find those little hotel coffee makers to be really disgusting. I never use those. Then I take a shower, wake Francis up at noon, and request a late check-out for 1:00 p.m., like, 'Hey, we're not ready yet.' (She says in a voice that implies they never intended to check out on time.)

1:00pm: We'll usually stop at Starbucks or something and hit the road. We're usually driving for three to six hours a day; we try to cap it at six and not do more than one of those weeks [a month], and we typically arrive at the venue around 7:00 p.m.

7:00pm until 3:00am: Even though a lot of places want us to load in early, it just didn't make sense to be at a bar for, like, seven hours when you're only performing for 45 minutes, so we kind of take our time. We'll arrive at the venue, and sometimes that's our first meal of the day at 7:00 p.m., because we're fueled by coffee and snacks. We set up our merch when we walk in the door, then basically play pinball until the doors open at 9:00 p.m., and man the merch table until the show, which is usually around 11:00 p.m. or midnight. And then we play, then we party until three in the morning.

Take note, however, that there are some details missing in that general overview.

Alex adds, "You have to stop, you have to refuel your car, you have to check your oil, you have to make sure all your equipment is covered with a blanket so it looks like nothing's in there. Sometimes you have to pick up stuff that you need for your normal life even though you're on the road, like toothpaste or get some batteries. You have to still maintain appearances and chores, like I try to clean the car while we're on the road, and we definitely have to do laundry while we're on the road. So that time while I'm waking up I'm doing laundry at a friend's house...you're toeing the line between normal life and chore stuff."

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.

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Happy Holidays from the Bandzoogle Family

Happy Holidays from the Bandzoogle Team

Well it’s that time of year again, Bandzooglers! Time to wind down and enjoy family, friends, food, and hopefully some great music.

Whether you're finishing up a busy season of holiday gigs, or taking it easy to get back on track for a tour in 2016, we want to thank each and every one of you, and wish you all a happy holiday season.

We appreciate all of you and we're so glad you've trusted us to power your awesome websites. We have big plans for new features and themes in the new year!

Things may seem a bit quieter around here over the next week or so as we take a bit of time to recharge and rest up for a busy 2016. You’ll be able to reach our support team in case of emergency though!

We'll be available from December 24th to 28th by email, providing limited support as well from December 29th to January 3rd. Everything will be back in full swing on January 4th.

We'll see you all in the New Year!

All the best from us to you.

- The Bandzoogle Team

The Most Read Posts from the Bandzoogle Blog in 2015

The Most Read Posts from the Bandzoogle Blog in 2015

Every week we publish several articles on our blog. Whether it’s tips for improving your band’s website, how to build an effective digital press kit for your music, or how to make more money as a musician, we hope that these posts help your career in some way!

As we prepare to publish more helpful content in 2016, here’s a look back at the most read posts from our blog this year:

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

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

To make it easy for media and industry to find the information they need (and quickly), the best thing to do is create a Digital Press Kit section on your website.

What should you include in it? Here are 8 things that should be in every musician’s digital press kit: Read post

How to make money by leveraging other arts with your music

How to make money by leveraging other arts with your music

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.

Here are a few more areas to consider when thinking about making money with your talent: Read post

8 Reasons Why Fans Hate Your Band’s Website

8 Reasons Why Fans Hate Your Band’s Website

Your website should be a place fans enjoy visiting to get your latest news, hear your latest music, watch your videos, and shop from your online store.

Here are some things to avoid that could be turning fans away from your site for good: Read post

Major vs. Indie: What really happens when you sign a record deal

Major vs. Indie: What really happens when you sign a record deal

It can be difficult as an independent musician to determine the best path to take for long-term growth and success.

There are pros and cons to each avenue, which should be weighed carefully against what type of musician / band you are: Read post

How to set up your recording studio environment for creativity

How to set up your recording studio environment for creativity

While many of you have probably been in a pro studio, it’s likely that you’ve dabbled with the idea of doing some recording yourself at home or in your own space.

Having a creatively inspiring environment can provide that extra special ‘something’, and make those long nights seem like an hour or two. Here are a few helpful methods to get the most out of the space you record in: Read post

SEO for Musicians: 3 Tips to Optimize Your Website Content

SEO for Musicians: 3 Tips to Optimize Your Website Content

Making your website rank well in search engines can seem like a daunting task. 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.

Here are a few quick ways to update the text on your website to help it rank better in search results: Read post

Create a beautiful, mobile-ready website that’s easy to update in minutes. Try Bandzoogle free today!