Who: Steve Dorff
What: Grammy nominated composer
Where: New York
Why his website rocks: From the moment you land on Steve’s website you know he’s the real deal. He uses a subtle font for his name, a professional image of himself, then hits the visitor with a dream discography. He uses classic clean lines for the layout, while showing off the variety of highly successful artists he’s worked with.
As you dive further into his pages you’ll see he keeps everything efficiently compartmentalized for easy viewing. He creates different pages for his various song, motion picture, and television credits, then adds links for those who want to explore in more detail.
His actual discography page is not only impressive in regards to his accomplishments, but also how nicely organized it is. Very nice!
Check out his site at: http://www.stevedorff.com
Some big news:
We’ve just made editing your band website even faster and easier with our new Visual Editor!
With the Visual Editor, you edit content right on your page, letting you instantly see your changes. You can also drag & drop features into columns to create the layout you want.
Watch a short tour of the new Visual Editor:
Besides not having to flip back and forth to view your site, you'll find the whole experience of editing your content is faster. That’s because we rewrote the editor from scratch to make it snappy.
And, since many of you edit your site on an iPad or Android device, we made sure it works just as well whether you’re editing on a tablet or on your laptop.
To try the Visual Editor, just go to the Pages tab in your account and click on the “Try the New Editor” banner.
The Visual Editor also allows us to launch more modern and customizable themes. We'll have a big update on this front next, stay tuned.
What do you think of the new editor? We’d love to hear your feedback!
Who: Face to Face
What: SoCal punk rock since 1991
Where: Southern California
Why their website rocks: Needless to say, we were pretty stoked to see that SoCal punk rock legends Face to Face were using Bandzoogle to power their website. Many of us here are fans of the band, and they were a huge influence on me personally while playing in the Montreal punk scene in the 90’s.
With their website, we love the simple layout and design. There’s a great photo of the band on the Homepage, along with their signature logo/typeface. They also include their social links along the bottom, so fans can connect with them on their favorite social media platform.
We especially love that they have a large video at the top of their Videos page, which includes footage from their Triple Crown shows in Santa Ana, as well as some insight into the band and their journey over the years.
If you check out the Tour Dates page, you’ll see that if you’re in New York this weekend, or our hometown Montreal next weekend, you can experience the band’s Triple Crown shows in person!
They’ll be playing their first 3 records over 3 nights at the Bowery Ballroom in New York May 22-23-24, and at the legendary Foufounes Électriques in Montreal May 29-30-31. If I had to pick one show/album, it would be Big Choice, but the Trifecta is definitely the way to go.
*written while blaring “Disconnected” on repeat*
We just added discount codes to the store! They let you give selected fans a discount on your music and merch.
You can create codes in just a few clicks, and customize them to reflect any percentage discount you’d like to offer. Once shared by email or on social media, fans can easily enter the code in the checkout:
Creating discount codes is easy. When editing your site, just click on a Store or Music feature and choose Discount codes.
Type the code you want your fans to use and add a percentage discount, between 1 and 99. Click Add code and you can now send this to your fans to take advantage of sales on your site!
Fans will be able to enter it in the discount code field, and the percentage discount will be applied to their total purchase.
Let us know how you plan on using this new feature!
This is a guest post by Cheryl B Engelhardt, which originally appeared on her blog Living on Gigging.
I’m often asked “what do you do, exactly?”. There are two groups of people who generally ask this: 1) people who know me, or think they know me, and then stop for a second and realize they cannot quite grasp how I spend my time and 2) musicians. This article, my friends, is for all of you.
Before I begin, let me preface this with the following: My life is a roller coaster. Most of the time I’m working, or, at the very least, working on getting work. Then there are times where I just want to give up, lie on the couch, watch Netflix and declare that It’s Time To Get a Real Job – with an exasperated “I can’t take this music thing any more!”. This happens monthly. It’s my occupational period. It always passes. No one ever knows about it. And it’s normal.
Yesterday, though, I had one of those Little Bit Of Everything and Ah, This Is Why I Do This, days. And these are the days I aim to replicate.
It is Wednesday.
6:30 am – wake up [please note this is VERY early for me. I had a 10:00 am deadline and my mixing ears were shot the night before. Normal Cheryl wakes up around 8] and feed foster puppy basset hound Oliver. (see photo)
7:00 am – make espresso [please note that I normally make a small pot of decaf coffee if I’m drinking it any time after 9am], eat something, make sure puppy poops.
7:15 am – sit down at my computer to listen to the mix I hadn’t finished the night before- an a-cappella arrangement for a big national commercial. Due 10am. Tune some vocals, add some reverb, etc etc.
9:00 am – the mix isn’t where I want it so I send to the music house producers and call it good. Let puppy out.
9:15 am – reply to emails that have been trickling in over the last 12 hours. Reply to a few inquiries about sound branding. The best email is that a jingle I wrote for a Swiss spa company got approved and they were in the mix and needed stems. No problem. Send stems, and the final invoice, to Geneva. This definitely sets the international tone of the day…. read on.
10:00 am – Gunnar and Lily arrive. They are my 7-year old twin piano students. They are home-schooled. Their dad reads with one in my living room while I work with the other. They crack me up. They are 2 of 11 students I teach piano or voice to on my teaching days: Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. My teaching hours are normally between 3:00 and 6:00 pm but I make two exceptions, both on Wednesdays. I only work with great people/kids who practice. And I’m kind of expensive.
11:00 am – I try to rush the kids out, even though they want to play with the puppy, who pees on them. I have to get to my next lesson. I never drive to lessons. Except once a week, on Wednesdays.
11:15 am – drive to the local retirement center six minutes away from my house/studio, where I have a voice lesson with Paul, a tall, strong, 88-year old retired history teacher who hired me to help him learn his choir’s music- he doesn’t read music and their new director won’t teach them by ear anymore. After 1.5 years together, our lessons have morphed into preparing for Paul’s first solo concert of songs from the 1920’s. He made the program and everything.
12:15 pm – drive back home and put on a bit of makeup for my video chat interview with Patrick Ermlich of Outlet Music and Effective Immediately PR. This will be the first of many interviews for my new podcast. Haven’t chosen a title yet but it will be in line with my In The Key Of Success business. Maybe “Key Conversations”… Anywho, I’ve invited one music industry expert a week to sit on an hour video call with me while the participants of my MX4 program ask prepared questions. I moderate.
1:00 pm – Patrick’s hour-interview. He was boss.
2:00 pm – get a FaceTime call from my mountain-guide husband from Chamonix, France. We chat about our days, I show the phone to the puppy, who tries to give it kisses. I hang up with him and disinfect my phone.
2:15 pm – E-mail comes in from a music house in Germany with a request for an original track. I read the brief and have a call with the producer. Light, feminine, sparse. Right up my composing alley. I download the video to score and create a new Logic session when…
2:45 pm – E-mail comes in from a music supervisor at a licensing house in South Africa that I’ve submitted tracks to before. He requests a few songs of mine for a YouYube channel that provides a decent license fee. These are always quick searches that have quick deadlines, so I pull a few songs from my last record, and send them in a .zip file.
3:15 pm - One of my MX4 students is working on some financial issues, so we have a conversation about circumstances, being awesome in the face of them, and taking action.
3:35 pm – I hop on a Twitter chat (#adweekchat) to see if there are any conversations I could learn something from or contribute to. Today’s was about alcohol in marketing. Other than drinking wine while I compose, I didn’t have much to add, so I hopped off.
3:45 pm – check Facebook and see that a friend with whom I’ve worked in the local theater company is looking for part time work in between theater jobs. While I walk puppy, I give her a call. She’s the most organized and powerful chicka I know and I’m all about flexible hours, short term projects, and having some company in the studio. I tell her what I’m up to (outside of musical directing crazy shows or running around a stage in a maid’s outfit [Peter Pan]) and she sounds interested in an hourly assistant gig for a month or two.
4:15 pm - I get an awesome e-mail from the folks at Bandzoogle and ASCAP, asking me to be on their Website Demolition Derby panel at the ASCAP EXPO in Los Angeles this April. I freak out. I’ve been trying to get on a panel there for 4 years. I post the good news all over the internet and make cheesy Instagram photos about it (see photo), and send the ASCAP EXPO website announcing the new panelists to my mom.
4:30 pm – I write some music for the Germany music house. They asked for one option, but I try to always send three. Music is so subjective. And in the commercial freelancer world, it’s a numbers game.
5:30 pm - voice student arrives and we work on pitch and pronunciation and discuss the two songs that she’ll be singing in the spring recital I recently decided to put on. (The retirement home has a nice performance room and offered it to me for free, thanks to Paul- built in audience and a chance for students to work towards a goal and shine. Sounds good to me.)
6:15 pm – feed the puppy and make sure he poops. Then make some dinner for me – heated some grilled salmon and quinoa with pesto. I take it into my studio and eat on the couch which watching the latest episode of …. yes…. Pretty Little Liars. [Don’t judge. I got hooked on ABC Family’s Tuesday night lineup when I found out I had a song in one of their promo ads… 2 years ago.]
7:15 pm – revisions for the a cappella commercial (the one from this morning) come in. “Make it less busy [I get this a lot] and more sparse, and more raw. It’s too good. We love the lead vocal.” Cool. Just re-do the backgrounds with less Imogean-Heap like effects. But I’m not quite ready to dive in. So I shop online for a cool protective case for my new MacBook Pro that is on its way.
8:00 pm - accountability call with one of my MX4 participants- each week they are tasked with taking actions that will produce new results and while that sounds awesome, it’s sometimes hard, so they each get an accountability partner, including me! On the call we talk about her true purpose, crazy next actions, and she checks in on my Pledge Music campaign. (It’s under way and the script for my video will be written by Sunday.)
9:15 pm – yeah, I really should start on those vocals. Recording using my iPad as Logic Remote has made doing my own vocals super easy. (see photo) My vocal recording “booth” (a DIY sound-treated corner of my 400 sq foot studio room) is about 20 feet from my system.
11:18 pm – finish the new version and email it off to the music producer. At this point, I’m so sleepy I could pass out on my couch. But I let the pooch out to pee once more, take a hot bath with Epson salts (my neck does not like sitting all day) and get into bed. One rerun of Friends on my iPad.
12:00 am - eyes shut. But not without acknowledging to the universe powers-that-be how grateful I am for all the opportunities that showed up today and the fun and inspiring work I get to do, day in and day out.
Cheryl B Engelhardt founded CBE Music, a music creation and sonic branding firm, and has produced her own piano pop records, toured around the globe, and has had dozens of TV placements. Passionate about supporting musicians, Cheryl hosts popular workshops, video trainings, and other valuable resources on her website In The Key Of Success. Get Cheryl’s free PDF for insider tips on how to make it in the music biz.
Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.
Who: Admiral Bean Studio
What: Recording studio owned and operated by Anthony and Savana Lee Crawford.
Where: Loxley, Alabama
Why their website rocks: This is a great example of a multi-purpose recording studio website with tons to offer, condensed neatly into manageable sections that do a great job of promoting their services.
Besides including rates upfront on their Homepage, and a detailed outline of the gear they use, we especially love the Sessions page with a photo gallery highlighting musicians working in their studio. They also offer video and podcasting services and illustrate these clearly on the Media page.
To show who they have worked with, they include both a Latest Projects page, as well as a Clients page, with lots of text and images to show musicians what a great experience working with them will be. Their site does an excellent job of being professional while still feeling personal and inviting at the same time. Well done!
Check out their website at: http://admiralbeanstudio.com
If you're a music producer or engineer looking to book recording sessions and show off your past projects, there are certain elements you can add to your website to make it organized and appealing to potential and current customers.
Homepage: On your Homepage, have a short bio that touches on your work to date, and include a testimonial from a past client. Providing a few examples to listen to here as well - songs in a site wide music player, or videos - will give potential customers a feel for what you do right off the bat. You can even embed a video tour of your studio, so visitors can see exactly what an experience in your studio would be like!
About: On your About page, you can write out a longer bio, with more details about who you have worked with, your genre or how you work, and some testimonials. If your studio is made up of several producers or engineers, you can place individual bios here. Adding some photos of your studio here as well is a nice touch.
Rates: Adding a page that outlines pricing and what each package includes is a straightforward way to let your potential clients know what you offer at a basic level. Adding a link to contact you, or a custom mail form here can also allow people to contact you for special pricing, or to discuss the project details before confirming a price.
Gear: Here's where you can show off all of your studio swag! Write out the nitty-gritty details about your gear and include photos to help musicians visualize all of the awesome gear they could be using at your studio. You could add a simple photo gallery, or even a slideshow gallery for each category of gear (mics, amps, instruments, etc.)
Clients: The Clients section is where you can highlight all of your best work. List the projects and artists you've worked with, and include music samples/videos for each if you can. Adding testimonials from musicians that you've worked with would be a nice touch, and can help convince potential clients to book your studio.
Contact: A clear Contact page, with a contact form including custom questions about the project is a great way to encourage people to get in touch for more information or to discuss further. You can also include your phone number here for people who want to pick up the phone and ask questions or discuss details. Adding links to your social media pages, another short testimonial, or image here, would look great.
Music files page: Now we get into the extra pages that a client can access once the project has been finalized and you've started work! With Bandzoogle you can set any page to be a Main page, Subpage, or Not in menu. You can also set any page to be password protected. Adding a password protected page with a File List feature that you can send directly to a client with a password will let them download music files quickly and securely for review.
Payment: After discussing the project and working out details, you can add a Store feature to a page set as not in menu, set an amount for your services, and accept a deposit or final payment via Paypal or a credit card.
Mailing List: One of the best ways to stay in touch with people is still by email (good thing all Bandzoogle plans include a mailing list!) Consider including an email list signup on your Homepage and Contact page, and give people an incentive to sign up like exclusive offers, discounts, and invites to private events at your studio.
Blog: One way to keep your website content fresh and encourage visitors to come back is by blogging regularly. You can use a blog right on your Homepage to talk about your latest projects, post behind-the-scenes photos and videos from sessions in your studio, and announce new projects, new gear, or special promotions for your studio.
Be sure to check out these music studio websites for some inspiration - using Bandzoogle for their recording studio website means they’re able to add, and update content and files at any time!
In the music business, everything starts with a great song. But the decisions you make after the music is made will have as big, or perhaps even bigger, impact on your success or failure. So picking a great team of professionals is one of the most important and impactful decisions you're going to make.
Getting that team together is important because it allows you to focus 100 percent on your music. Having a great professional team in place also provides you with valuable knowledge and perspective in important areas of your career like making music, marketing and promoting the music, building a live show and touring business, and building your brand. It'll also lead you to better decisions and results that can maximize your success and ultimately extend your career.
So what are the most important things to consider when choosing who you want to take along on your musical journey? Read on...
Imagine you're in a rock band that wants to make records and play live shows. You've been doing everything on your own for what seems like forever, but you're actually making progress. "What" you need now is an experienced manager, one who gets rock music and has real connections at labels that know how to market rock bands. You need someone who has connections in the live business to help you tour and take things up to that mythical "next level."
Now, say you have a friend who's been coming to every one of your shows since you started. She reaches out to you and says she wants to manage the band. She knows your music, knows your fanbase, and has a couple of creative ideas on how to get more fans. She doesn't have any prior experience or connections in the business, but her passion is evident. What do you do?
Your friend is someone "who" wants to manage your band, but doesn't have "what" you need. If you let your impatience or frustration with having to deal with the business guide your decision, you might agree and sign a contract. In the short term, you may think you solved your problems, but in fact you have not solved any problems at all. You got caught up in the "who" and not the "what."
Instead of thinking about who can fix your immediate problem, you need think about what you need to get to the next level. What would that be? You need to sign to a booking agency. You need to get your music in front of A&R people at record companies. You need a publishing or licensing deal. What you need should dictate who you hire.
You hear it all the time that connections are everything in the music business. Let's look at why. If your songs and performances are where they need to be, what you need is a phone call or two to some people in the music business who can elevate what you're already doing. So your friend says she'll pick up the phone and start cold calling agencies and labels. She's sure you'll have a deal once they hear the music and see a YouTube video of your band. This sounds reasonable, right? Not so fast.
The thing about the music business is that people like to take calls from people they already know. Agencies like to do business with people they've already done business with. Record companies like giving money to people they've given money to before. That's why connections matter, and that's why experience, relationships, and track record win over enthusiasm more often than not in the music business.
If you decide to enlist with your friend and fill current needs, you'll have wasted time at the very least. In the worst case scenario, you'll have signed a management agreement with somebody who can't help you. Even worse, that management agreement you signed might prevent a manager who could actually help you from coming on board. That's the biggest impact that getting involved with a business partner too quickly can have on your long-term goals.
I have come across countless acts in the music business who've signed with the wrong manager or label because the artist wanted help in the moment. Instead of relieving the burden with what seemed like an easy fix, the artist's situation became a tangled mess. (If you haven't already seen this video about the Turtles and their management woes, you should watch it. It's a sadly comical sketch of what actually happens when things go wrong.)
When you're thinking for the long-term and picking your business partners, be smart. Do your homework. Don't be afraid to ask potential business partners about their experience, contacts, and track record for fear of scaring them off. If you don't get the right answers, you're not talking to the right prospective partners.
If you're really serious about a career in the music business, you'll find a lot more tips on building your team in my new online course, "Renman U Insider's Guide to Today's Music Business." Click here for a free preview.
Read more about picking and hiring your team:
Over the last 36 years, Steve "The Renman" Rennie has become one of the most successful and respected professionals in today's music business. He has amassed a broad swath of experience as a concert promoter (Sr. VP of Avalon Attractions, now Live Nation, 1984-1990), record company executive (Sr. VP and GM of Epic Records, 1994-1998), internet entrepreneur (ArtistDirect, 1998-2000) and artist manager (Incubus, 1998-2014). Now, he is dedicating himself to mentoring this next generation of artists and music pros through his website, Renman Music & Business, an online education portal for the music industry, and Renman U, an interactive online course designed to be "an insider's guide to today's music business."
Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.
What: Hip-Hop Artist
Where: Toronto, Canada
Why his website rocks: From the nice bright header image to the prominent mailing list sign up form, K-Slick's Homepage is set up for a great viewing experience. In fact, looking at his setup you'd think he wrote our popular blog post about the essentials of a great homepage.
The Homepage is the most visited page on a website, so you'll want to make it stand out. K-Slick does this by adding a few large videos at the top of his page followed by a couple options for fans to connect to him through social media. He rounds out the page by adding a nice media article in a blog feature. This adds credibility and buzz, making fans want to explore more of his site and music.
The rest of his pages are clean, organized and have great content. He keeps fans engaged by adding new videos, pictures, contests, and music consistently. Keep it up K-Slick, you're doing a great job!
Take a look at his awesome website here: http://kslick.com
Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.
Who: Mikaela Kahn
What: Singer-Songwriter / Alt R&B / Indie Pop
Where: Austin, Texas
Why her website rocks: Everything on Mikaela’s site is put together cohesively, tying into the muted, gorgeous colors of her newly released album. Her Homepage offers music and video, plus a few text tidbits and assorted quotes.
Her design is simple and stellar: using one of our themes that offers a full-width header area, each page has a different header image, and every one of them mimics the same color scheme, with her logo keeping it all consistent.
The rest of the pages are clean and allow her content to do the talking - from the Press page filled with quotes, music, and hi-res images, to her summer songwriting camp page. Lots to look at and listen to, made easy with a beautiful design. Well done!
Check out her excellent website at: http://www.mikaelakahn.com