As a team, Bandzoogle has always been passionate about helping artists thrive in whatever the music climate is today. In our 17 years, we’ve never seen such a big shift in those needs over such a short time.
From the beginning, Bandzoogle encouraged and empowered artists to take charge of their direct to fan sales. We launched eCommerce features back in 2004, 100% commission free. Since then, we’ve added countless direct-to-fan tools for artists, and this year has been no exception.
As we look back at this unique year, a few things stand out. The impact for our members has been astounding. Getting creative has opened the door to multiple ways for fans to support artists, and for artists to give back to their fans in return.
The work we’ve done in 2020 has been a love letter to artists globally. No matter where you are, what challenges you are facing, we will continue to provide you with all of the tools you need to succeed.
Selling music and merch through your website
We’re so pleased that when we look back at this year, one which was a challenge to put it mildly, we see that direct-to-fan sales rose in response. Bandzoogle members sold over 5.4 million in music, merch, live stream tickets, subscriptions, and more, all directly to their fans and commission-free after the pandemic hit.
As an income stream, selling merch in particular rose this year, despite live shows being cancelled. Many musicians sold CDs and vinyl paired with digital music, and expanded into selling t-shirts, face masks, mugs, phone cases, and more.
Making money with music online is not always easy to do, but you all rose to the occasion superbly, despite the world being plunged into a pandemic.
Selling digital files and lessons
Working from the confines of your home studio or bedroom meant an increase in online offerings, and online sales. From sheet music or lyric books to sample packs, and services such as music lessons and workshops, Bandzoogle artists sold more digital files than ever before.
Accepting tips from your fans
The Tip Jar feature was added early on in the pandemic as a way to be sure that artists had an easy online way to ask for support, directly on their websites. From soliciting donations to keep the music going, to adding a Tip Jar alongside a live streamed performance, Bandzoogle artists were able to use the Tip Jar to generate over $200,000 in commission-free tips, with the average tip amount being $42.12.
Offering fan subscriptions to create engagement
Fan subscriptions were rolled out in late 2019 with the intent of allowing musicians to create fan clubs and further engagement while building a steady revenue stream. As an online tool, fan subscriptions grew exponentially in 2020, with more artists opting to offer creative, recurring rewards to their fan community, maintaining connections with the audiences who keep them afloat.
As an update to our commission-free fan subscription service, pay-what-you-want subscriptions were added in 2020. This way artists can set a tier of fan rewards where the subscriber would choose the amount to pay.
With the success of the Tip Jar feature, it’s evident that fans do place high value on music and art, and will contribute accordingly - this year more than ever before. We also included the option to offer a ‘free’ tier with this update.
Commission-free ticket sales and virtual event integrations
In 2020 we opened up the Pro option to sell tickets through your website to all members, and added a live stream link option to all events. This meant that artists could sell tickets for live streams to fans directly, without giving up a cut of the sale.
This year also saw the integration of two popular video streaming platforms within the Video and Tip Jar features: Twitch and Crowdcast. Driving fans to your website to watch a live streamed performance, or regularly scheduled video content, was a great way to connect more directly with fans.
New website templates
In 2020, making a website for your music was key to finding a measure of online success. As we do each year, our design team released many new templates - each one as a starting point that you can customize completely.
The Vincent template: fun colors, a funky side menu - this template featured a large main image and simple layout.
The Entourage template: with a simple, flippable menu, and the ability to set your content area to full-width on your pages, this one created a modern, sophisticated for any musician. We also rolled out further customization options to the call-to-action text with this theme.
The Slice template: As a theme without a header image, Slice works well with bold, contrasting colors, or a full-page background image for full impact.
The Nadia template: This classic, structured theme is perfect for a music teacher, performer, arranger or composer.
The Synth template: With radical site title effects, menu spacing and width options, and robust call-to-action style choices, the Synth template celebrates New Wave in a big way.
The Jacob template: Including space for a large background image plus positioning options, this website template features clean lines and a clear content area.
If you need a fresh look for your website, try one of these new templates on your website. Changing your theme at any time doesn’t affect your content, so you can switch it up and see how it looks.
Music website button customization
A small but well-used update to our image and text feature was the ability to add a button which seamlessly matches your design. From promoting a new video or upcoming single, to asking fans to ‘read more’ on a different page, buttons were used in the content area of many music websites this year.
Updated social media design options
Your website should be your main hub, your online home. There’s no doubt that making use of social media is crucial for musicians as well. We updated the look and feel of our My Sites feature this year.
First, we set up a flat, modern style option, with each icon taking on the color of its platform. You can tweak that color to match your other buttons, choose a black or white option, or set a custom color. Along with this, we added new shape options (circle, square, and outlines for both) and alignment settings.
Use these for popular social platforms, or streaming services, or both, on a page-by-page basis.
Issuing refunds and exporting data
The Bandzoogle Store got a new look in 2020, along with a few updates. As a response to live shows being cancelled across the world, we added the ability to quickly issue refunds for both purchases and event tickets in bulk, directly from your website.
We also added the option to export all of your Store data to sort, filter, and keep for your records.
This year was really all about trying to keep yourself, as a musician, feeling well in a multitude of ways. This meant keeping your spirit as stable as possible, allowing space for creativity to still expand despite being stuck at home, and finding new ways to support your craft.
It’s impossible to know how 2021 will unfold, and how soon live shows will be a part of regular life again. But we have big plans to continue to work on online tools that will set musicians up for success. We hope you are able to see the rest of this year out with love, laughter, and music, even if you’re celebrating virtually. Thanks for making this year one to remember.
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