This pandemic was devastating. I was a gigging musician, on tour internationally when news hit of President Trump’s travel ban...and the dominoes fell one after the other.
Gigs being cancelled. Navigating unemployment. Applying for maxed-out grant opportunities. Friends and associates passing away.
And finally, questioning the decision to even be a musician, and how to financially survive. I know it’s been a similar story for many of my gigging friends; this complete stop from working was soul-crushing.
I didn’t understand what to do, but wanted to use this time to find an answer. Now that some time has passed, I wanted to share places that gave relief, and some tools Bandzoogle had that helped in real time. So, here we go:
Tip Jar for online donations
I’m not the best at asking for help, and when the first online gig opportunity came (thanks San Jose Jazz!), and the presenting organization specifically requested artists share a donation link for online viewers, I realized that, for future shows, I could make a page specifically for donations too. So, Bandzoogle’s tip jar feature helped immensely with that.
I started directing online viewers for future live streams to a dedicated “donate” page on my website, and even made a landing page to highlight that feature as well.
Setting up fan subscriptions
I’ve known friends who have Patreons and subscribers on their sites, but I’d never tried to create this before, on my own website. I wanted to try Bandzoogle’s subscription service for the first time, getting ideas for sharing value by checking out tons of other musicians and artists with similar music goals.
It’s been a joy so far, offering a few different tiers, with the introductory level allowing everyone to get together for online “coffee dates.” It’s helped revitalize the creation and release of new music (something I hadn’t done in years!), and has reinforced the still-present need of music in times like these.
Plus, the monthly video get-togethers during these times have been a favorite moment. It’s been much less isolating too!
Increasing website traffic with links
Everywhere I could find links (Instagram, Youtube, various music listening sites), I changed the URL’s to invite people to come to my page. I’d neglected updating my presence on platforms like Soundcloud for years, only because I’d told myself there wasn’t enough time to focus on them.
But now I’m receiving more web traffic than before, which helps bring people to my site and learn what’s happening.
Building specialty pages
I’ve been contacted about music work from people finding me online and feeling encouraged to reach out. Usually when we’re talking, and I ask how they found me, if they say “on Instagram” or “on Youtube,” they then say how they went to my music website to learn more.
Since this world is full of music creators, having my site has been a helpful tool for people globally to hear/see more in a synthesized way.
I’ve also been able to quickly build out custom pages using Bandzoogle’s tools; unlinked to my main page, and focused on specific services that aren’t as aligned with my primary goals of an artist, but tie everything in beautifully together.
Plus, since I can use the Store feature with different products, I can offer products and services that the general public don’t have access to.
I’d used Paypal for years, but since Bandzoogle offers payments through Stripe, I took time to dig into using Stripe as a payment tool. I’ve been able to make custom products on Stripe’s backend, and check out through my phone for any verbal consultations. For example, if I’m on a video call or live stream, and someone wants to purchase an item. I can just pull it up on my phone and facilitate the check out. It’s super easy.
So, yes! Thank you Bandzoogle! I’d love to learn how you (yes you, reading this post!) are navigating this time too, if you’re open to sharing your ideas & tools in the comments below. We can survive this crazy time, and there are so many resources available to help.
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Jackie Gage is an international recording artist with a velvet voice. Straddling worlds of jazz and folk, she’s performed with artists including Marc Cary, Niall Connelly, Kim Nalley, Jerome Jennings, and Irwin Hall; opened for the likes of Darlene Love, Digable Planets & Eric Benét; and toured the world sharing her original music.
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