Category: Websites for Bands

Creating a Website for Your Music: Bandzoogle vs. Wix

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

I like to shop. There’s no denying it. I could spend hours in my favorite store, or hours browsing online looking for the perfect item. And I’m not alone. Thousands of people share this hobby with me.

Yesterday, a friend of mine was wearing an awesome shirt. The kind of shirt that was so awesome, it probably gave super powers to the wearer. I really liked that shirt. She told me where she got it, and the next chance I got, I looked up the store on my phone. Sadly, the store was a small boutique over 200 miles from my home!

Even sadder was the store’s lack of a website. I was unable to to go to their physical store, and they lost a potential customer–who was excited and very willing to make a purchase–because they had no website.

We say it often here at Source: If you want to be taken seriously as a musician, one of the first things you need to do is create a website. It doesn’t matter if you’re a band, solo artist, or DJ; you still need a website.

There are lots of website creation services that can help you make a website you can be proud of. Two of these services are Bandzoogle and Wix. They both provide websites that are very easy to create and to update. They both have lots of different options to make your website beautiful and functional.

But which one is better for independent musicians?

The Basics

Bandzoogle is a web design and hosting platform that was created by musicians specifically with other musicians in mind. It’s easy to use and has all the tools you need to create a professional website. We like Bandzoogle because they specialize in everything music related. All their features cater directly to independent musicians.

Wix is designed around design. Their editor is all flash based, so you never see any coding(which is great for non-tech savvy people like me!). They cater to small businesses, musicians, and photographers.

Simple Sign Up and Time to Design

Something these two platforms have in common is enough time to actually experiment with your website design.

Wix has a free tier that stays free forever. All of their templates are available on the free tier, as are many of their apps. The one thing the free tier won’t get you is a domain name. Their premium option includes a domain name. If you already own your domain name, you can use it with Wix, although there is a fee of $4 per month.

Wix's premium options
Wix’s premium options

Signing up with Bandzoogle is a simple process, and they give you 30 full days to test drive their platform, without asking for a card number up front— this was a big bonus for me because I want to make sure a service is completely worth it before I buy it(and I always forget to cancel subscriptions!). After your trial is up, you will need to either purchase a subscription and hosting plan, or choose a different hosting platform.

Bandzoogle will also register a domain name for you. This is free when you sign up, and Bandzoogle automatically renews it for you for free. The best part is that you own the domain forever–Bandzoogle transfers ownership of your domain over to you if you decide to switch web hosting services. You can also use a domain you already own with a new BandZoogle website.

Bandzoogle
Bandzoogle’s premium options

Great Visuals

This is where Wix pulls a little ahead of Bandzoogle. While Bandzoogle does have some good designs to choose from, many of their designs are beginning to look dated and cheesy.

Out Dated Bandzoogle Templates
Out Dated Bandzoogle Templates

However, they add new templates regularly, and their newer ones are sophisticated and modern.

Wix however, has hundreds of really great templates to choose from. They even have nine pages of music-specific templates in addition to many other templates you could customize to fit your music needs.

Wix Music Templates
Wix music themes

Editing Your Site

On Wix and Bandzoole it is easy to customize your site. You can upload pictures, add or delete pages, and update text. Both services utilize a visual editor, but this is where Bandzoogle starts to pull ahead of Wix. Wix has a very powerful flash based editor, but it gets slow and buggy very quickly. Their sites also lose visual impact very quickly when you start to customize. Wix chooses their stock template images very carefully, and when you begin to add your own photos, the design you loved can quickly become a hodge-podge nightmare.

An example of how a great template can easily go wrong
An example of how a great template can easily go wrong

 

Bandzoogle’s templates tend to feature one main image, so that makes design a little less stressful. They also group fonts together, so if you are a little design-challenged, you know your site will be cohesive. Bandzoogle also provides a powerful non-visual editor as well.

Bandzoogle
Customizing a Bandzoogle Site

If you’re like me and can’t stick with one design for long, Bandzoogle might be a good choice for you. They make it really easy to change your mind. All your content is easily moved from one template to the next without any losses. You will probably still have to tweak your design if you move to a new template, but all your pages and content will stay exactly the same.

**A Note on Website Design:

One thing that often gets overlooked when bands begin designing their website is band photos. Many web templates call for a large image to be the focal point, and you need to take that into consideration as you choose a template. If you decide to go with a design that heavily features a photo, you can use a stock image or you can use a photo of your band. Just make sure that the image you choose as a focal point represents your music well. For tips on how to get great band photos, click here.

Functionality

When you create a site, a few standard pages for bands come pre-loaded on both services. After the initial setup,  you can add or subtract pages all you want.

This is where I really think Bandzoogle starts to jump ahead of Wix, specifically for independent musicians.

Wix plays nicely with third party apps. The problem with all those apps is that you have to pay extra for many of them(Wix includes two premium apps when you purchase a premium plan).

Many of the things, analytics for example, that Wix uses third party apps for, Bandzoogle integrates directly into their platform.

Both services also offer a commission free store.

Wix has a visually appealing storefront for your merch, but they don’t offer ticketing, or an option for pre-orders. They also don’t sell physical product unless you sign up for their e-commerce tier, which is $16 a month.

Bandzoogle offers the sale of physical merch on their $12/month plan, and advanced options like ticketing and pre-order are available for $16/month.

Extra Features

A great feature that Bandzoogle offers is password protected pages. If you only want press to view a certain page, give them the password! Have a page of traveling details you only want other band members to see? Give them the password!

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 4.09.25 PM

The feature can also be used to give your fans exclusive benefits. What better way to keep your fans coming back to your site than to have an area made just for them? You could have a page that’s only visible to the people who subscribe to your email list, or a page that only members of your fan club have access to.

Bandzoogle also offers email newsletters(which can be geo-targeted), detailed analytics, SEO optimization, and integration with several third parties like Twitter, Instagram, and Bandsintown.

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 4.43.18 PM

Wix also has many of these features, but many of them are third party apps you add onto your site, and aren’t fully integrated with the original design of the website.

Wix Apps
Wix Apps

Which Should You Choose?

Both platforms have lots to offer, and both with help you create a beautiful website. However, after digging into the functionality and ease of use, we think Bandzoogle is a better choice.

We recommend Bandzoogle to artists because it puts the control in the hands of the musician, and offers a great service at a fair price. Their editor was less glitchy, and it took us less time to get a fantastic, functional website.

If you think Bandzoogle might be a good option for you, you can check them out here.

What web design service do you use? Has Bandzoogle or Wix been helpful for you in the past? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


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Website for Musicians: A Vital Tool

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

There’s something I’ve noticed lately, and it’s so frustrating that I can’t ignore it anymore. I have to say something, so I’m going to say it here.

Websites should have a purpose.

I know it seems obvious, but—judging from the abundance of ineffective, uninformative websites out there—people haven’t gotten that memo.

What I’m Talking About

Let’s say you go to a retailer’s website, and the website simply has their logo floating above a pretty background (or not) with a tagline below. In addition, they have several links that direct their customers to visit other sites to learn more.

The Case for Effective Websites: Example A

And… that’s it. No “About the Company”, no photographs, and no products to browse. No hours listed, no ability to search for a location near you, and no contact information. It’s just a landing page with almost no information on it, less a logo and tagline—a halfhearted confirmation of the retailer’s mere existence. How strange, and how frustrating, would that be for you, a potential customer? How crazy would a company have to be to present themselves like this? Could they really be that clueless?

If the above example looks extreme or comical, trust me, I know. But, the thing is, I see websites like this every day… from musicians. This annoying and nonsensical phenomenon is rampant in the independent musician market. Musicians are guilty of having ineffective and uninformative websites.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked up a band’s website only to see their logo, a piece of album art, and links to social media, third-party retailers, and everywhere else they can think of. No real content. No biography, no tour schedule, no discography, no samples to listen to or videos to watch, no mailing list sign-up, no merch for sale, and no chances for income.

As a potential fan, it’s frustrating and annoying. For the band, it’s a bunch of missed opportunities. It’s time to change things.

The Purpose of Your Website

As I said at the beginning, websites should have a purpose. Some websites have several purposes. Since you’re a musician, your website should tell visitors about you, your career, and your music. The site should be designed to capture the fans’ interest. You want to create a desire in the fan to connect with you and purchase your music.

Signature Elements of an Effective Website

Samples of Your Work

We’d like to hear your music. After all, it’s what you do, or aspire to do, for a living; it’s why we’re here. So, share your music with us!

How you go about doing this is really up to you. I would recommend showcasing your best music videos, offering full-length samples of your music, and always giving the fan an opportunity to purchase what they like. Which leads us to the next point…

Product For Sale

Your website needs a product page that offers your music and your other merchandise for sale. Don’t send fans from your website to iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud, or other similar websites to purchase or hear your music! If they choose to purchase your music on iTunes, fine, just don’t send them there when you could have made the sale yourself.

There are a few reasons this makes sense:

1. You keep as much of the profits of your hard-earned work as possible. You might have to give a small cut to the credit card processor or pay a little extra per month on your website, but you’re not giving up 30% or more  of each sale! That difference adds up quickly, and the regained profits can be used as needed on future projects, new gear, touring costs, or as actual income.

2. Your store is just that: your store. It specializes in your product, which means your customers aren’t seeing ads for other musicians and bands or links to other artists’ merchandise. This means there’s almost no chance that they’ll buy less of your product because they’re now also interested in this other person’s product but don’t want to spend more. Why? Because there is no other person competing for their attention!

3. Operating your own store means you get to learn who your customers are. To get the product, customers will have to give you some of their information: name, email address, phone, and maybe mailing address. Compare this to third party retailers, who might tell you that someone with the zip code 02134 bought your song. By running your own store, you can see where interest in your music is growing, and you know who to contact and how when you decide to book a show there!

Running your own store means figuring a few things out: you need to decide if you want to offer only digital downloads, physical merch, or both. You’ll also need to find merchandise manufacturers (if you don’t already have them), keep track of inventory, fulfill orders in a timely manner, and find an affordable option for selling your merch.

The Chance to Support You Financially

Funding your music career is a complicated task. However, there are options available to you today, like crowdfunding, that weren’t available ten or twenty years ago.

In terms of raising funds, the question you should ask yourself is the same as it is for selling your product: do you want to have control over this crucial element of your career, or do you want to hand it off to a third party site that will market other musicians to your fans, take a cut of your profits, and potentially withhold your fans’ contact information from you?

Personally, I believe the best funding methods are tied to your productivity on an ongoing basis instead of a one-time fundraising goal. In this scenario, fans become patrons of your art by contributing a small amount every time you create a significant piece of content. Not only does this mean your fans get access to your new content and feel invested in your career, but this arrangement motivates you to continue creating your art and, with enough support, can provide a nice steady stream of income. If 500 of your fans contribute just $1 for every piece you create, and you create 2 pieces a month, that’s an extra $1000 a month just for doing your job as a musician and creating new material. Scale that up in the number of contributors, the size of their contributions, or both, and you can see how this can make a big impact.

If you’re interested in setting up this system on your own website, contact our staff for more information.

A Thorough Band Biography

The bio should give press, new industry contacts, and potential fans a good idea of who you are, where you’re from, what you and your music are like, and where you’re headed.

Now, keep balance in mind. You aren’t writing your autobiography or band memoirs, so keep it concise and on topic. Press and industry contacts can always ask for more details if they want more details. However, that doesn’t give you an excuse to skip a bio altogether or cut it down to the bare bones. While you don’t need to start with each band member at birth, you might want to name all the band members, talk about how your band formed, mention where you’re based, discuss how you developed your unique style, highlight notable concerts and tours, and include past releases.

I’d recommend sharing a collection of professional, high-quality band photos and snippets of past press praises here, too. Both compliment your biography nicely.

Your Schedule and Contact Information

First, list your schedule of shows. Tell visitors where you’ll be (venue, city, and state) and when (date and time) so they can come see you play live! Make it even easier for them to find you by linking* to the venue’s website or location on a map.

In addition to listing your schedule, you should have a contact form where fans and visitors can send you questions (such as “Do you think you’ll have a show in Austin anytime soon?” or “Do you know when this product will be back in stock?”).

Recognize that your visitors and fans aren’t going to stop by your website every day. To save them some trouble of having to dig up the dirt on you, it’s a fabulous idea to let visitors and fans sign up for a mailing list; this lets you send them updates directly. (Note that a mailing list is only good if it’s put to use; otherwise, it’s just one step above a phone book.)

Along the lines of a mailing list is social media. It’s a way to get your info and updates in front of your fans without them needing to constantly visit your website. So, by all means, list your social media accounts and encourage fans to follow you there to stay up to date, but don’t treat those accounts as more important than your official website or mailing list. Think of them as mini-websites intended to build interest and funnel visitors back to your site. You own your website, and you own your mailing list. You have no control over social media; it could change or disappear at any point, and there’s nothing you can do about that.

Easiness

Your website should be easy to find. This means no crazy spellings of your URL; it should match your or your band’s name, if possible. It might also mean brushing up on SEO and keywords. This means links to your website should be easily available in all emails and social media profiles. You might even consider advertising, but we can get into all of that in a future post.

Your website should be easy to browse, with clear navigation that is both easy to locate and effectively descriptive.

Your website should be easy to read; this means keeping graphics, colors, fonts, and sizes in mind. It means leaving some empty space so that your content can breathe and doesn’t overwhelm visitors. It also means keeping mobile and tablet views in mind, since web browsing on desktop and laptop computers continues to lose ground to more-mobile options.

Need Some Help?

Most everyone needs help from time to time. Designing or redesigning a website can be a difficult task if you don’t know how to proceed. Understanding and making the right choices is hard. Some of the choices you will be faced with might seem easy, but be careful; it is easy to step in the wrong direction. Our staff can help; just leave us a comment or email us. We’d be glad to offer additional insight or answer specific questions.

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I think I’ve got a little website updating to do.


* Note: All outbound links should be set to open in new windows. You want to make things easy, but you don’t want people to accidentally leave your site and never find their way back. It’s often an easy change to make, but doing so varies from one website-building platform to the next.




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Band Websites: Are They Necessary?

Band Websites: Are They Necessary?

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

With so many social media platforms to choose from, it can be hard to keep track of all the websites, blogs, and profiles to create for your band. Some might argue that a profile on XYZ’s site is enough. We disagree.

While it’s true that social media sites are useful and important tools for connecting with fans, they shouldn’t be your main focus. Why?

Well, first, the popularity of these sites is constantly shifting, and new sites seem to pop up daily. (Maybe not daily, but still.) How many profiles can you manage—five? thirty? seventy?—before becoming overwhelmed and losing track of them all? And when the sites your profiles are on fade from popularity or shut down altogether, how will you communicate with your fans? In the battle for social media platform dominance, having your own independent website gives you stability and your fans a consistent place to find you.

Second, relying on third party social media sites means you have no control over who sees your messages and when. It’s becoming increasingly harder, and more expensive, to make your voice heard over the noise, even by those who actively sought out your profile or page and want to hear your message.

Third, a profile or page isn’t the most professional way you could present your band or yourself as an artist, since just about anyone can create an account. On the other hand, a dedicated website shows professionalism and a level of commitment that profiles just don’t. When a label, promoter, or booking agent wants to look up your band, they want to look at your website. When the press refers to you, they will want to direct people to your website.

So, what’s a musician with no web design experience to do? Read on for more information.

Determine Your (And Your Fans’) Needs

Remember when the internet looked like an online phone directory, where one-page websites simply showed a brief company description, list of services, their contact information, and—if you were lucky—a photo or two? That kind of web site doesn’t cut it anymore.

Your band’s website should build a relationship between you and your fans. This means it must be informative, interactive, and up to date. Yes, your website should tell them about your band and display your discography. It should also give fans a place to listen to your new releases, watch your videos, and buy your music, and it should share your stories from the road and announce upcoming concerts or tours. Ideally, your website will also let you gather your fans’ information so you can continue communicating with them.

What type of experience do you want to offer your fans? What features does your website need to keep your fans engaged and coming back? Take some time to think about the sites you like to visit and what it is about them that keeps you coming back. Write out a list of those features, and cross out any that can’t apply to your band. If you need some ideas, here’s a list of features that we recommend:

  • band bio and press coverage
  • multimedia (music players, videos, photo galleries)
  • your discography
  • tour schedule
  • retail system (physical merch, digital downloads, or both?)
  • a blog
  • mailing list sign-up
  • contact form/social media links

There are other features you could add, but that’s a pretty good starting point. Of course, simply having these features isn’t enough; a tour schedule with nothing filled in won’t fill seats at your shows, and not adding new videos, music, or blog entries means there’s nothing new for your fans to see. Effective websites need a steady stream of content flowing into them.

Find a System That Works For You

Now that you know what you want to offer, you need to find a way to offer it. If you’re an independent musician struggling to make ends meet, you probably don’t have a huge budget for web design. It’s equally likely that you aren’t an experienced web designer or fluent in CSS or HTML5. Even if you do happen to be the rare independent musician/code-writing web designer, you probably don’t have enough free time to be designing your website from scratch.

The good news is, that’s okay. There are hundreds of platforms available that can help you build your website, without requiring prior knowledge of code. We’re highlighting a few platforms here, to give you a starting point:

One place to start is Bandzoogle, which is geared toward helping musicians sell their music and merch. Sign up for the free trial and see if their options—like download codes, shopping cart,  site-wide music player—and interface meet your skill level and your needs. There are hundreds of layouts to choose from, with additional customization and design available without coding or software. As far as perks go, the site gives you the option of letting your fans set the price of downloads (which some studies suggests can increase your income), and Bandzoogle doesn’t take a cut of your sales. However, the plans max out at 10,000 mailing list contacts, so this might not be a good long-term solution (or short term, if your band already has a large following).

Another great option is Squarespace. There are dozens of templates to choose from, each of which can be customized in appearance and layout. With galleries for photos and videos, music collections, and blogs, showcasing your content is easy. Squarespace has a built in eCommerce option, allowing you to sell physical goods (and it tracks inventory) or digital goods (and it auto-emails the file to the customer). Sign up forms integrate with MailChimp (if you use that to email fans) or into a Google doc spreadsheet (which you can export and upload to your email system), and the contact form forwards to a designated email address. Their help system (both searchable forum, live chat, and ticket system) is impressive. Squarespace currently lacks a site-wide music player (although you can add a player to your footer, if your template has one). You should also noted that Squarespace uses Stripe instead of PayPal; the services are relatively comparable, except when it comes to digital downloads. PayPal offers a lower rate on these, and Stripe (currently) does not. On a $1 download, you either lose $.10 with PayPal or $.329 with Stripe. Like Bandzoogle, Squarespace offers a free trial period; it’s worth testing out and seeing if the features and interface are a good fit for your band.

Yola is another option. While it isn’t marketed solely toward bands, it can easily be customized to create a great band website. Wix is yet another option and is similar to Bandzoogle, although it’s not marketed toward bands. Both provide templates and design customization; with Wix, you can completely customize each page using a drag and drop editor. If you’re wanting to keep things super simple (like, just a followable blog to share images and brief updates) Tumblr—one of those previously-mentioned social media sites—allows you to use a purchased domain and your custom URL.

When looking for a platform, it’s important to keep in mind your future growth. If a platform doesn’t offer a service you will need, or caps your traffic or storage at or near your current levels, it’s probably not wise to choose it only to change again in the near future.

After testing out a few platforms (using the free trial periods that many offer), you probably have a clear frontrunner. If that’s not the case, try narrowing it down to a top two or three platforms, and then ask for feedback from people you trust. Once you’ve selected a platform, congratulations! It’s time to start setting up your site.

Setting Up Your Site

If you decided to create a band website to own your fan relationships and give your band a committed, professional online presence, you probably want to use your own custom domain. There’s a difference between johnhenryandthecrooners.com (a custom domain) and johnhenryandthecrooners.webuildwebsites.com (a custom sub-domain). With the first, all the focus is on your band, John Henry and the Crooners; people won’t question that the site is official and tied to your band. In the second version, though, the phrase “webuildwebsites” takes some of the attention away from your band, and it might cause people to question how official your site is. Many of the platforms provide default sub-domains for you (as shown in the above sample). Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to register a custom domain. Some platforms, like Squarespace, will even walk you through this process. If you have a existing site, you’ll want to redirect traffic from that site to the new one (once it’s ready).

It’s important to set your site structure (page names and URLs) and basic design elements (color scheme, layout, logos) up before officially launching your site. You can set these up during the trial period, or you can set the pages under development as private and create a “coming soon” landing page. This lets visitors know they’re in the right place and that your site is in progress, and it’s far better than making an unfinished site public.

If you’re planning on long-term growth and aren’t quite there yet—for example, you haven’t recorded an album yet and are waiting on your t-shirt orders to arrive, so there’s nothing to put in a store—it’s okay to launch your site without that element and then add it when you’re ready.

Once your site structure and appearance is down, go ahead and launch it. Redirect your old site, and announce the heck out of it on social media. Be sure you have a way to track visitors and gather their information; a sign-up form is a must. (But be sure to do something with their information, like send them a follow-up email!)

Making the Leap

A professional-level band website is a big step to take, but it can make a big difference—both in how the public perceives your band, and in who owns your relationships with fans.

Take a look at where you are as a band and decide if you’re ready to invest in a website. Like many things (free stickers, opening for larger bands for free, ect.), the return won’t be immediate or direct… but a band website could get you closer to where you want to be.

Do you think band websites are essential? Or are you satisfied with social media profiles? If you’ve created a site, do you have tips for other artists setting out to do the same, or are there services you can recommend?

See also: Music and Social Media: Twitter, Music and Social Media: Facebook




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SongCast: Selling Your Music

Selling Your Music: SongCast

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

With digital music retailers often requiring the use of music distributors or music aggregators, these third party companies are becoming an almost-necessary element in an independent musician’s sales strategy. With many distributors to choose from, selecting the best option for you has never been easier (or harder, depending on how you look at it). In this article, we’ll cover SongCast, one of the digital music distribution options available.

What SongCast Offers

For starters, see if you recognize any of these music retailers: iTunes, Google Play, AmazonMP3, Rhapsody, Spotify, MediaNet, Emusic. SongCast partners with all of them. The service provides access to sales reports for each retail platform, including iTunes Daily Trending Data, to let you to see where your music is selling best.

With its Music Page feature, SongCast offers integration with social media. You can feature your music on your Facebook profile, add purchase buttons, build a mailing list, and post a calendar of upcoming shows.

SongCast’s Indie Artist Radio Network puts your music on multiple networks, including iTunes Radio. The Indie Radio App (for Facebook) allows subscribers to discover new artists, share their favorite tracks with friends, create playlists, and message the artist directly. Participating artists can see who is listening to them and where, which songs are being tagged on lists, and so much more. This service is in addition to the distribution service, and it costs $7.99 per track per month.

Making Money From SongCast

As a SongCast artist, you retain 100 percent of all royalties on digital music, as well as 35 percent on CDs sold through Amazon Disc-On-Demand.

SongCast’s Costs

SongCast charges monthly membership dues of $5.99. To add product for distribution, members pay a single up-front fee of either $9.99 per single or $19.99 per album.

Signing Up For SongCast

Signing up is easy, although a little preparation is required. SongCast will ask you for your album’s title and the titles of all the tracks on it. It will then prompt you to upload album cover art in the form of a 1400 x 1400 pixel JPG, PNG, or GIF file. Uploading the music is next. SongCast takes care of file conversion for you. With many retailers requiring different formats, this conversion service is a huge time-saver.

SongCast’s Customer Support

Customer/user support is solid. If you can’t find your answer in any one of the pages of tutorials, FAQ, or their knowledgebase, you can file a support ticket through the site. There’s even a separate address for inquiries you might have before creating an account.

So, the verdict? SongCast offers a hassle-free music distribution venue that won’t break the bank. Without worries, you can feel freer than ever to share with the world.




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Selling Your Music: MondoTunes

Selling Your Music: MondoTunes

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

If you’re new to online music distribution, you’ll sooner or later face the daunting task of having to choose the right music distributor. Because you have enough on your plate, here’s a basic rundown of one your options: MondoTunes.

What MondoTunes Offers

With claims of distribution to over 750 online stores, it’s certainly an impressive option. Their global distribution service uses Universal Music Group, the same company used by Rihanna, Lady Gaga, U2, and others. Additionally, MondoTunes has associations with Interscope Records, which helps major labels scout new talent. MondoTunes is the only distributor that provides an exclusive online marketing campaign for its artists. Licensing is also available.

Making Money From MondoTunes

As for profits, artists can expect to retain somewhere around 63 percent of sales. MondoTunes doesn’t take a dime, but their partners do. Nevertheless, that royalty rate still beats the ones offered by major labels.

Payments are issued monthly as long as net royalties are $50 or more. If royalties do not hit the $50 threshold, the amount is carried over to the following month. If these profit and payment policies seem a bit strict, it’s important to realize that the site is highly competitive.

How Much Does MondoTunes Cost?

There are no monthly or annual fees and no “per-store” listing fees. At $7.99 per single, $24.99 per EP, and $37.99 per album, Mondo’s pricing is pretty competitive.

Signing Up for MondoTunes

The site is fairly easy to navigate. On the home page, click the red “Join Us” button. Fill in a basic registration form (name, number, email, password) and prove you’re not a robot. You’ve created your account! The next step is uploading your final audio and artwork files. Under the option Distribution, click “Get Started”; select the services you want and how you want to get paid, then upload your artwork, song information, and content.

Getting Help with MondoTunes

MondoTunes’ customer support is also impressive. The company offers same-day email support as well as phone support, which is something of a rarity these days.

Music distribution shouldn’t be about choosing the lesser of two (or more) evils. It should be about finding a company that understands and meets your band’s needs. The fact that MondoTunes was put together by musicians can only help its case.

Have you worked with MondoTunes? How was your experience?




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Selling Your Music with Bandcamp

Selling Your Music: Bandcamp

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Coming up next on “Painfully Obvious Observations”: the digital age has transformed the music industry… It’s true, though. And, as the industry continues to transform, more and more artists are turning toward selling music online. One major destination for those artists is Bandcamp.

What Bandcamp Offers

Bandcamp makes it possible for artists to sell their music and other merchandise online. You’re able to control the pricing, sell digital and physical music, report sales to SoundScan, offer discount codes, sell on Facebook, gather fan/customer data, and much more.

Making Money From Bandcamp

Bandcamp is based around the philosophy that money should flow toward the artist. You set the prices on all of your merchandise, and the money goes directly to you (not third parties).

“Great,” we hear you say, “but how on earth do they stay in business?” The answer to that question is that Bandcamp takes a small share of your sales: 15% on music, 10% on merchandise. It’s a pretty good deal, compared to the 75 percent (or more, if you’re not Usher) that you’d have to hand over to a major label. To sweeten the deal, Bandcamp will drop their revenue share to 10 percent once you reach $5,000 in sales.

What Does Bandcamp Cost?

If it’s sounding pretty good so far, it stays that way. Basic artist accounts are free. If you want to upgrade to the pro account (which lets you use a custom domain name, upload in batches, and so on), that’s only $10 a month. Not a bad deal.

As far as paying royalties, the Bandcamp method is a little different than other sites. Instead of subtracting their percentage from each sale, Bandcamp sends the profits directly to your PayPal account and keeps a running balance of what you owe them. When the amount owed is equal to or greater than a sale, they will absorb the sale and deduct that amount from your balance. For example, say you’re selling CDs at $10 each and Bandcamp is taking a 10% cut. The first sale goes all to you, and your balance is $1. The second sale goes all to you, and your balance is $2. The cycle continues. With the tenth sale, your balance is $10, which is the same amount as the sale. Instead of this sale going to your account, Bandcamp collects the money and reduces your balance.

Create a Bandcamp Account

Opening an account as easy as it gets. On the homepage, select “Artist Signup” at the top; on the next page, click the big green button that says “Sign Up Now.” Enter your email address and a password, choose your genre from a dropdown box, and create a few genre tags help people discover you. You’ll be assigned your very own URL and you’re off and running, with complete freedom to sell your music and whatever merchandise you can slap your logo on.

Getting Help With Bandcamp

The help section on the site is chock-full of in-depth tutorials that should keep you informed and answer your questions. On the off chance that it doesn’t, there is an email form on the site for contacting support. Customer support is not reachable by phone.

Bottom line is, if you’re looking for a good place to call your home for online music sales, Bandcamp pretty much does everything but write the songs. Hey, we never said it was perfect.

Have you tried Bandcamp? What did you like about the site? If you used another site, what made you choose that over Bandcamp?




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ReverbNation and Your Music: Streaming and More

ReverbNation and Your Music: Streaming and More

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

If you’re a musician and haven’t heard of ReverbNation, then you have some research to do. Here’s a quick breakdown of what they offer:

What ReverbNation Offers

Of course, ReverbNation allows you to upload your music to be discovered, streamed, and shared by fans. It also offers:

  • newsletter templates to email fans
  • the option to create mobile app for your band
  • the option to turn your profile into a website
  • the option to sell music, either on the site or externally through digital distribution
  • the option to create press kits
  • networking with other musicians, promoters, venues, labels, and industry professionals

Profit From Your ReverbNation Account

To make money from your ReverbNation account, take advantage of their Digital Distribution opportunity. This helps you sell your music on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, ect. You also can sell your music right off of their streaming player by providing a link.

Cost

ReverbNation offers three account levels with distinct pricing options.

  • Basic (free): provides a page for fans to stream & download music; provides you with access to their gig finder*.
  • Pro ($19.95/mo): offers the same but adds music distribution options.
  • Max ($41.67/mo): offers the same but with more music distribution options.

Other services are offered a la carte. The Site Builder ($89.95/yr), which turns your profile into a website, and Digital Distribution ($34.95/yr) options are both available outside of the account packages. Adding these features to the basic account could be a great decision.

Setting Up Your Account

Begin by going to www.reverbnation.com, and click the button titled “sign up for free”. Create your profile using the guided set up process; be sure to include your name, genre, city/state, and so on. After you’ve entered your details, you can upload your songs and music. When you have finished your profile, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade your account if you wish.

Assistance

ReverbNation is easy for you and your fans to navigate, and the instructions for building a profile page are very clear. Should any questions arise, turn to their help page for a solution. They also have a support team available to answer any specific questions via email.

ReverbNation is a great website with a lot to offer artists, and at a reasonable cost. Check it out!

* As we stated in another article, ReverbNation requires that you use their Press Kit Builder ($5.95 per month) to submit booking requests.

Have you or your band used ReverbNation? How did you use it? Was it a good resource?




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