How Bandzoogle is empowering Aussie acts to earn more money
One impact of the coronavirus is that artists have become more adaptive and realised they have to take charge of their own businesses.
In particular there’s the importance of having an online presence.
North American-based Bandzoogle’s mission is to empower musicians to build effective websites, and the company reports demand escalated by 33% year-on-year since February 2020.
Australia already ranks 4th in the world for number of members with the likes of Ronnie Simmons, Mig Ayesa and Rafael Karlen on board, but CEO Stacey Bedford said the company sees a huge opportunity to empower Australian artists.
“We have been working with some great music associations like APRA AMCOS, Australian Songwriters Association, Folk Alliance Australia, and The Boite to provide artist services, and just spreading the good word about Bandzoogle,” Bedford said.
“And we recently published a blog post specifically on funding for music grants in Australia.”
It started in 1999 for founder Chris Vinson, when he built a site for his alt-rock band Rubberman and saw how online marketing and creating an online audience helped get a record deal.
He realised he could help other indie musicians build up their business. But as requests to update touring info, photos, blogs and merchandise became too time-consuming, he launched Bandzoogle in late 2003.
Artists on the road, and without tech degrees could update their own sites. – “So simple your drummer could do it” was an original tag.
These days it provides over a hundred tools for nearly 60,000 members to sell music, merch, and tickets commission-free from their website, and also provides promo tools including a mailing list, social media and live streaming integrations, website reviews, crowdfunding and fan subscriptions.
Bedford said: “Since we started recording member sales in 2010, our users have sold more than $70 million in commission-free sales”.
The main goal since the pandemic has been to make customers more money. They have sold more than $18 million in music, merch, and livestream ticket sales, all commission-free.
In the short term, the company will be adding new tools to help artists diversify their revenue streams, which will mean more ways to bundle products, services, and digital goods.
In December came a built-in print on demand merch option through Printful. On the promo side, there’ll be EPK (electronic press kit) creation tools for digital and physical submissions.
In the past 12 months, members were concerned with ensuring their livestreams rise above the chatter.
Bandzoogle added the ability to sell virtual event tickets, video integrations with livestream services like Twitch, Crowdcast, YouTube and Facebook Live, and accepting virtual tips on the same page. The average tip is $42.
Artists have also become interested in learning how to set up a successful fan subscription model – “it requires a bit more planning and work, but reaping the benefits of recurring sales, even if just a few hundred dollars a month from your most loyal following can really add up” – and what grants and assistance are available.
But the majority of Bandzoogle’s budget is on R&D.
“So we are constantly adding new tools for artists, all included in our monthly membership fees of $8-$16 USD per month,” Bedford said.
“Every 60 days we add a brand new design theme based on current web design trends, along with more design options like video headers, call to actions, and all of the materials artists need to learn how to use them effectively for their music business.”
Bandzoogle’s 30-strong team is made up of artists – including opera singers, drummers, band managers and session musicians.
“We understand our members so well because we are our own customer base.”
In Bedford’s case, her early days in real estate is paying off.
“When you are working in a service job, whether it’s bartending, selling houses, or tech support, if you’re a good listener you’ll find that people don’t always articulate what they want.
“Your job is to extract what they need and help them accomplish their goals.”
The Music Network reader offer – Click here to start a 30-day free trial and get 15% off your first year of any Bandzoogle subscription.