Make your band look and feel more professional, optimise the free tools the web has to offer by Planzai Music – Part 1 (Behind the Scenes)
This guest blog post comes from Planzai, a how to app for musicians, and their content expert David Hill. He is also the director of an independent record and management label so is well placed to pass on some zero cash methods to bring your band up to scratch…
The Internet promised this great digital democracy. A space in which the most creative people would become destined for greatness. The truth is; the opposite happened. Those who have achieved greatness are the least creative. Untalented people have achieved world wide acclaim. If only for 15 minutes.
Today being a successful musician Is more difficult than ever. Being in a band means much more than writing and performing great songs. In order to get ahead in the music industry and make money, you need to promote your music, and build long-term relationships with fans and the media.
You can set yourself at a much higher standard, and look more professional, than so many other band and artists without spending a penny. Below are my favorite free tools and how you could use them.
Gmail can become the heart of your operation its many free apps within the menu bar allowing you to keep onto of your affairs. These are all easy to share with your band mates and to keep everyone in the loop. They are also available for mobile devices which will be handy on tour.
- Gdocs – Google’s version of ‘Microsoft office/Work’. Use it to manage all your money from gigs and merch sales. Store all the email addresses of your blogs/press/media/record label/management and those people who download your free music (from Bandcamp) to email them from your mailing list (Mailchimp). I will cover these later. Use Word to write and save your lyrics, booking contracts rider and tour schedules
- Gcal – Keep track of all your touring/recording commitments, PR campaigns using Google’s simple calendar. Colour code each member of the band to keep track of personal commitments like school, uni and work to ensure you dont double book.
- Gmaps – Great tool to research and plan getting around during tours. With Gmail you can save your travel schedule to look at anytime you want. It has a new feature that tells you about toll roads, speed cameras and how much fuel will cost for your journey. Gmaps are handy to help you find services on the road like where to eat, music shops, hotel, service station and laundrettes. This app can be used as your sat nav on tour to help you make sound check on time
- Greader – this is an RSS tool. Save all your favorite bands, mags, promoters, venues and record labels blogs and receive regular updates. Keep on top of what’s happening in your scene. Interact with these blogs and let them know if you like or dislike what they are up to.
- Blogger – Sign up to Blogger and keep your own blog. You wont need to use this every day when you are starting out, post an update every month to make everyone aware of your overall happenings. It’s a great idea to sync this to your facebook page and twitter feed. I will talk about this later too.
- Youtube – you can set up and manage your Youtube channel with your Gmail address. It’s simple and effective and makes sharing tour/studio diaries and music videos even easier.
So now that you have yourself organised. So organised that you have set up an awesome tour or have an awesome new recording to share with your fans.
So you want to issue a press release about your new tour or EP to all the press contacts that you have collected (Gdocs’ version of excel of course). Gmail is a traditional email service, its very difficult to email multiple people at once. This is where MailChimp comes into play. MailChimp allows you to have 2,000 emails in your mail out and send 12,000 at once, for free.
Sign up for MailChimp’s free service and customise your own digi press release/newsletter filled with all your most relevant up to date news. MailChimp makes it very easy to create your own personalised news letter so don’t be scared to pimp it out with your colours and logo to give it a sense of identity.
Remember its best to send this letter to those people you know have interest in your act. Sending your news letter out cold can be a very challenging task but keep at it. MailChimp also allows you to see who has opened your email, keep track of these stats to gauge your progress.
Part 2 – Front end coming soon.