Onesheet BAM! Just like that.

One sheet:

In the entertainment industry, a one-sheet or one sheet is a single document
that summarizes a product for publicity and sales

 

Thanks to Madalyn Sklar for posting this link on my Facebook page: http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/07/onesheet-is-about-me-for-bands/

Madalyn never fails to alert me to great stuff on the web for bands.  This time it’s Onesheet. Founder of ArtistData, Brenden Mulligan (@bmull) , has created an easy way to compile all the info about your band into a beautifully simple, virtual onesheet. The beauty of it: you hardly have to do a thing.

It’s like this:

1) Upload a background image

2) Connect your social networks by filling in the blank URLs

3) Save

 

Then:

Onesheet

You can customize color and position if you want to but, otherwise, you’re done. It’s all there! You don’t have to update. It’ll update itself. Sweet! Super easy. 

You know how everyone keeps saying that you need to maintain your Myspace profile because programmers and booking agents want a uniform place to find all your info? Yeah….beat this!

 

Custom websites for musicians! Easier than you think…(nerdblog)

My friend, producer and studio owner Mack Damon (Hollywood Studios), once said something to me that blew my mind. I’m going to paraphrase because the conversation took place a long time ago. But, it went something like this: There’s three things you want anything to be: fast, inexpensive and awesome. Pick two. 🙂

Think about it. You can make something awesome and inexpensive but, chances are it’s going to take you a while. You can have something fast and inexpensive but, I’m pretty sure it won’t be that awesome. And you can have something fast and awesome but it’s gonna cost you. I’ve found this to be true where almost anything is concerned. So, when it came to building my website, I knew I had to give this some thought. 

There’s no doubt that I wanted an awesome website. That’s one. Resources that I could allocate for it’s construction were limited so, it had to be inexpensive. That’s two. So, I was prepared for the fact that it was going to take a while. I either had to wait until I raised more money to hire someone or get to work researching and slowly constructing the website of my dreams. 

Lucky for me, this is where label owner Joe O’Brien (RatPakRecords.com) came in. He said, “Why don’t you try Bandzoogle?” 

Here’s a phrase I rarely use: O M G!

Inexpensive? Why, yes. I compared to other website building platforms for musicians and it’s all that and the bag of gluten-free chips. We’re talking features that include email, stats, fan clubs…plenty of space for music, you can run your own store. It has just about everything. Features: http://bandzoogle.com/features.cfm

Fast? Um…the easiest tools ever mean you can put up a website in no time. Try it. For FREE! Put something basic up and you can expand it later. 

Awesome? See what you think of my site. I did this in less than a week’s time. They have some beautiful templates but I wanted a custom design. So, with a set of professional pictures by my friend and photographer Kimberly Scott and a photo editor for cutting pics to fit my design and creating graphics (I use Photoshop), here she is:  www.lauramariemusic.com

Website

Did I have any complaints?

Well, the Reverbnation site builder is powered by Bandzoogle and I made the mistake of thinking both services would be identical.  They aren’t. If you’re in love with their store feature, you have to sign up directly through Bandzoogle to get it. The site builder through Reverbnation only allows you to use RN’s store widget as your store. On the plus side, if the RN widgets will do for you, going through them will be a snap. 

A complaint I heard from another user was that they wished they could set metatags for individual pages to better optimize the site for search engines. I have to agree with that one. That would be pretty slick. 

So, here you go. They give you 30 days to try it out which, trust me, is plenty of time to see how easy it is. Click the button and 
you get 60 days instead of 30 by using the referral code: 
m6bb6f  

Bandzoogle: band websites that work

And, yes, now that I’m a customer, I also get a discount for referring you. But, spend some time using it and you’ll see why I am referring every indie musician who wants a website upgrade to this site. 

If you can’t afford your own web designer, Bandszoogle looks like the best bet to me.


Here are my favorite things about using it:

1) Easy to integrate with my social networking sites and blogs

2) I LOVE the built in store feature. 

3) I can go totally custom or I can use their templates and choose from a number of fonts. 

4) Customer service is fantastic! They are on it!


Some custom things I added:

1) A share button: http://www.addtoany.com

2) HTML code to feature both my blog feeds with the help of https://feedburner.google.com/

3) An ArtistData calendar 

4) An additional ReverbNation music player for the music page

5) Graphics and spacers (for my custom look) 

All other features were provided by Bandzoogle. Woo-hoo!

 

If you need help adding any of the custom features I added, let me know. I’ll be happy to post a tutorial.

Let me know what you think?  – LM

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook, what have you done? (nerd blog/FB groups)

A word to bands: avoid adding your Facebook friends to groups without their permission or risk annoying them permanently. 

I simply don’t understand it. They give people the option of creating groups and automatically adding their friends to these groups AND the default setting for is for friends to receive email on all postings to the group. NO!!!!

Now, you can go to “notifications” under your account settings and uncheck the box next to “adds you to a group”. BUT, then you won’t know when people add you to a group and that could be annoying down the road when you start receiving all the posts to the group or chat messages from the entire group. This has happened to me and it took me several minutes to figure out how to unsubscribe from the chat. 

Me: UNSUBSCRIBE!!!

Chat: DING! hey what’s up DING! nothing much, how you doin’ DING! What’s going on this weekend DING! Love the new pics on the group page. ❤ ❤ ❤ DING! DING!

Me: UNSUBSCRIBE!!!!

 

Here is how to UNSUBSCRIBE FROM GROUP CHATS: 

1) Go to the group page

2) Hit “edit settings” at the top of the page

3) Pick and choose what you want from here

Group

You can also unsubscribe from the group by hitting the “leave group” link on the right hand column. Oh, and you see that “add friends to group” link there too? Leave it alone unless you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that your friends don’t mind being a part of whatever group you are creating. I can say that there are only five groups I’ve been okay with people adding me to. Two were created by very close personal friends. Two are for organizations I fully support and the last was created by someone who asked my permission before adding me. 

If you have a different opinion of groups, please share it with me. I am clearly speaking from my own perspective here. What do you think of groups and/or people adding you to them? 

 

 

 

The uproar about Tunecore? (blog)

Ok, so, in short:

Tunecore has upped their prices per album per year to $49. The reason? They say it will be better than paying for extras a la carte and they cite these 34 improvements. What I’d like to know is if it’s worth it to you. You’ll have to check out the list of improvements which include things like Apple Artist Ping pages, Tunecore charts and promotion services. 

I would also like to hear what you think of the comments left by other artists. There are several in support of a price increase. Or, maybe they are just grateful for the improvements. I don’t know. But, what I do know is that CDBaby responded by offering 50% for musicians transferring from Tunecore to CDBaby: http://cdbabylovesyoumore.com/  

(Original story here on Digital Music News)

Yes, CDbaby is all about the little guy. It reminds me of how Lefsetz talks about record labels. Make a little bit off of a lot of people. I think it applies to most businesses in the internet era and, from the indie music perspective (or, at least the indies I’m hearing from), it seems like Tunecore is headed in the wrong direction. 

To be fair, it sounds like they spent some real money on these improvements hoping to their customers would benefit. Still, what did they think would happen? Surprising your customers with 150% cost increase? Ouch. 

 – LM

Bands with the Same Name (blog)

This  is a quickie blog. I just want to sing the praises of one of the best indie music businesses out there. CDBABY!!!

 

Yes, with services like Bandcamp you can sell your CDs directly to your fans and that is wonderful. But, it also helps to have your stuff on the major download sites like iTunes because a lot of people just prefer buying from a big name. If you are an indie artist, you have to go through a music aggregator to get on iTunes and that’s where CDbaby and services like Tunecore come in. Great for us! But, here’s the problem. What if you or your band have the same name as another artist or band? Confusion in the store! (see pic below) The last thing you want to happen is to have all your hard advertising work go to waste when customers seek you out only to download someone else’s music. It happens! 

I have this issue.

Oneofthese

 

Now, I actually went to the trouble to have my name legally trademarked so, technically, I could start proceedings against the other artist to keep them from both selling CDs and performing under the name “Laura Marie”. But that seems like a bit much, right? I don’t really want it to come to that. But, as it turns out, for this issue, that won’t be necessary. Yay! for both of us. 

Because my music is distributed to iTunes through CDBaby, all I had to do was call them up (just login to your account and hit “contact”). CDBaby customer service, as always, was super helpful and I was told that all they had to do was submit a ticket to have my works separated from the other Laura Marie in the iTunes store. For now, that’s all I really wanted. 

They say I should be hearing from Apple within the week. I’ll let you know how it goes. Just know that if you have the same problem, you have to contact the content provider that submitted your music to iTunes. Here is a list of all those approved by Apple for indie artists: MUSIC AGGREGATORS. They’ll have to log in to your Apple artist account on your behalf and submit a ticket. If you are with CDBaby, just call them up and ask for Patrick. 🙂

Pass it on! This info could really help some artists set themselves apart. 

 

Sweet! – Laura Marie

 

P.S. I have a NEW WEBSITE and it’s awesome. Check it out and let me know what you think. I’ll be blogging about how easy it was to put together very soon…

 

FB Page Design How-tos (Nerd Blog)

I love having other techie-nerds as friends… especially, when I don’t have the time to navigate the ins and outs of the every-changing social networking system. After all, just when you have it all figured out, something will be updated, redesigned, reconfigured or done away with. All it takes is one trip out of town or a week with 4 or 5 gigs in a row and I’m lost. So, TGFM! Thank goodness for Madalyn!

If you don’t already follow Madalyn Sklar, founder of the GoGirls organization (a worldwide network of female musicians) and both  SN4M.com (Social Networks 4 Musicians) and socialnetworksforbiz.com, what are you waiting for? If you go to any of the major music conferences, you may have already seen her on a panel giving out a wealth of info on how to promote your music online. She knows all the social networking tips and tricks and she stays on top up the trends. I’m telling you from experience, you can’t have a conversation with her without learning something.

Madalyn recently invited me to view an e-class she gave on how to work with the new Facebook page design. I had already been working with it and thought I knew everything I needed to know. Wrong. Madalyn has adopted the motto “work smarter not harder” and, she helps you do just that. The following video gives us a sneak peek and explains some of the FB page changes and how to use them to our advantage. The e-class, which consists of 3 videos, is available here and includes a Q&A segment with her class attendees: http://www.socialnetworksforbiz.com/biz/video0311.htm

Madalyn is also available here:

 

 – Laura Marie

Next up: I build my new website using Bandzoogle.com. Let’s see what happens…

Merch Sales Squared! (Cha-ching)

As mentioned in the previous blog “For the Indie Do-It-Yourself-er”, ladies and gentlebands, SQUARE!

Square is a FREE app with a FREE card reader that allows you to accept credit card payments from your Apple IOS or Google Android device. Oh, yeah it does. 

I downloaded this app when I first read about it a few months back but, I never activated it because I was slightly suspicious of it. It wasn’t until  Claude “Butch” Morgan stopped by my table at one of his events and said “Laura, you need to get one of these.” that I decided to take a closer look. This thing is awesome. No charge for the app. No cost to sign up. No charge for the card reader. No recurring charges. You only pay a fee per transaction. If you have the card in hand and can swipe it it’s 2.75% +15 cents. If you have to enter the credit card number in manually, it’s 3.5% +15 cents. You can then text or email your customer their receipt right then and there. If you are worried about security, read this

Why accept credit cards at your shows? You will absolutely increase merch sales if you do. A lot of people don’t like to carry a lot of cash when they go out and, when they have it, they are spending it on food and drink. It’s all about making it “stupid easy” for the customer to buy. This’ll do it for you. Sign up is really easy. All you have to do is give the pertinent info and verify your bank information and the money gets deposited into your account in a flash. 

Now all you have to do is be sure your device is charged before the show. 🙂

 

Merch

 -Laura Marie

P.S. Even Bob Lefsetz is blogging about it. If you don’t know who Bob Lefsetz is, subscribe to his blog to get a brutally honest take on the music industry. Sometimes the truth hurts but it can also set you free. So, fly my little broken birdies, FLY!

P.S.S Nerd Alert is a dot com!!!! As in: nerdalert4musicians.com and, follow the blog on Twitter: twitter.com/nerdalert4   Follow nerdalert4 on Twitter