What I want to do with today’s episode is bust the myth that musicians are not making money during the pandemic. When I got an email from Bandzoogle about their customers making over $5M between the months of April to Aug 2020, I got super excited and wanted to share this with you. Today, I am bringing in Bandzoogle CEO, Stacey Bedford. She will share all the things you can do with the Bandzoogle platform as well as break down how musicians made over $5M in their platform. If you haven’t signed up with Bandzoogle, you can use our promo code, WOS15, to get a free trial for 30 days and if you decide to stay with their platform afterwards, you’ll get 15% off.

Stacey Bedford has been the CEO of Bandzoogle for two years. She has been with Bandzoogle for 13 years and started as Bandzoogle’s first customer support rep. The advantage of this is they have someone leading the company that has a huge customer focus. Today, their products is really driven by what the artists need to be successful in their current music climate.

Bandzoogle was founded in 2003 by a bassist who worked on a record label. Once the band folded due to disagreements, he continued to work at Donald K Donald in Montreal. Websites were just becoming important for artists that time. It became crazy for him to keep up with the demand of the label and of the artists wanting to update their blogs, photos, and set up merch stores, among other things. He basically made Bandzoogle to make it easier to do his own job. It allowed musicians to update their own websites without having a computer science degree or taking up computer courses. Also, bands are able to do it while on the road. Up to now, Bandzoogle really doesn’t have a lot of budget for marketing. Their business grew through word of mouth.

During the time CD Baby had to decommission Host Baby, they partnered with Bandzoogle to take over taking care of CD Baby’s artists. The two brands were born during the same era so they had similar cultures. Bandzoogle made sure the customers had smooth migration from website to website. 80% of CD Baby customers transitioned to Bandzoogle.

Bandzoogle is not just a website but they also have a ton of tools for musicians. The great thing is all of their sales tools are commission-free.

Here are samples of their subscription tools:

  1. Store to sell physical products
  2. Digital download sales
  3. Tip jar feature with donations
  4. Live and virtual ticket event sales
  5. Fan engagement tools (mailing list, call to action for landing pages)
  6. Integrations with social media (like Youtube, SoundCloud, Facebook, Bandcamp, Bandsintown, Twitch, Crowdcast)

When the pandemic started, people were anticipating that artists will really be hit hard due to restrictions on live events. What Bandzoogle saw happened was just the opposite. Bandzoogle wanted to help their customers make more money. As a result, from April to August, the artists have earned over $5 million. They provided so many free weekly masterclasses. Their website sales actually exploded. They saw a lot of people starting to diversify their income sources. For example, some music teachers were selling services in person before but they are now using Bandzoogle’s subscription features to sell their services. Aside from that, musicians did live streaming services, singer-songwriting workshops, lessons, listing service pages for studio work — things that they didn’t really put that much attention to before. They also ended creating a tip jar to make it simpler for artists and their fans to use during live streaming. An interesting thing we found is that some artists who tested out asking for tips instead of selling tickets to their live selling made 2X the average of what they usually do. They also have the concept of the Pay What You Can option where artists can maintain relationships with their fans.  If we’re going to breakdown what the artists were making money on during that time, it was around $3.8 million which were just from merch.

Sample of Merch That Artists Sell:

  1. T-shirts
  2. Hoodies
  3. Hats
  4. Posters
  5. Stickers
  6. Instruments (from music shops on Bandzoogle)
  7. CDs
  8. Vinyl
  9. Cassettes

Stacey can’t give specific data on artists, but they have this band called Ninja Sex Party that joined Bandzoogle. They used the pre-order feature and they sold out within a day. It was a very successful sale. They offered physically signed CDs. Some other artists offer handwritten notes and high-quality print. They’re finding that artists who have some unique offerings are doing really well.

They also have different selling options:

  1. Fixed price to Pay What You Want
  2. Discount Options
  3. Free Items in Exchange for an Email with Your Music
  4. Pre-orders
  5. Crowdfunding

There are always new tools that come out and Bandzoogle is always thinking about new stuff to help musicians. It all comes with your Bandzoogle membership.

Artists noticed that live streaming have diminishing audiences. One recommendation from Stacey is to keep things fresh. They can collaborate with other artists so you can share audiences, or contact venues where you could have a show since they are struggling too. Think outside of the box. There’s also the Social Media Takeover Concept where you can trade Instagram accounts for a weekend with other bands that have the same genre. The idea is to help other artists and other people with your music.

Looks like it will still be some time before we move forward from the pandemic but the good thing is, once this is over, artists have already adapted to having multiple streams of income which they can still continue after the pandemic. You expand your streams of income. You’ve thought outside of the box and you’ve got maybe ten different ways that you could make money. I always say you can pull this lever or pull this lever, depending on what’s happening in the world and happening in your life. If you have more levers to pull, then you have more ways to make money. You’re not like, “I only have two streams of income and I lost one of them entirely.” You don’t want to be in that position.

This is the best time to work on setting up your online business and focusing on your strategies right now. There are a lot of things that you do day-to-day as an artist that you don’t think about, but your super fans would be interested in having an eye on that. Behind the scenes in the studio or anything where you’re giving them special access that they wouldn’t normally have. Fans are interested in that. These are all some great ideas.

Another thing Bandzoogle is doing to help out artists is provide lots of support resources for musicians such as educating them about what you can do to get yourself through like government grants. They have also been doing a lot of educational information like webinars and e-books. When the pandemic hit, Bandzoogle focused on how to help artists generate more income. Previously tickets for live streaming events were only available for the pro plan but during the pandemic, we made it available for the lite plan. There are also some other interesting blogs like wellness for artists.

They also have some other exciting things coming up in the near future like Print on Demand. They noticed that artists who truly know their audiences have been offering whatever they want like face masks, calendars, mini-series, aprons or even sharing recipes. Bundle options are going to be really amazing too.

Stacey just gave us a million reasons why you should go with Bandzoogle. This is the best time to get your online house in order and get your business truly up online. Go out and get set up so you can start leveraging what’s available. After this is over, things will be different. There will be more online than there ever was before, so you want to be ready for that.

There will be a link underneath this episode to go check out Bandzoogle. They have these blog posts that are totally free and so in-depth that can help you out. Get your free trial for Bandzoogle by putting in WOS15 and see if Bandzoogle is right for you, test out their tools, and all that. Thank you, Stacey, for giving us your time and letting us know all the ways musicians can keep making money.


Links mentioned in this episode:

Try Bandzoogle for 30 days free and then get 15% off if you decide to continue by using promo code WOS15 – Click here