- Band Management
- Home Recording
- Live Sound
- Best Instruments
- New Music & Video
If you are online at all, it’s hard to miss the breathlessness with which every new app is promoted. “It’s the Uber of Fitbit, with a Facebook play.” One after another, they are launched, and almost as quickly, fade, especially in the music space (hello Twitter #Music!).
But some apps catch fire, and become part of people’s daily lives, for who knows how long, but a part of it nonetheless. It’s important that those of us in the music business understand what our fans are doing with their time, and where. Sure, apps like Bandsintown and Shazam (both covered and praised in these pages before) are incredible for music lovers; but not all of your fans spend 24 hrs a day in music, like you do. So, it’s important to harness apps that your fans use, and harness them to supercharge your music career.
Slack is a workgroup-messaging platform. Here’s how it can work for you. Using Slack Lite (free), you can share notices and messages quickly with all members of your group. Think of your band as your business workgroup: manager, band members, booking agent, roadies, PR, social, etc. Now, you can send messages, share contracts, stage plots, booking notifications, and more, all with just your team, without gumming up your email. It’s light, easy and mobile. Now, go bigger. Invite your fans to your team on Slack on the #general channel – they will have access to your public posts, the latest dates, maybe polls on setlists, new lyrics, or requests for radio and street team support.
With the Cash.me app (and also online) you can send and receive money instantly between two people for free. It works by having bank accounts associated by direct deposit, but it is very easy to setup. There are some limits, $1,000/month, but you can be verified, or go with Cash Pro (which only charges 1.5% per transaction), and bypass that fairly quickly. Using your cashtag (mine is $stjames), which you create on the Cash.me site, you can get paid upfront, on your own dedicated webpage, even without the app.
For instance, I charge $50 for any music business question, or $100 for a 1hr. licensing consult. You go here: http://cash.me/$stjames , enter your email and question in the “Optional note: For” box, and I email you back a detailed answer. It’s simple.
The web side is great, but the app is amazing. I’m sure you already see how it can be used for the merch table. Just signup for Cash.me with your Band’s LLC, and tie it to that bank account. A solo artist can take instant payments for a gig, ask for tips, or sell merch. If you teach voice or instrumental lessons, you can collect from your students, instantly, even before the session starts. Not to mention how well this works inside a band. How often does the drummer need you to buy his Taco Bell because he doesn’t have cash but he will “get you back?” Well, no more. Now he can pay you back before he gets hot sauce all over the backseat.
Periscope is a live streaming app that also can save backup streams. Periscope is owned and supported by Twitter, so your followers graph is easily accessed. You can also promote an upcoming stream easily on Twitter, making your chances of more live viewers greater. So, what should you do on it? Well, definitely do a “what’s in my fridge?” stream. (Inside joke, you’ll see.) The magic of these apps is the ability to see something live, anywhere in the world. Plan a Periscope for your next rehearsal, watch your fans (and strangers) interact. Of course, an artist/band Q&A is always a good way to connect. Take it further by promoting your show and offering a live look-in while you’re in the green room backstage. Periscope the latest song you are pushing and then save it for playback later. This will help you with titling and SEO, as well. While the licensing issues get worked out, you will want to use this as much as you can with only your songs. Do not Periscope covers.
The biggest advantage of Meerkat is that it has left Twitter and will be fully supported in Facebook. Meaning you can record, then post the stream itself on Facebook (which is killing it on video views). (Meerkat will have the ability to save streams by the time you read this.) You already know that some of your fans are heavier on Twitter or Facebook, so use Meerkat in the same way as Periscope to capture all of your fanbase: live Q&A, casting new songs, notes from tour, songwriting session, and on and on.
Have fun, and make music.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
-Michael St. James is the founder and creative director of St. James Media, specializing in music licensing, publishing, production and artist development.