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« Savor Your Music: The Effect of Abundance in Culture | Main | How Man Overboard Made Their Record Leak Turn Into A Good Thing »
Thursday
Jul292010

10 Free Google Tools to Manage Your Music Career

Google is constantly developing nifty applications and technologies to enhance the way we communicate and work online.  Because Google survives on advertising revenues these products are all offered at the amazingly low low price of  FREE.  As a musician in a rather competitive market, it’s important to know and use tools that increase the efficiency of your marketing, managing, and networking efforts.  The goal is less time pulling your hair out in front of the computer screen and more time making beautiful music!

1. Google Docs
Google Docs is similar to Microsoft’s Office suite only simpler and completely online.  This allows you access to your important lyrics, schedules, and accounting docs from any computer anywhere on the internet.  Use Google Docs to share your lyrics with your band mates and even upload and share mp3s.  Use a spreadsheet doc to manage band expenses and income.  Use the form maker doc to create a booking form.  Use the word processor doc to create a set list or the drawing pad to sketch your  stage set up.  You can then share your documents and allow multiple users to update information.  You can also choose who does or doesn’t have access to these documents. The possibilities are endless.

2. Gmail
Besides being a reliable and easy to use email provider, you can also use Gmail to manage your band email addresses @your-domain-name.  Learn how to set that up here.

Gmail also features handy filters and labels to organize your email and almost unlimited storage.  So you can easily archive email as well as separate your fanmail from your family mail etc.

Gmail also has a built in IM and video chat feature right in your inbox—which can be useful when you need feedback from an absent bandmate when you’re in the studio. This chat tool can only be used with other Gmail users, however.

3. Google Analytics
Google Analytics will show you dizzying details about how your fans interact with your website.  Find out which of your songs is the most popular, how many people visit your site on a given day, or which search terms people use to find your site in the first place. You can find thousands of additional down and dirty details and statistics about how people use your website.

4. Goog411
Ever find yourself late for a show and you just can’t find the venue or you don’t have the phone number?  Google offers a nifty voice activated Google Search.  Just call  1-800-goog-411.  Google will not only find the business your looking for–it will connect you to them for no charge.

5. Google Calendar
Use Google calendar to manage your tour, practices, and concert dates.  You can give all your band members admin access so they can add their own schedule at their leisure.  Set up email reminders to remind you about your next show, radio interview, or practice.  Best of all, you can integrate multiple calendars (work, home, band, etc) using color coding.  Keep some calendars private while making others public.

6. Google Reader
Google Reader is a great way to have all your industry news in one place.  Subscribe to the online magazines, news sources, and music blogs that cover your genre.  So when you open Google Reader each morning (coffee in hand) you’ll you’ll see all the most recent articles from all these sources in one place.  It’s like a personalized digital newspaper.

7. Google Alerts
This one is a must.  Ever wonder what people are saying about your online?  Create a Google Alert and get an email every day or every week with a synopsis of who’s been talking about you or your band online.  Google Alerts will provide you with a list of links where you or your band is mentioned.  This way you can reach out to people giving you props and defend yourself against internet slander.

8. Picasa
This is a great photo editing suite with lots of features.  It also allows you to publish photos and share them online.  Edit, crop, enhance, and clean up your band photos and share them with your fans.  Picasa has a new face recognition feature built in and can automatically tag photos with the names pf people featured in them (pretty cool).

9. Google Blogsearch
One of the best ways to find success online is to be promoted and talked about on popular music blogs by the taste-makers in your genre or style.  What are the blogs to be reckoned with in your field of expertise?  Use Google Blog Search by searching for terms relative to your niche.   Once you find a good blog site, subscribe to it in Google Reader so you can keep up to date on the newest posts.

10. Google Voice (in Beta as of this writing):
Google Voice is great way to manage your voicemail and text messages.  Currently it is invitation only, so ask one of your Geeky friends if they have any invites left.  Everybody gets 3 invites (sorry I already used mine).

With Google Voice you can access your voicemails and texts via the internet in text format.  You can even set up a unique Google phone number that is specifically for your band and rings to multiple cell phones.  Google Voice also turns voicemail into email that you can read or listen to from your computer.  You can even send a text message via email and make specific outgoing messages for people on your contact list.  Pretty cool!

Posted via blog.hostbaby.com

Share your favorite Google tool in the comments!

Reader Comments (14)

Thanks for this article! Very valuable information. Just want to add - and I'm not sure that I should, since Google is the next best thing to God - that one can also reach his/her AIM contacts via Google Chat.

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterKEV.O

Google voice is great it gives me a centralized # which I can mask from any phone. It also allows me to set up voice mail widgets to place on websites with custom greetings for each widget so I can dial in the greeting. When my text goes down on my phone I can send text messages from any computer with my google voice, ironically even my phone. Google calendar is also great. However Google BUZZ sucks as it is way too simple a concept for what we expect from google. Google alerts keeps sending me crap about some fantasy novel cat however.

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterCrowfeatheR

can't survive without google docs & google calendar. these are definitely good, simple tools that can help anyone stay better organized.

July 30 | Unregistered Commenterchantilly

Crowfeather -- refine your search results. Use the minus sign as a modifier to remove the results that keep clogging your inbox. For instance "Crowfeather -crapaboutfantasynovelcat" would do the trick here. (I kid, you'd actually need to use it's name or something...a single keyword that would remove it all in one fell swoop.)

You can easily edit google alerts to be more powerful, though. Don't settle for noise.

July 30 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

Gee, that's swell... Google is sooooo helpful to musicians .... It's is a clear fact that Google is also the single greatest gateway to and facilitator of music piracy. So, while they are 'helping' musicians communicate, they are also making it impossible for them to make a living! Somebody's gotta wake up and smell the coffee around here. If you think you have a chance at a career in music... think again. Google is putting an end to all of your hopes and dreams.

July 30 | Unregistered CommenterTonsoTunez

Hi Tonso,

While I do think that no corporation is beyond reproach, search engines must remain unbiased to content in the same way that the media must aim to be unbiased to political leanings. If Google starts filtering content, people will just start using other search engines.

Besides, most download piracy is aimed at pop stars and the uber famous. Obscurity, not piracy, is the enemy of independent artists.

Chris

July 30 | Unregistered CommenterChris Bolton

Google is amazing! What about Google Apps?

With the ever popular smart phones now available bands should definitely be thinking towards ease of use and Google Apps, something you have missed out by the way is another helping hand.

Replace your webmail or desktop email reader software with a fully branded (as in your own) email account at Google Apps. I use it for personal website projects, i use it for my own portfolio and online presence, i even tell customers about it.

I have even made a step by step guide on how to FULLY set it up too. Go check it out and learn how to set up your bands branded email

Great post!

July 30 | Unregistered CommenterMartinT

@TonsoTunez

I used to think like you, and I thought I had it ALL figured out!! Little did I realize at the time, there was a still-larger conspiracy to destroy independent AND major label music alike! I am speaking, of course, about the microprocessor industry, especially INTEL. Just because Intel provides us with shiny, pretty things like streaming video and "smart" phones, the masses are BLINDED to the fact Intel is THE core enabler of ALL online piracy -- YET THE FINGER NEVER GETS POINTED AT THEM?? The extent of their reach and vision will SHOCK you.

I would urge you to look into the REAL conspiracy...and TELL YOUR CONGRESSMAN ABOUT THIS SHOCKING NIGHTMARE TODAY.

July 30 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

Holy cow.This is a great list!
Goog411 just blew my mind---great for those of us who don't have iPhones or blackberries.

July 31 | Unregistered CommenterScott Hughes

@ Tonso

I use Google alerts to find out when a release is available for illegal download. So when people try to get an illegal download of my new album they get to dead links. Most of the illegal downloads that end up showing up on Google are hosted by Rapidshare, MegaUpload, or Fileshare; all of whom are really good in my experience about taking a file down within 48 hours of you notifying them a file is in violation.

Chris Bolton writes: "Besides, most download piracy is aimed at pop stars and the uber famous. Obscurity, not piracy, is the enemy of independent artists."

But, Chris, once the indies bust the butts trying to get known and start to succeed, Google will eat them for lunch as well ... Google is making billions of the backs of everyone trying to earn a living creating intangible products --- and they don't give a damn.

All who hope to be able to feed their families one day as a result of what they can create by using their hearts and minds need to start letting the world know that Google needs to understand how they are destroying the future of the world's culture. It's up to Google to find a way to do something about it by dealing with - and not heartlessly screwing - creators.

Google is the new middle man that makes record labels look like choir boys. At least record companies understand they serve two masters, consumers AND creators ...

By tossing creators under the bus, Google and consumers will eventually learn that Google has nothing new to serve that consumers will be interested in consuming.

There is something truly ugly about a company that makes untold billions by encouraging and providing tools that support theft.

Google is the ugliest and truly the most culturally evil company ever conceived.

July 31 | Unregistered CommenterTonsoTunez

Thanks for this great article. It's definitely been added to my Bookmarks for further reading and exploring. I'm just uploading my album from 2005 to my page on Reverbnation and, I'm paranoid that the upload might get disturbed if I start downloading stuff or browsing too much.... speaking from experience. Lol

I'm definitely coming back to this page.

Over and Out,

Crisis Mr. Swagger

Phenomenal list! I like to use Google TRENDS as well....

I can't wait until they roll out "Google Me" their social network and see how they improve OneBox w/ their new music offering.

I think both Chrome and Android's individual app markets will also play a role in direct to fan interaction.

These are part of my everyday workflow: Google Reader, Calendar and Analytics.

I was using Google docs for taking notes until I discovered Evernote.
I find Evernote much simpler to use. I now only use Google Docs when I create lists.

Google Analytics is our main SEO tool for all website we build.
Love the reporting flexibility.

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