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« A New Breed of Artists | Main | MusicThinkTank.com Weekly Recap: Where Has The Music Loving Feeling Gone & More »
Monday
Sep102012

Developing a mobile app for your band

Why Your Band Needs an App

It’s no secret that the world of music has changed over the past decade. In fact, there’s no aspect of writing, recording, distributing and marketing music that hasn’t changed. While some bands may be actively seeking major label success, the truly inventive bands are working hard on every aspect of their music, including promotion. This is largely because today’s independent musician is truly independent. They often produce, record and promote their music without the help of a record producer or PR company.

Your Band is a Brand

The truth is that whether you like it or not, your band is also a brand that people need to connect with. The other truth is that music is more accessible than ever, and that means that we’re constantly barraged with new music via cloud-based music streaming services and music blogs. In fact, standing out from the masses of musicians and bands trying to strike it big is among the most difficult challenges of playing music these days. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better way to stay ahead of the back than with a well-designed iOS or Android app, though.

Three Reasons Your Band Needs an App

1. Promotion – If you’re like most band managers, promoters, frontmen/women you have probably spent countless hours promoting shows, new singles and upcoming tours or radio appearances. A mobile app would serve as a simplified portal for promoting upcoming band-related events.

2. Band Updates – If your band is actively touring and recording, you may find yourself incessantly posting updates to Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, sometimes getting posts crisscrossed in the process. A quality mobile app will allow you to pre-schedule tweets and status updates from the road without having to scour unknown cities and towns for Internet cafes when you should be focusing on touring, which is a stressful process in and of itself.

3. Music/Merchandise Sales – A big debate in today’s music making culture is whether or not bands make money from touring. Whether or not bands make money from touring is irrelevant. The bottom line is that bands don’t make money from selling records anymore - royalties are a mere pittance of what they used to be - so they have to make money somehow. This is an unfortunate reality for many bands, but you can make this work in your favor with a mobile app. An app will let you alert fans and users when you come to their town. You can even offer discounts and specials for people who present a ticket stub for your show at the merch table. However you approach it, make sure you make it easy for concertgoers to buy your band’s merchandise.

Getting Down to Business: Developing the App

Unless you’ve lucked out by recruiting a mobile developer as a drummer, odds are you may find yourself on the clueless end of the app development spectrum. There are a number mobile app development services that work with you to build a high quality app to fit your band’s image. Some are open source or allow you to build your app in a drag & drop format, while others will work with you directly and custom design the app for you.

Facing the Music: The Old Industry Model is Dead

From the moment music lovers knew they could enjoy music digitally without spending $15 to $20 on an entire album, music industry bigwigs have been trying to thwart the power of the Internet. While this battle is far from over, the accessibility of promotional tools, like mobile apps and digital distribution, puts more power into the hands of musicians, and less power into the hands of executives and music publishers.

Reader Comments (11)

Couldn't agree more. And I approached a couple of freelance web/ app developers just to get an idea of cost. Guess what? Still haven't heard back. Seems that they're not prepared to work on a shoestring and work out some back-end deal. Get in touch if you will..

September 10 | Unregistered Commenterdaznez

These apps are the way to go. It's a great way to get your music out there in many different ways. I have built apps for indie films and doing some for musicians. People are using mobile more and more. With an app you can keep it updating with new stuff all the time or sell an app like an album expience or sampler.

September 10 | Unregistered CommenterMike

I'm pretty skeptical of this. How much real estate is there on a device for apps? Not enough to have room for more than a few artist apps. Whereas a device owner might have songs from hundreds of artists on their media player, the relative number of artists they're going to have as apps is probably less than 10, and by necessity less than 100, if they're into artist apps at all. So my app is competing for very limited space with artists who can afford to have big professional dev/content teams polishing their app. It seems to me that I should focus my resources on battles I am more likely to win.
Furthermore, how does an app help me gain or retain fans? I'd wager that someone who puts the Lady Gaga app on their iPhone is already a huge gaga fan, and the app is just icing on the cake.
The article really doesn't make the case to address any of these issues.
- Tungsten Carbide, http://thehumanoperators.com

September 10 | Unregistered Commentertungsten carbide

It def makes me happy to see more and more bands using their app to promote their brand! @daznez I might try going to local art/comp sci universities and see if any aspiring developers/designers could develop something for you. Quality might not be top-notch(maybe it would depending on who it is) and costs would probably be lower.

September 10 | Registered CommenterCameron Tyler

We've come to exactly the same conclusions when designing NuPlays. Creating apps is another great way to give your fans experience And music branch must start thinking about selling music experiences, not files.

September 10 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Soproniuk

How about Mobile Roadie? It's a platform for creative artists and is reasonably priced. Almost no development except for the art pieces.

September 11 | Unregistered Commenterscottstom

We really dig Sonic Row. Web apps and QR codes, messaging and selling music through their system. It's pretty impressive. sonicrow.com.

September 13 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Lewis

Thanks for sharing this post on developing a mobile app for your band. You have clearly explained why a Band needs an app. An app for band will be really helpful for promotion, band updates and Music or Merchandise Sales.

September 13 | Unregistered CommenterJames

Can anybody share some measurable results before having mobile app and after? I still feel very skeptical about paying 30 bucks per month just for fanciness.

September 16 | Registered CommenterPublic Different

Another very good app solution can be found at http:/volu.me

They provide native apps for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry platforms.

July 17 | Unregistered CommenterMarky

Funny, I'm a drummer and an App developer. I know the indie music world b/c I've been in it for the last 12 + years. I understand the questions and the concerns for viability and results with every dollar spent. If you're tired of paying too much for an App or finding a cheap one that is poorly designed and clunky, take two minutes and look at my website www.blackeyedapps.com to find an option that is elegant in design, super easy to make without technical jargon, and works on an indie band's budget.

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