The 5 Best Online Business Tools for Bands
This article was originally written by Jeanne Crump at BandsOnABudget.com
A band is a business, so you should treat it like one. Whether you have a manager or not, seldom can you escape from the day to day housekeeping tasks that bands have to face, especially if you’re on the road frequently. But luckily there are a plethora of free online tools you can use to help manage those daunting tasks, from shared calendars and expense sheets to project boards and touring apps. Below are a few of our top recommendations.
1. Google Calendar: If you aren’t using the free tools Google has to offer, stop what you’re doing and sign up for an account. Once you have a Gmail account, you have access to many tools that can help keep you and your band organized. Google Calendar is an excellent shared online tool that multiple users can access and update through their respective Gmail accounts. It’s perfect for managing tour and appearance dates, and you can sync it to your smartphone’s calendar which makes it accessible 24/7. You can have multiple calendars too, so you don’t have to share your personal calendar with your band members.
2. Google Drive: Following in pursuit, with your Gmail account you also have access to Google’s business suite, Google Drive. Similar to what you’d get in the Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint programs, Google Drive allows you to create and save documents in the online cloud, so you can access your docs from anywhere. No need to save your work either, documents are saved every few seconds to ensure you don’t lose a thing. You could use Google Drive for many bookkeeping tasks, such as having shared spreadsheets with expenses, merchandise inventory, or press contacts. Every person shared on the document can access the content and edit in real-time. How organized is that?!
3. Trello: Trello.com may be your band’s solution to project management. A simple but extremely useful online tool, Trello makes collaboration efficient and easy, even fun. The site allows you to organize your projects on virtual boards. Create a board for a project or goal, (in a band’s case it could be a board for your monthly marketing goals), and then add cards to the board for each individual task. You can add and tag users on a card, make updates to the card, add lists, labels and more. In one glance you can see what has been done and what needs to be done. It’s the creme de la creme of organizing tools.
4. Facebook Groups: If you are a musician or band you’re most likely on Facebook, a lot. But, what you may of overlooked is the practical communication tools available through Facebook. Since it’s a place where users frequent, it serves as an easy place for you to correspond in a shared space with your band. By creating a private group and inviting only the members of your band (also your manager, publicist, booking agent, etc), you can do just that. A private Facebook group is a great place for band members to post day to day questions, ideas, news, announcements, etc that everyone needs to weigh in on. It’s also an open forum for discussion, so once a post or question has been made, each member can answer the question or comment on the topic. It makes for a quick and super efficient way for multiple people to get things done. Endless email chains and repetitive phone calls just aren’t necessary anymore.
5. Bandsintown: Granted, this is less of a tool than it is an app. But, the Bandsintown platform serves as automatic promotion, which means you and your team do less! Bandsintown is a Facebook app you can install on your band or artist page. You use it to manage and promote your tour dates. Once the app is installed, you can add your tour dates to the calendar which is not only visible on your Facebook page, but can be embedded onto other sites as well. The best part about the app: it self-promotes. Automatic show reminders will be posted to your profile so users can stay up to date on your tour schedule. Everything is managed from one dashboard for easy use. You may even get included in their e-blast updates when you announce shows!
Jeanne Crump works in marketing at Bandsonabudget.com and manages their blog. She also works in Artist Management and Publicity. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.