Friday, May 6, 2011

10 SEO Tips for Musicians and Bands

How do you find information online? In reputable blogs, or your friend's Facebook wall? Through Google and other search engines? Well, you're not alone. Millions of people look for information via search everyday.

In a world saturated with entertainment options, improving your website so that it receives more traffic from search engines, also known as search engine optimization (SEO), is more important than ever. So let's talk about some ways to get your band website ranking near the top of those results!

1. Choose your keywords
The first step is to create your "top 5" list of keywords -- words or phrases that you think people might use to find your website. This could be your band name, musical style, or location. For example, if you're an 80s cover band in Idaho, your keywords might be "80s, live, cover band, wedding, Boise Idaho."

2. Content is Key
Once you have your keyword list, sprinkle them sparingly throughout your website (in your bio, in page headers, in buttons, etc.). A good rule of thumb is to write for humans first, and search engines second. Google knows when you are going overboard on trying to insert keywords into your page, and can penalize you. An extreme case would be removing you from their search database all together (which is more common than you would think!)

3. Choose a great domain name
When choosing a domain name, try to choose one that contains some of your keywords. Google puts websites with keywords in their domain name in bold, so they stand out in search results.

4. Set your META tags
META tags are another place that you can add keywords to your site. Think of them as a way to insert hidden keywords into your pages without actually adding them to that page.

The most important one is the Title META tag. It is what appears as the main link to your page in search results. By default, we set the Title tag to be your artist name, followed by the page (for example Bob Smith - Music). You can change this to add even more keywords manually, like "Bob Smith - Country music in Fairfield, Connecticut".

There are two other META tags that are relevant to search engines, called "Keywords" and "Description." They aren't used quite as much anymore, but they are still worth adding some keywords to anyway.

5. Build links
Google ranks sites that are trustworthy, not spammy. One way it measures this is by counting the number of websites that link back to yours. The more external sites linking back to yours, the better. To see who is linking to you now, you can do a Google search for

The easiest and best thing you can do to get links, is to produce quality content that people will want to link to. Don't forget to add links on your website to other musicians you have played with, respect, or know (why not network in the Bandzoogle community?) - and ask them to return the favour!

6. Use your networks
Google loves frequently updated content on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, etc. Post quality content, and make sure to link back to your website (and yes, Google can read short urls like at or )

7. Don't forget YouTube
One often neglected opportunity to improve your search ranking is to post YouTube videos that contain keywords in the title. YouTube is a Google company, and videos will appear in search results, right alongside websites. Make sure to link to your website in the video description field, and tag the video with your keywords.

8. The power of plain text
Search engines strip away images, and can't read Flash or video, so make sure your keywords appear in good old plain text.

9.  Make it easy for Google to browse
Publishing a "site map" file gives Google access to all of your pages (Bandzoogle automatically does this for you. You can also submit sitemaps manually if you like through your Site Promotion section in Bandzoogle). On top of that, a good practice is to add text links with keywords that link to internal pages in the main content of your home page.

10. Measure and adjust
You can check out how well your keywords and phrases are doing in your site traffic report. See which keywords people use to get to your site, and add the popular ones more often. You can also type your chosen keywords into and see where your page comes up in the listings. Based on these results, you may want to change/tweak your keywords.

Remember, Google may only update every few weeks, so changes to your site will not immediately be reflected in their search results.

Search Engine Optimization is important to your band's website success - it can provide publicity, exposure, help build your fan base, get gigs, and hopefully increase revenue as well. So why not try some of these tips on your site today? Good luck, and share any SEO tips and comments below! I'd love to continue an open discussion with you.

By: Melanie


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tips For Marketing & Making More Money For Your Studio

Summary: 7 tips for growing your studios business.

1. Use Search Engine Marketing: Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing allow you to have ads for your studio pop up in search results. This type of marketing can be targeted to just your local area and it is very cost effective. For example, if you are a studio in St. Louis, you can have your ads appear in results whenever someone searches for “recording studios”; however your ad will only appear in search results if they are originated from the St. Louis area. If they click on your ad they will be directed to your studio’s website. This click may cost as little as a penny. If no one clicks on the ad then you are not charged anything. It’s as close to risk free as you can get.

2. Give Away Something For FREE: Battle of the Bands competitions are always looking for prizes to give away. Consider offering them something simple such as 1 song recorded and mixed for free. Require that if you are giving a prize away, that on all marketing and promotion materials for the Battle of the Bands, that your studios name and logo are featured.

3. Offer A Discount: Identify who the major bands/artists are in your local scene. Offer to record for them at a discounted price if in return they tell their friends and other bands that they play with that you did the recording. Word of mouth advertising is the best. Aspiring artists always want to follow the footsteps of the larger artists in the scene. By being the studio that works with the larger acts, you will get the business of the up an coming ones as well.

4. Put On A Showcase: Sponsor a night at a local venue where you can bring in bands that you have recorded. Make sure that all marketing and promotion materials say something to the effect of “XYZ Studios Present: . . .” This will help you to grow your brand while at the same time keeping your current clients happy.

5. Offer A Student Discount: Offer a discount to local college and university students. To get the word out post flyers around campus, and talk to the music professors. The professors can be a valuable ally in helping you attract new clients.

6. Get On The Social Networks: If you are not already signed up for Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, do so now. There is so much opportunity to connect with artists in your local area, that it would be a shame to not do so. When on the networks, interact with local artists that you would like to work with. Offer advice to them and correspond with them in a meaningful way. Being on a social network also allows you to learn more about your potential clients. This will help you identify needs they may have then you can help them with.

7. Join An Affiliate Program: As the recording engineer you have the first opportunity to help your artists get the products and services (CD Pressing, Mastering, Digital Distribution, Download Cards, T-Shirts etc.) they will need after the recording is complete. By teaming up with a reputable company like Distrophonix you will have the opportunity to earn additional money for your studio for each referral you send their way. To learn more about the Distrophonix referral program check out:

By: Brenden Bosmans

Brenden is a Marketing Consultant to Distrophonix LLC. Distrophonix provides digital distribution (iTunes & 400+ other stores), CD Pressing, Download Cards, Mastering, etc. to Record Labels, Musicians and Studios. To learn more about Distrophonix check out:

Top 10 Tax Deductible Expenses for Musicians

Summary: Ten tax deductibles in pursuing a career as a musician.

The IRS defines a business expense as something that is common, accepted, helpful, and appropriate to your trade or business. Most musicians operate as sole proprietors, thus they are considered a business that can make deductions from their expenses. Before being able to make deductibles, you must file a Schedule C as part of your annual tax return. This will reduce the amount of net taxable income therefore reducing the amount of your income tax.

Musicians don’t generally view themselves as a business and therefore will not pay taxes, however the benefits outweigh the costs. Here are the top 10 deductible expenses in pursuing your music career to make a profit:

10. Copyright and Registration Fees- Typical copyright fees for an individual song will range from $35 to $65 depending on how the copyright form was submitted (electronically or paper registration). These fees are tax deductible so in the long run the cost will be less.

9. Professional Fees- Most musicians who operate as a business will typically have managers, lawyers, and/or accountants. Paying any professional will include paying them taxes. Those expenses can be deducted as long as you had filed a Schedule C with your annual tax return.

8. Supplies- Supplies are tax deductible. Typically this includes writing utensils, paper, staples and other such necessities. In the business of playing and writing music, supplies that can be written off include drum sticks, drum skins, guitar picks, and guitar strings.

7. Retirement- Two options:

A- Standard IRA allows you to deduct your current taxable income and then be taxed when you withdraw money in retirement.
B- Roth IRA allows your retirement withdrawals to be tax free, however contributions made toward that fund are taxable.

6. Equipment and Gear- Amps, pedals, straps, and carrying cases all fall into this category. Part of this includes depreciable items. Depreciating equipment can reduce the tax completely by paying it over time and delaying the amount you need to pay. This way you can pay at a later time in your career when your earnings significantly outweigh your costs.

5. Trade Magazines- Having subscriptions to trade journals are considered by the IRS as something that is helpful for your business. Examples include Billboard and The Music Trade Magazine.
4. Mailings and Promotions- Making and copying flyers are considered tax deductible as well as a percentage of postage expenses.

3. Food- 50% of business meals are deductible. Keep Your Receipts!

2. Travel Expenses- When traveling to performances you can deduct a portion of those expenses or you can keep track of your mileage log and receive a standard rate of $0.365 to the mile. Choosing which one will vary on what type of vehicle you use as transportation so figure out both and choose the one with the higher value.

1. Instruments- All instruments are tax deductible including, but not limited to guitars, drum sets, keyboards/pianos, and microphones. Just like equipment and gear, musical instruments depreciate over time and allow you to make payments over time. Instruments are typically a musician’s greatest expense.

By: Michael Landa

Michael is a consultant to Distrophonix LLC. Distrophonix LLC is a music marketing and distribution company based in Baltimore, MD. They design marketing plans for musicians, as well as offer digital distribution, CD pressing, download cards and mastering.