We’ve launched some new features in the past few weeks. Now artists can turn on or off all of the interactivity features in their web events. This includes allowing comments, allowing/showing fan contributions, and allowing track downloads.
We’ve also added more customization to free preview web events. Now rather than forcing one free preview, we let you choose to make any combination of web events free previews…or none at all.
We’ve also made other improvements throughout the interface like making comments by artists stand out. More improvements on the way!
We will have a booth at the SXSW trade show and someone from our team will be around the various events in Austin throughout much of the next week. Our booth is #1144 so come on by if you want to talk.
We just launched another new feature! Now musicians can select any combination of versions in their web events and make them free previews. This provides much more control over your try-before-you-by strategy. Here’s what it looks like:
This month I thought I would tell another quick story from my college band…this time about our worst show ever. As you could probably tell from previous posts, we were a rock band that almost always played amplified type songs with electric guitars, drums, etc. But one time a venue asked us to play an acoustic show. Since our shows had all been awesome so far, we figured we could just take out the acoustic guitars and play our same songs no problem. We practiced maybe once and you can guess what happened…we sucked it up big time. It was one of the most embarrassing 45 minutes of my life. I remember at one point we actually stopped playing in the middle of a song since every time we looked at someone’s face, they would either hide their eyes or cringe. We saved face a little by turning it into standup comedy and making fun of ourselves, but deep down we were pretty mad.
The point of this story is how that show made us understand the hard way the importance of focus. Afterward we started working really hard at knowing who our fans were and what they liked, didn’t like and what they responded to. We started having laser focus. One way was by testing new songs on small groups of people before playing them at a show. Another was by starting an email list and actually interacting with our fans outside of venues. And having laser focus paid off. Not only did we never suck up a show again, but we also made more money since our fan base started engaging and growing much faster.
But this was 10 years ago. Today there are so many more services out there to take this up a notch…makes me want to start another band.
Co-founder of Merge.fm
An interesting article we came across:
We’ve improved artist pages by adding web event types. Now it’s easier and clearer than ever to communicate to your fans all the different web events that you have going on.
Also, you asked for it and we built it…each fan contribution now has its own comment thread. This better organizes conversations and centers them around the relevant version or contribution. Enjoy!
Time for another quick story from my old band! I don’t know about you, but one of the biggest problems for us playing high energy shows was keeping our gear from getting destroyed. The most vulnerable stuff was floor pedals, and as the lead guitarist I had the most to lose. So I looked around at stores and online for something that would protect the goods from someone falling beer first into my pedals, which actually killed my first delay pedal. But if you’ve ever looked into this, you know that there’s nothing really out there that will protect your pedals on stage from a direct hit. Since we weren’t going to tone down our shows any time soon, I decided to build something…and I still have it:
It was really easy to build…and you can get all this stuff for cheap at a hardware store. It’s just plywood (about 1/2 inch thick) cut to whatever size you want, fix it together with 2-3 inch wood screws, put hinges on the bottom of the side facing your feet and the back of the top side, screw on a few latches so you can close it like in the second image, screw on some handles so you can easily carry it, and drill a good size hole or two for the input/output cords. But the trick is the fold-out wood legs that are just long enough so you can see your pedals but also provide a sturdy roof. Here’s a close up of how I did it:
It’s just a long piece of scrap wood about 1 inch wide bolted on an L-bracket with a wing-nut so you can loosen it for stowing. This sucker withstood a 200lb dude falling directly on top as well as countless other drink spills, foot stomps, etc. And if you really want to deck it out like I did gradually over time, here are some other possibilities: 1) glue some foam on the underside of the top to put a little pressure on the pedals when it’s closed so they don’t slide around, 2) stick some velcro on the bottom of the inside to keep your pedals from sliding when it is open, 3) put a power-strip on the inside so you only have to plug in one power cord when you set up, 4) glue/staple some felt or some other material on the outside (or maybe paint it) so it looks a little nicer, and 5) you could screw a little light to the underside of the top if you need more light.
This setup worked just as well when I had a ton of small pedals as when I downsized to a multi-effects unit with just a couple small pedals. And obviously it also shortened setup and tear-down time since it’s all self contained and everything is already plugged together on the inside.
Why you can’t just buy this for $50 online I still don’t know…
Co-founder of Merge.fm
An article Adam recently published on Hypebot:
Picture an enormous concert stadium that is so big it can hold everyone. Literally there is a seat for every single person in the world. Now imagine this stadium is made entirely of glass and it also happens to have an open-roof.
There you are, up on stage with your band performing your most mind-blowing songs. When you look out, you see countless empty seats, behind which is an endless sea of people goofing around outside your stadium’s glass walls. Once in a while someone glances at you and maybe even listens for a bit. But then they quickly go back to texting their friends or stuffing that sandwich back in their mouth as they disappear into the crowd.
After a couple songs, someone from your crew walks over to you and says, “Look at all those people! You should sell them digital photos of your concerts.”
“That’s a ridiculous idea,” you reply. “Everyone has a hi-def camera phone connected to Facebook.”
But you trust this person, so you do it anyway. Sure one or two people who really like you buy some. But you soon realize that you can’t sell very many.
Then this same person says, “Okay… well, let’s add artistic effects to the photos so more people will buy them.”
So you give it a shot and sell one or two more to people with crappy cameras. But in the end you can’t sell very many no matter what other fancy features you add. Your point of value is the photos and once they are out there, everyone just shares them with the world instantly. Not many people think they’re worth anything.
This is really starting to make you angry, so you demand, “Silence! This is all illegal… they’re my concert photos… I own them!”
“Well, that’s true,” he replies. “But we can’t stop people from doing that. And it’s turning out that even the people that don’t want to be illegal can see the photos whenever they want. They just have to visit the art galleries that we allowed to show your photos in exchange for a cut of the revenue. Not to mention, everyone can look at you whenever they want legally and for free from outside your glass stadium.”
After you land a haymaker in that idiot’s face and you’re about to bring on the rage, you notice something.
“Look at all those empty seats! We’ve got an enormous concert stadium here. Why don’t we try to do something amazing on stage and then sell tickets?”
You think to yourself, “This sounds a little more promising. I like doing amazing things.”
But then someone else from your crew replies, “Well, if you just play a regular concert, who is going to buy a ticket when they can all just sit outside your glass stadium and watch from a distance?”
“Hmmm…exactly,” you reply. “Not very many people will buy a ticket if we’re selling a regular old concert, because they can watch a video of our concert (or get photos) whenever they want for free. We have to make it an event where the value is getting up close and personal with a chance to interact and engage.”
“What kind of events do that?”
“People who make it to the front need to get something special compared to the people who just watch from outside our glass walls. We could bring people on stage and involve them in our performance. We could even improvise a personalized song for one lucky fan while they’re up there. Or maybe we could let our fans that are musicians play with us and show off their own ideas.”
“How about inviting them to join your songwriting sessions later on,” someone suggests.
“Yes!” you reply. “I bet there are lots of events that will work in our enormous glass stadium just like regular concerts worked so well in our good old cement stadium.”
“But won’t people just pirate that stuff like they did your photos?”
“It doesn’t seem like people could pirate that type of value,” you propose. “The value seems to be in being there in the moment and experiencing it. And if they do copy and share parts of it, that’s probably a good thing because they are showing their friends how awesome our events are… which will sell more tickets for future events. The more sharing the better!”
Just as you’re starting to get excited about this, that first idiot wakes up from his punishing knockout and declares, “let’s try putting some flashing lights on those concert photos.”
We recently launched pre-signup pages, which artists can share with their fans to gauge interest before they even post any events. Then once the artist starts their first event, we will notify each person who pre-signed up to give a quick boost to the event.
Don’t see an artist you want? Request them here and we’ll add them in.