How to use Bandsintown’s flexible tools to promote your music
Music fans and frequent show-goers know Bandsintown as a one-stop hub to see when and where their favorite bands are touring. But did you know there’s much more to Bandsintown than just tour dates and ticket links? Like many other music platforms — such as Apple Music and Spotify — Bandsintown allows artists to claim their artist page and customize it with a ton of additional information through a feature called Bandsintown for Artists.
And a ton of artists use this entirely free service. Just how many? “We’re used by about 530,000 registered artists,” says Fabrice Sergent, Managing Partner of Bandsintown. He’s here to show us the Bandsintown for Artists ropes. “Before the pandemic, that represented about 70% of all artists on tour in America at any moment and about 97% of the major artists were using the Bandsintown tools as much as obviously mid-size and indie artists.”
These tools are broken down into three main categories, and Sergent will take us through each one.
Listing tour dates on Bandsintown
“The first section consists of enabling artists to list their tour dates or their live streams,” he says. “By doing so, they would publish that data on Bandsintown for Artists, and get it distributed across many platforms.”
You can post your tour dates and live streams from Bandsintown on:
Your artist website
Search engines like Microsoft Bing or Amazon Alexa
This first function is the big one, and the one the most artists use. It’s the one we as fans use when we think “Hey, that rad band I love hasn’t played around here in a bit. I wonder if they’re touring soon?” It’s great! But the other two sections are just as powerful.
Fan communication with Bandsintown
Sergent continues: “The second section on Bandsintown for Artists is related to direct fan communication. It is probably the largest direct fan platform for artists in America in a sense that we connect half a million artists to about 60 million fans.”
What we enable artists to do is to send a direct message to their following on Bandsintown without filtering or asking them to pay for sending that message. And this message arrives directly in the fans’ inbox or as a push notification on the fans’ phones. So it is pretty direct, unfiltered and free. Here again, we get the biggest artists like Taylor Swift or Jay-Z to the smaller artists using it.”
View your stats in Bandsintown
So Bandsintown for Artists allows users to connect with fans both by announcing tour dates and sending messages directly. But how can artists see how their announcements and shows are actually performing? That’s handled in the third and final section, called Insights.
“Insights is where we show artists how well they are doing in terms of progression of numbers for tickets, from getting clicks to actually getting sold,” says Sergent. “So we give them a lot of insights on where their fans are located.
Artists can use this data to better inform their touring decision because they can see where fans are and maybe sometimes there are pockets of fans that they do not suspect. They can make all the decisions related to the way they promote their shows or their live streams.”
Live streaming with Bandsintown
All three of these are fantastic ways for artists to use Bandsintown to promote their band in general and their live performances more specifically. But how can artists take advantage of these features at a time when they’re unable to play live shows in-person? In the wake of the current pandemic, Bandsintown has spent the majority of this year focusing on live streaming, the ever-growing virtual approximation of the real live experience that an increasing number of artists are embracing.
“Right when the pandemic started in early March, we made the decision to change the roadmap of the company and to refocus on helping artists stay in touch with their fans and potentially explore new revenue opportunities by pushing them to do live streams,” says Sergent. “We did that on March 7th. I really felt that the smallest artist would be the most vulnerable and may suffer tremendously from this crisis. So finding ways to not only stay in touch but to potentially generate some donations or money, which seemed to be critical to me and the core of the Bandsintown.
So we started to add this new form of events which we called Live Stream into the platform, so when an artist was listing their streams, fans would see the events, but also a new button called Get Notified. Fans can see either the events, or they can see a button that says Watch Live. When you click Watch Live you are taken to the stream itself.”
The great thing about all this is that like their other services such as tour date announcements, Bandsintown’s live streams are brand-agnostic. This means all live stream platforms are supported, from YouTube to Facebook to Instagram and Twitch. This embrace of live streaming itself and openness to support all possible platforms for artists to host their shows has led to a widespread adoption among artists and viewers. Sergent reports that 73% of Bandsintown users have watched a live stream in the past month. Additionally, 75% of all events created by artists are now live streams, with 45,000 total listed on Bandsintown in the past three months.
A Bandsintown checklist for beginners
If you’ve yet to join Bandsintown and this conversation has piqued your interest, we asked Sergent what he recommends for first-time users. He provided this handy checklist for artists new to the service:
Open your Bandsintown account as early as possible in your career: The earlier you build a following on Bandsintown, the quicker you’ll be recognized in their algorithm, which recommends you to fans of other artists in the same genre. According to Sergent, 60% of Bandsintown recommendations go to fans for artists that they have not heard before and 50% of fans acknowledge that they went to an artist’s show that they had never heard before the recommendation.
Connect all your social media accounts: This allows you to announce your shows everywhere. You can also build a following on Bandsintown this way, so you can track your growing fanbase and figure out where to focus. Install these widgets on your website, Facebook page and other places you have an online presence.
Message fans: Once you start building some traction, message your fans as soon as you can, even if you don’t have lots of followers. Those fans will receive your message and get used to seeing you in their inbox, creating early communication with your growing fanbase.
Post links: The Bandsintown algorithm is tweaked to feature small artists and does not necessarily favor every big artist. So promote your new music by posting links to streaming services. This not only helps new fans discover you, but also lets existing fans know when your new stuff is out right on the site without needing to come across it somewhere else.
Go back to (Home) School
Lastly, Sergent offers some key insider information about a service called HomeSchool, which Bandsintown provides in conjunction with L.A.-based artist discovery series School Night. “It’s paid programming where artists can be discovered in shows,” explains Sergent. “Small artists and emerging artists can apply to the program. And the industry agents, labels and journalists can subscribe to the program to discover the three artists who are handpicked by Tom Windish and Chris Douridas, who is the cofounder of School Night and also a famous L.A. radio host.”