Should You be Playing for Free?

“You sound great, we’d love to have you come out and play! The only problem is our budget is stretched pretty thin and we can’t afford to pay you anything.” These words can put musicians in a pretty tight spot.

If you’re anxious for a chance to play, you may be inclined to take the gig in exchange for dinner and a few drinks. But, you may also hear the words of fellow musicians echoing in your head about how playing for free cheapens the whole industry. Is it true that if you play for free, you’re lessening the value of live music in your community?

This is one of the most difficult questions for musicians to answer. The truth is, there might not be a “correct” answer. In this post, we’re going to try to take an objective look at the pros and cons of playing for free.

Using Facebook Events to Promote Your Band’s Shows

There are 1.7 billion people on Facebook and, most likely, you are one of them. Facebook has become more than just a means to keep up with your best friend from high school or a way to say “hi” to your aunt without actually having to call her. You can actually use this world-wide platform to post your upcoming gigs or create event notifications about your next tour.

Facebook Events is making it unbelievably easy for musicians to spread the word and promote their music. All it takes is a few minutes to set up an event and all of your friends and followers know where you will be playing on Friday night. They can then share the event with their friends, let you know whether or not they will be there and even buy tickets. In this post, we’ll walk through the process of using Facebook Events to promote your band’s shows. We’ll cover setting up an event and explain some of the lesser known features.

Flutist, Composer, and Educator

Artist Spotlight: Allison Loggins-Hull
Flutist, composer, and educator, Allison Loggins-Hull, has been praised by the Wall Street Journal for being able “to redefine the instrument…”. As a co-founder of the critically acclaimed urban art pop ensemble, Flutronix, she is also known for “redefining the flute and modernizing its sound by hauling it squarely into the world of popular music.” (MTV Iggy). Loggins-Hull has garnered a reputation for successfully navigating an array of musical worlds and appealing to varied audiences.

Allison Loggins-Hull has performed and recorded with several artists, including Frank Ocean, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and David Virelles. She can be seen performing in video used as part of Adele’s world tour.

We recently caught up with Allison to learn more about her musical influences, teaching styles, latest projects, and what she likes most about her Promenade theme.

A Primer on SSL Certificates
You may have heard the news that Google Chrome will soon mark more websites with SSL certificates as “not-secure.” The change comes in Chrome version 62, due out sometime this month. Until now, Chrome has only shown the “Not Secure” warning on sites that request passwords or credit card information without an SSL certificate.

Of course, unencrypted connections should never be used to send sensitive data. With the rollout of Chrome version 62 however, the browser will begin labeling websites with any user input fields as “Not Secure.” This includes common text input fields, like contact forms, comment forms, and email subscription forms.

These changes are coming because Google wants to warn users about sending unencrypted messages over the web, even if they don’t contain sensitive information. If you aren’t using a contact form, accepting comments, or collecting newsletter signups on your site, you may not need to worry — yet. Google has confirmed that they will eventually mark all regular HTTP pages as “not secure.” Ultimately, only HTTPS sites will be considered secure. Other major browsers are expected to follow Google’s example.

In this post we’ll cover exactly what an SSL certificate is, how it works, and why you may want to consider installing one on your site.

How to Sell Albums and Individual Tracks on WooCommerce
WooCommerce is the most popular ecommerce plugin for WordPress. Many bands and musicians use it to sell physical merchandise and digital downloads on their website. As we mentioned in a recent post, WooCommerce does not have the capability to sell both a record and individual track downloads in the same product listing.

This means you’ll need to add each track as a separate product, which can lead to a very cluttered catalog page. Fortunately, if you’re using our Cue Pro plugin, there is a workaround that will allow you to sell individual tracks and the full-length record on the same product page.

Los Angeles Trumpet Player and Composer

Artist Spotlight: Jon Manness

Jon Manness is a trumpet player and composer in Los Angeles. He has performed and recorded with such international artists as CeeLo Green, Alex Sparrow, Dezmond Meeks, and Zahir Ashe.

As a composer, Jon has written music for the AVATAR Blu-ray, MICROSOFT, THE US ARMY, and schools around the country.

Recent projects include recording trumpet for Magic Mike Live and a new single by CeeLo Green and Dezmond Meeks.

We recently caught up with Jon to learn more about his horn section The Red Line Horns, his musical influences, and what he likes best about his Twotone theme and the AudioTheme plugin.

Building Your Own WordPress Music Store

When considering how to sell your band’s music and merchandise online, there are several options available. You can choose to use a hosted solution such as Shopify or BandCamp, or allow a third party such as Amazon or CD Baby to sell and fulfill your products for you. Many of these services charge monthly fees and/or take a percentage of your sales as commission. While these fees and commissions might not seem like much, adding them up over a few years can cut into your profit. An alternative that allows you to maintain control over your products and profit is to create a WordPress music store.

What to Include On a Band’s Contact Page

A well-designed contact page can convince site visitors to inquire about booking you, follow you on social media, or share upcoming opportunities.

Often, these pages are overlooked, underutilized, and contain only basic information. Many bands and musicians simply “check the box” of having a contact page. Unfortunately, they completely miss the chance to drive engagement.

We’ll cover how to create a contact page that will encourage site visitors to start a conversation.

Using Hashtags to Promote Your Music On Instagram

Social media is one of the best ways for bands and musicians to connect with fans and communities on a regular basis. While Facebook continues its dominance as the most-used platform, the gap between it and others is closing. Given the fact that users share 95 Million photos and videos a day, Instagram appears to be gaining considerable ground in the social media world.

Designed to be the first mobile-only social network, Instagram found a unique way to tap into the 46 times a day the average American checks their phone. With Facebook’s acquisition, Instagram gained even more muscle behind their growth efforts. As of April 2017, Instagram had reached 700 Million active monthly users, and 35% percent of those users access the app daily.

The numbers are strong and the audience is there, so how can bands and musicians take advantage of Instagram’s growth? Let’s cover a few tactics for promoting your music on Instagram.

Speeding Up Your WordPress Site
Site speed is one of the most important factors to keep in mind when it comes to your band’s website. While it doesn’t sound like much, asking visitors to wait a couple of seconds while the page loads can be devastating to your traffic. The longer a page takes to load, the more likely your visitors are to leave. While we could get down to the nitty gritty details of WordPress, a few variables play a large role in WordPress site speed. In this post, we’ll cover some of the simple things that you can do to speed up your WordPress site.