Being in a band is kind of like being in a marriage a lot of the time. You fight over getting organized. One person works eight days a week and doesn't see it your way. You break up. But now a new UK start-up that launched last week is promising to give musicians and their counterparts all the tools they need to work it out. BandCentral.com is available globally, and offers anything you could possibly imagine needing as a band member: A calendar, a place to put in gigs and tours, merchandise, music links, money, contacts, messages and much more.
The hub links in with all of the band's social network sites and lets you update twitter feed straight from the main page after login. All this is displayed on the dashboard. But the best part, quite possibly, is the band activity. Each band member is able to put in what they're currently doing, and, below it, a fan database appears with total number of new fans from yesterday and today, and recent tweets posted about the band. Below that, you can see the band's finances sorted out and what's due when.
I decided to test out the site myself to see what it's really about. The press department at BandCentral was pretty witty about marketing this. They created a faux account for the Beatles, showing how the Fab Four would have used BandCentral if the site had existed in the '60s. I was logged on as George. (Personally, I would've preferred John or Paul, but whatever.)
The moment I log in, I notice a BandHub page slightly resembling Facebook. It's divided into 3 columns, with the dashboard on the left (featuring messages, calendar, assets, gigs and tours, merch, music, money, tasks and contacts), a wider column in the middle with upcoming stuff and social network status, and band activity and the fan database neatly stored on the right column.
It's very easy to navigate, and the basic color combination of blues and reds makes it easy on the eyes, too. They're also coming up with an iPhone app set for release in July 2010 and currently in development that allows bands and managers access to the site's most useful features while they're day tripping or too tired to sleep a wink.
What's most comical to me as the the faux George is the band activity. Paul's status states: "Writing an awesome riff," Ringo "needs a new drum head," and John is "on my way back from LA." It shows when they've logged in, and statuses are literally being updated as I read (I really want to post I'm off somewhere in India with Sexy Sadie).
Gigs have been confirmed for different venues (it has the option to confirm once they're set in stone), and rehearsals are added as upcoming events. All in all, it's a great way to keep a music career organized with a little help from your friends, whether you're just starting out or already have rockstar status. You can start a basic account for free, or pay £5.99 monthly per band (that's about $8.94 for those of us paying in US dollars) to get all the services offered. That's pretty cheap for a little peace of mind.
See sample images of the site after the jump.
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