Being in a band isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When you’re on tour, the only respite from terrible highway fast food is Subway. You rarely get paid; sometimes it’s even worse: rather than paying you in cash, you get “all you can drink Pabst Blue Ribbon.” Ugh. Oh, and you’re also a pariah in the eyes of your family.
For bands who try to “do it themselves,” it’s even worse: booking alone consumes weeks, years of one’s life. Throw in dealing with your label (over-rated), mobilizing your fan base (non-existent), booking shows (annoying) and promoting your shows (real annoying), you suddenly agree with the old adage, “Nobody ever made money playing rock n’ roll.” Furthermore, these tasks are spread across different websites, platforms, and files types. What you need is an all-in-one place for easy band management. Brother, you need Marcato Musician.
Marcato Musician is, in it’s own words, “a web-based artist management application that lets you keep track of your entire world in one place. It works on any computer, there is nothing to install, and your information is available 24/7 from anywhere with an internet connection. With Marcato Musician you can manage your communications, stay on top of tasks and deadlines, schedule bookings and other events, keep track of contacts and venues, store files in a centralized file manager, automatically push upcoming gigs to social networking sites, and generate printable tour itineraries and press kits.” Better yet, it’s free for single artists. So let’s take a quick tour, (pun) shall we?
- Dashboard – Your all-in-one place to manage all your stuff: active messages, upcoming events, outstanding tasks, and recent user activity (see screen shot below.)
- Messages & Tasks – Here’s where you stay in touch with band members and other personnel in your entourage (yes, you have one.) I feel like this may be the most valuable part of the service: spreadsheets or, worse yet, hand-written notes just don’t cut it. This is specifically cool because you can set due dates: nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
- Artists and Bookings: This is your band’s profile, more or less. You can include your bio, photos, upcoming shows, contacts, and what’s really cool – attachments for, say, press photos and show requirements. Not sure if there’s MarcatoMusician will delete ostentatious or patently absurd riders, however (no brown M&Ms, anyone?) Better yet, since many different people rely on many different sites and platforms for their music management, you can export your shows from places like Sonicbids and MySpace.
- Contacts – A very nice address book.
- Calendar – This is really good. Do you know many times bands have tried to schedule a practice over e-mail? Impossible. Or to get everybody on board for a show when certain members – who shall remain nameless – don’t check e-mail or their phones? This goes bye-bye with the calendar tool.
- Files – Why spread out band-related files – press sheets, photos, tour itineraries, etc. – on multiple computers when you can put it all here, accessible to all members? That’s a rhetorical question.
- EPKs (that’s “Electronic Press Kits,” for those of us in the industry) and Itineraries. What struck me about this part was that the EPKs actually look really good: well-laid out, simple, compelling.
The only pressing comment I have is that a bunch of interesting bands are using Marcato Musician (they’re listed here); t’would be cool to link each to elsewhere on the Web. That said, there are some really nifty testimonials below it. And beyond that, what else is there to say? Being in a band isn’t all Hammer of the Gods. It’s actually a pain. And while MarcatoMusician can’t do anything about long, smelly van rides, terrible higway fast food, and record industry vipers, it can make the logistics and mechanics of being in a band a lot nicer to navigate.