Contains nearly every feature a musician could ask for in a website
Large user base
Fairly affordable for many musicians
Custom email and unlimited hosting included
Great customer support
Design quality of sites varies widely
At the turn of the millennium, the web was gaining popularity but there was a gaping hole in the market for band websites. You either had to be friends with a website designer, learn it yourself, or pay thousands of dollars to get your own dot-com that sells your own music and merchandise and presents your music to the world.
Bandzoogle emerged in 2003 as one of, if not the first provider of turnkey websites to bands. A lot has changed since then, and Bandzoogle has done an admirable job of growing with the times. The functionality is comprehensive and includes events, a no-fee merch and music store, forum, guestbook, form builder… the list goes on and it’s truly impressive. Upper tiers of service offer download codes and full design customization.
You might still want that full design customization, because the design of the site templates is probably Bandzoogle’s biggest weak point. It’s an understandable one, because to a large extent the band is still responsible for using the platform’s customization features to create an attractive website. And while you can make something you’re proud of, the site will not stand up next to a professionally designed, fully-customized site. Of course, Bandzoogle can be a more affordable alternative to Topspin if you want to go the fully custom route… in either case, you’re back to knowing someone who designs websites. Even though Bandzoogle simplifies the web design process, it takes skill and work to build an attractive website.
Bandzoogle’s formidable strength is in hitting all the checkboxes when it comes to important functionality for a band website. This feature set is hard to find anywhere else in one package, and it’s where Bandzoogle truly shines. At the introductory $9.95/mo. level, they give you a free .COM. At the next level up ($14.99/mo.), there are enhanced fan relationship management tools and email serving and marketing. The most expensive level ($19.99/mo.) provides download codes and the ability to sell downloads directly to fans. The ability to sell downloads directly to fans is nothing to sneeze at — this is by far the best way as an artist to take the highest percentage of your revenue from digital downloads.
Bandzoogle is also known for quality support and helping non-tech-savvy people with the process of getting their website online.
The rest of the value may elude you if you haven’t set up websites before… but website hosting alone can easily cost $19.99/mo. Seen from this perspective, Bandzoogle is a downright bargain.
Are there more attractive, exciting ways of establishing an online presence at your own .COM? Yes. But most of them involve more technical knowhow than a lot of musicians have. Others are expensive, or are free to use but take a sizeable percentage from artist revenue. Bandzoogle is a good fit for emerging artists who want to control every aspect of their direct-to-fan relationship (a good idea for any musician) in the most practical, affordable way.