[UK] BandCentral, a sort of ‘Basecamp for bands’, gets its official launch today, although an early version of the site was soft launched as far back as July 09.
The site provides tools for artists, managers and labels to project manage the business end of being in a band. Things like organising tours, managing fan databases, merchandising and accounting.
BandCentral was conceived by founder and CEO Wil Padley, a “digital creative” and bass player in the UK band The Domino State. Based on his experience of touring – his band has gigged across Europe and even supported Coldplay at the O2 arena – Padley saw the need for better tools to professionalise aspects of the experience and help bands stay organised. That’s rock ‘n’ roll nowadays, I guess.
Padley bootstrapped the early development of BandCentral, founded in June 08, while the London-based startup has since taken an undisclosed amount of Angel funding.
At the heart of BandCentral is the “BandHub”, a dashboard where, as already noted, artists and labels can organise and manage tours, fan lists, merchandise, and aspects of their finances. They can also conduct discussions in a central place, avoiding the downfalls of group email. It’s in these features that it’s particularly comparable to Basecamp and competitors but targeting the music industry, obviously.
Then there’s the deeper accounting aspect: members can track revenue and expenses, “from CD, merchandise or ticket sales”. Moving this to the cloud obviously makes a lot of sense and enables all stakeholders to stay actively involved, should they wish. The music industry is littered with stories of money going missing, and although BandCentral is targeting bands regardless of whether or not they are signed to a label, any added transparency is probably welcome.
Next up is a sprinkle of social media marketing. BandCentral users can update their band’s status and profiles on Twitter, Myspace and Facebook, via the “BandHub” console, including syncing their tour dates.
The service also neatly ties into SoundCloud, which is already massively popular amongst artists, enabling band members and their management team to share and comment on musical “works-in-progress”.
And like any decent project management or collaboration platform, which is essentially what the service is, BandCentral offers privacy settings so that access can be restricted to specific areas of “BandHub”, where appropriate. So that, for example, a producer working with a band might not get access to the band accounts but can exchange messages and tracks with all of those involved on the creative side.
BandCentral is offering a free (ad-supported) basic version, alongside a more full-featured service costing £5.99 per month. In other words, it’s a classic freemium model, which again has worked out pretty well for existing cloud-based project management services.
Moving forward, BandCentral has an iPhone app in the works (pictured right).