The Longfellow Bridge: How did BandFrame come about?The idea was initially born as a solution for our own band at the time.Mike Blong: I started BandFrame with a close friend, former bandmate, and fellow Berklee alum, Mike Wyatt. The idea was initially born as a solution for our own band at the time. I managed that band and we really needed a ONE page destination online that I could point everyone to (booking agents, press, fans, peers, venues, etc.). Not only did we want that one page to be incredibly focused and organized, but we also wanted it to reflect the identity and aesthetic of our band. BandFrame was built based on those principles. Once we had the prototype for our own band – we realized that other musicians and bands could really benefit from this platform as well.
TLFB: While the fact that you guys are all musicians is certainly helpful in the PR sense, what advantages do you think that fact provided in the creation and design of this service?Being professional musicians, we understand what our peers need. We live it every day.MB: Being professional, working musicians ourselves, we understand what our peers need in a web presence. We live it every day. We understand the struggle. We understand that while a musician can be incredibly talented and respected as a live performer, it is difficult to communicate that professionalism on the Internet without spending a lot of money on a traditional website. On a daily basis, we are evolving with the growing needs of today’s musicians. We pride ourselves on providing our music peers with a web presence that does them justice as serious musicians.
TLFB: Why now? There are a number of other sites that offer similar services.In our opinion, all the other services out there were not doing the job. We needed something better.MB: Creating BandFrame wasn’t really a conscious choice. From the beginning, the motivation wasn’t to create, design, and build a product to sell to other people. It was a tool that we crafted for ourselves as working musicians. In our opinion, all the other services out there were not doing the job. We needed something better. Something cleaner, more focused, and more reflective of who we were as musicians. Over time, we decided to shift the focus and put our efforts into offering up an application for other musicians to use.
TLFB: What do you think sets your paid Pro service apart not only from your free service, but from other paid and free services?We have always reminded ourselves how important it is to offer both a free and paid plan to users.MB: We have always reminded ourselves how important it is to offer both a free and paid plan to users. Some musicians don’t require all the bells and whistles. Some just need something basic, concise, and simple for where they are in their career. Other artists have a wealth of information to communicate along with a whole host of media assets that they need to display online. We built BandFrame to scale that divide. The PRO plan is built for the professional, working musician or band – they can display all upcoming shows, draw attention to their newest HD, widescreen video, and keep viewers in the loop with the real time social feeds. Those features, combined with our highly custom, focused layout – are incredibly powerful. I find that other services compromise these features by lacking focus and clarity in their presentation. BandFrame offers up these PRO features in a way that helps the musician put their best foot forward.
TLFB: What has the reaction been so far? What kind of membership and visitor numbers are you looking at?We’ve got jazz musicians in Spain, metal drummers in Cleveland, and everything in between. MB: We’ve had a very exciting response so far. We first introduced BandFrame at SXSW this year and went live with our official launch last Wednesday (5/8). Since then we have had hundreds of people exploring and using the application. We’ve got jazz musicians in Spain, metal drummers in Cleveland, and everything in between. It is really special to interact with these musicians and hear about how BandFrame has filled a void in their online presence. We’re thrilled with the response during release week and we’re prepared for steady growth over the next few months.
TLFB: What do you see as your long term goals for BandFrame?It would be very cool to see BandFrame become a “standard” for both creative and business avenues in the industry.MB: Long term, we hope BandFrame becomes a standard for musicians of all levels and genres. We would also love to see it become a standard for music venues and festivals – in a way that they would use our platform for booking and submissions. We feel that BandFrame is the most focused platform for musicians to communicate themselves as artists and professionals on the Internet. We also feel that BandFrame provides venues and festivals with the quickest, easiest, most accurate method for reviewing bands that want to play their events. It would be very cool to see BandFrame become that sort of “standard” for both creative and business avenues in the industry.
TLFB: On a more personal note, are you guys in bands?I work as a session and touring drummer while Co-Founder, Mike Wyatt, is a tenor saxophonist.MB: Yes! I am based out of Nashville (although I like to call Boston home). I work as a session and touring drummer here in Nashville. Our other Co-Founder, Mike Wyatt, is a tenor saxophonist that works professionally in Boston. Many of our other team members are professional musicians themselves – touring the country and hustling BandFrame at the same time. Funny thing is, Mike and I actually first met in a band that was based out of Berklee College of Music in Boston. That band was a 7-piece funk band called “Two Hour Change”. We had our run touring the Northeast and working with bands like Soulive, Nigel Hall, etc. We are former bandmates turned business partners – and most importantly, great friends!
TLFB: To end on a much larger scale, where do you guys see digital music distribution going in the future? It’s not unreasonable to think that individual sites such as BandFrame and others could act as individual music stores much in the way Newbury Comics does now. Do you think physical media is still important, and do you think it can survive the proliferation of digital distribution?I think the industry has finally made sense of technologyMB: In the long run, I see physical, tangible formats of music making a big comeback. We’ve already seen the return of vinyl just in the past couple years. I think music lovers miss having something they can touch and feel. In terms of digital distribution – I think the industry has finally made sense of technology and regained a decent amount of control in a way that monetizes music somewhat fairly. Services like Spotify are going to become the standard for digital. Cloud based services are becoming increasingly popular. Maybe we’ll see a hybrid trend of more physical purchases like vinyl (as we have already seen) as well as more subscription-based purchases like Spotify (as we have also already seen). People listen to their vinyl at home and get use out of Spotify when they are on-the-go. I think these two worlds can absolutely coexist.
Thanks to Mike Blong at BandFrame for taking the time to talk to us. You can check out their service here.
Let us know your own thoughts on getting online as musicians and artists, and the future of digital distribution in the comments below.