3 Must Have Plugins for Musicians and Bands

If you’re an indie band you live by the Do It Yourself (DIY) code and are hopefully running your own WordPress website. If you’re smart enough to at least have that setup and ready to go, these 3 plugins will take you to the next level and hopefully make you some money too.

1) Crowd Funding w/ Donation Can

Crowd funding has become a staple of being an indie artist or band. I’ve had a lot of success with it selling tickets to my shows recently. Donation Can allows me to create a “Cause” or “Fundraiser” (most fund raisers are hosted as an event). I set a goal which is displayed as a progress bar in a post. People then see how I am progressing towards that goal and how they are helping me reach it.

What’s nice about this plugin is that it also lets me create my own custom thank you page (where I might offer a free mp3 download). It also lets me set the donation rates or the option for visitors to define their own donation amount. This is how I sold tickets to the last few shows I played. I’d set a minimum donation of $12 which was the cost of the ticket and include a free album download on the thank you page (just a secrete download link).

But how does it collect money? Paypal baby! I’ve been on that band-wagon for years now and I’ve had no complaints. I have a Standard Business account with PayPal which allows me to process credit cards on my website. I also find that transferring my funds to my bank account never takes more than 2 days… I just need to be sure to make the request before 6 am Monday morning ;) Trust me it’s the cheapest way to process credit cards which helps those who don’t have the cash or helps you from hustling on the street. I for one would rather market online than the streets.

2) Event Calendar w/ GigPress

There are a lot of event calendars out there but from my experience, the most user-friendly is GigPress. The documentation alone is what kills all other competing plugins. Personally I find their user interface easy enough not to have to reference their documentation but there’s a list of handy short codes and widgets that come with GigPress. I have also just learned that some of my favourite bands use GigPress and have styled it to fit their page uniquely; Drop Kick Murphys, Flight of the Conchords, Death Cab for Cutie, Danko Jones & Silverstein.

Best of all, this plugin is completely free, or shall I say “Crowd Funded”. Take a look at the GigPress Donation page, it’s brilliant! All he’s asking for is a) A Cup of Coffee b) A Pint of Beer c) A large Pizza… I just bought the man a beer. He so deserves it, this plugin will be with me for life. Thank you Derek Hogue!

3) Streaming MP3s w/ HTML 5 MP3 Player

Now let’s face it, you can’t get anywhere with building an audience if they can’t hear your music. Finding a good MP3 player has been the biggest hurdle of my WordPress learning curve. These days I’ve been using Youtube and Soundcloud. The most popular video content on Youtube is music (music videos, cover songs, etc.) and it’s iPhone/Blackberry friendly. Then so is Soundcloud being an HTML 5 MP3 Player (use plugin Soundcloud is Gold) but unlike Youtube it doesn’t give me an additional ranking on Google. Ever notice how Google has search types like Google Images, Google Places, Google Video (Youtube)?

At the end of the day let’s assume you want to host your MP3s right on your site so you don’t need to manage them in two places. If you want to be cross-platform you’re going to need to go with an HTML5 player. It’s the only thing that will play on smart phones like Android, Blackberry and iPhone. Suggestions? Well, if you want something that isn’t going to be watermarked with someone else’s logo, I suggest to come up with $25 and buy yourself a premium copy of the HTML5 MP3 Player… or if you don’t mind logos (Youtube does it and so does Soundcloud) there is a free HTML5 MP3 Player with playlist.

Here is a short little video that demonstrates the free HTML 5 MP3 Player