Since the beginning, the Phonix has been a large band. It started as a 10-piece band, then grew to an 11-piece band, and is now currently a slightly smaller 9-piece band.
Basically, it's just big.
There are lots of moving parts, lots of details to communicate, many clients to keep happy, pages of set lists to keep organized and loads of paycheques to write. In short, it's a massive headache for the small 2-person management team that keeps us running.
Most bands have a similar struggle. It's tough enough figuring out how to manage different personalities, hustle gigs and plan rehearsals, but all the business stuff on top of it all is enough to make most bands fall apart after a couple years.
This is the problem that the Phonix set out to solve with the development of their new band management app Back On Stage.
Bands Need Help With Their Business
We've all heard the "starving artist" phrase a few too many times. The reality of the situation is that art and business are just two peas that don't fit very nicely into the same pod.
Great artists don't make great art by writing contracts and sending emails all day. They make great art by focusing on their craft and honing their skills. For 10,000+ hours!
Unfortunately, just because the musicians in a band are all excellent and the chemistry on-stage is great, it doesn't mean that a band will succeed. Hiding behind their art, there must be a relentless workforce that takes care of everything relating to cash generation, also known as "business". After all, if no money was being made, it would just be a "hobby". Sure, it might still be fun for a while, but when the rent bills start piling up, there'd better be some money coming from somewhere!
It is clear to us that all our familiar local bands are having the same struggles. The sheer amount of time it takes to wrangle musicians and deal with the business side of things is tremendous, and it's taking all the fun out of being a musician for most of the bandleaders who are brave enough to tackle it.
That's why the Phonix felt it necessary to develop and share our app with bands everywhere, so that bandleaders could, once again, enjoy every minute of being a musician and stop worrying about the business.
What Is A Band's Business?
We like to think that a band's business is everything a band does that doesn't fall into the categories of creating or performing music. A band's day-to-day business activities may include some or all of these tasks:
- Client communications - emails, calls and meetings with prospective clients, bookers and entertainment buyers
- Wrangling musicians - poling availability for rehearsals and gigs
- Contract and invoicing - preparing contracts and invoices for gigs
- Payment processing - collecting payments from clients
- Bookkeeping - keeping track of income and expenses
- Paying musicians - divvying up the cash after a gig
- Making set lists - preparing a show order for songs to be played at each show, considering client requests etc
- Music library - compiling and organizing sheet music and recordings for the band's performance repertoire
- Tax filing - ugh!
- Advertising - setting up and maintaining a website, social media accounts and online advertising
And that just scratches the surface!
It's so much more than just getting together with your bud's and doing something you love.
How Will The Phonix' "Back On Stage" App Help?
Firstly, imagine you were going to get married soon and wanted to hire a great band for your big day. You have shortlisted 3-4 bands and now you send them each an email to inquire about their rates and availability.
The first bands replies within 10 minutes and gets a friendly conversation going right away. They offer to buy you a coffee to chat some more, but also provide you with a few more speedy replies in the next hour that answer many of your questions.
The second band doesn't get back to you until late the next day. They send a lengthy email with loads of details about everything they can do.
The third band doesn't get back to you until 5 days later! Your email got lost in their inbox (apparently). They're probably available but need to check with their lead singer as he may be traveling Europe at that time. They'll "let you know soon."
You never hear back from the fourth band at all!
So, which band do you have the best feeling about at this point?
If you picked the first one, congrats! You're wise and intelligent. Believe it or not, this situation is more common than you might think. Many bandleaders just have too much on their plates to respond to emails in a timely manner. Maybe some are lazy too, but let's not get into that.
1. Automated Client Response Emails
Let's just say the first band is using the Phonix' Back on Stage app. Guess what? That first personalized response you received was actually auto-generated from the software, but it was so good, you thought it was from the bandleader. This made a great first impression on you and will likely win the gig for this band!
2. Automated Contracts and Invoices
After agreeing on a price and details, it's time for both parties to sign a contract. The band also needs to make an invoice and collect a deposit.
This process used to take the Phonix' admin team over an hour! But now it's as easy as clicking a button. Our software pulls all the details from the booking to create a customized contract and invoice for each booking. Sending the eDocuments to the client is a breeze too. Once received, the client can sign the contract and pay their deposit online, all from one screen!
After all the legalities are taken care of, it's time to get the band in order.
3. Automated Musician Hiring and Payments
Wrangling the musicians is painful and time consuming. Messaging each member individually is messy, but necessary in order to get a commitment from everyone. Furthermore, many bands have several substitute players they can call in case one of their usual players can't make the gig. To give you a sense, the Phonix has over 50 musicians in their network so that they can always put together a 9-piece band no matter the circumstance.
The Back on Stage app automatically messages each musician individually and continues to do so until it gets an answer. If a gig offer is rejected by a musician, the system moves on to the next musician in line for that instrument and the process continues until all roles are filled.
Essentially, a process that used to take the Phonix managers hours is now reduced to a single click of a button!
And there is so much more!
There is so much more that the Back On Stage app can do. We just can't get into it all here because we really want you to just go check it out for yourselft!
The Phonix has always been about helping people enjoy a heightened experience of life, and with the launch of this app, we hope to help so many more people do just that! Bandleaders and musicians can now spend MUCH less time in the office and much more time on stage...which is where they really shine the brightest anyway!
If you or someone you know is in the music business, please let them know about the Back On Stage app. We have the lofty goal of saving 1,000,000 hours for fellow musicians through this app, and we need your help to get there!
Help us help your network by spreading the word about Back On Stage.
Click on the social sharing buttons below to share, or click the button below to check out the app for yourself!