In the corporate world, enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a big deal, and when it works, its amazing how it can save time, and wring out costs. In the music world, I’ve often looked for a parallel for the touring group. Something simple enough that a group getting started could use a module or 2, and as they progress, go for a full blown implementation, without having to start all over again.
Far too many young groups, wing it… probably because the tour manager is just as inexperienced as the band is. And yes, every tour manager has been at that point, even grey beard codgers. It takes some time to get your stride. Granted, in my day a massive day timer and a ledger pretty much had all the pieces, but it also meant making gobs of copies at Kinkos, and if there should be a change… yikes. Todays tools make life easier, whether it be Excel, Outlook, & Visio, Quick Books, or likely some other combination, provided one can tweak things to talk to one another as needed. Bearing in mind, there isnt a nice canned social management app prime for integration that works worth a hoot, much less one set up for bands…
That was, until I saw Bandize, to say nothing about the additional modules and ERP capability. Talk about a tool I wish I had twenty some years ago, and it has multi functionality, for those of us who run multiple groups and live on the road. I dont anymore; too old, but man, that would have been such a time and aggravation saver. Some of the functions include: Show/Tour Planning, Accounting, Contacts, Merch, ToDo, Social Sync, Asset Management, Calender, and Messaging/Collaboration.. and it all runs online with a browser interface.
Granted, I have not played with this, and until one does, and ideally with live data, its pretty much impossible to tell how good or bad something is. Otoh being that the guys who put this together have all these modules up and running, it appears they did some pretty serious market research and testing along the way. Hehe, any bands need an old grey beard for a bargain to put this through the paces for them? LOL
That being said, like all things, there are pros and cons. The days of old with paper and such were a pain, and if the ledger got torched, or an assistant flew out with the contacts book a day early, one was in a major jamb. With this being a new deal, just coming out of beta, there obviously is a bit of concern. Ie, will it scale, what happens if it usage sky rockets, what about service outages, or other bugs, what if they dont make it through next year… etc.
And of course, another biggie is multi… and I must admit the pricing is a bit scarey. Ie, I believe you get what you pay for, and the very low price is more than a bit concerning. For a new band, and an inexperienced manager, a low price is a good idea… For a guy charging $$$$ per day like I did years ago, it makes me go hmmm. Sure, this is not SAP, but it provides value to a tour manager not unlike the value SAP provides to a F1000 corp. On the other hand, generic business tools like basecamp are only a tad more than bandize so maybe not. Sometimes age and experience creates less than helpful expectations, esp concerning new product pricing.
And lastly, while its an amazing integrated tool, off line backup of data in a non-proprietary format, as well as 3 ring paper binders are a must, especially for the newbie. Old codgers know this… lightning will occur at the way wrong time, a major isp where your concert is will die, your laptop will be stolen, your binders get introduced to a couple beers etc. Backups and multiple ways of dealing with key data are a must, just as they always were.
No matter what, for the young band starting out, this software appears like it will save untold amounts of aggravation and headaches. For the inexperienced tour manager, I think it will be a major life saver, and at $15/month, even if one just uses a couple modules, well worth giving it a shot even for local shows.