Interview with Wil Padley, Founder of BandCentral

September 21st, 2009 by We Are Listening


1. Wil, I see the value in BandCentral but is it really a ‘must-have’?

While record labels are trying to halt their downward spiral and unswervingly opting for “safe” artists with proven mass-market appeal, the DIY model of self-management, self-promotion and self-releasing is the only option available to the majority of bands ? and the only way that most bands will get off the first rung of the music industry ladder.  Any band that is serious about moving their career forward in this climate will see BandCentral as an essential tool.

In our experience, the difference between a successful band and a band that fades away has to do almost entirely with hard work, dedication and passion.  BandCentral is designed to streamline the self-management process and make every-day organisation and communication between the band, band manager and third-parties much easier, enabling you to get on with the music and promotion, rather than getting bogged down with missed communications, lost gig booking info, bickering over shared or IOU costs, chasing each other for rehearsal or gig stage times, losing your performing rights data or not having important files at hand.

Naysayers say that “bands will never be organised enough to do all this stuff themselves”.  I believe that these are the same people that are sitting around, blinkered to all the opportunities the digital sphere presents to artists and waiting for CD sales at record stores to turn around.  I know from personal experience that without some way of keeping tabs on the nuts’n’bolts admin side of a creative venture, there’s a risk that the band can lose momentum and non-creative work can sink the entire endeavour.

Making it in the music industry has always involved a lot of hard work but never more so than today.  BandCentral fills a vital role in this new ‘DIY’ paradigm, helping bands to harness the best of what the web has to offer them and giving them all the tools they need to streamline the self-management process and join the music revolution.

2. Should every band be using BandCentral, from fledgling to established?

Every band that is serious about their music should be using BandCentral.
If you’re an unknown band, you should make use of BandCentral’s tools to get organised, get yourselves out there and get known.  Once you’re established BandCentral will help you to collaborate better with each other encourage complete transparency in dealings with third-parities such as managers, producers & bookers etc. and help you to organize every aspect of your band life.  It will also help you to organise and get the most out of all the different elements of the DIY business model, from live shows and tours to single/album releases and accounting and merchandising.

Acts who have broken through to the big-time will have an army of full time management looking after them, so acts like Coldplay or Interpol are obviously not going to be needing any help from BandCentral.  Their management, however, would find it hugely helpful on a day-to-day basis as it keeps everything in one central, secure and instantly accessible place online.

Every industry needs a tool to help it get organised – BandCentral aims to be that tool for the Music Industry.

3. Most bands are strapped for cash. With so many musician resources out there, bands often face a tough call as to which they should spend their money on.  I have always recommended investing in assets that show a direct financial return.  Is BandCentral such an asset?

I’m in full time band and I know from personal experience how costly things can be.  We’ve intentionally kept the price down with cash-strapped bands in mind and we feel that £4.99 (approx. $10) per month split between 4 or 5 people is a small price to pay for the service that we offer bands.  It’s less than one packet of smokes in the UK.. and a lot better for you!  We also have a Free option for those bands who either can’t quite justify the outlay yet or see their bands as more of a hobby or a side interest.

There’s a strong argument for a band saving a great deal of money simply by being better organized.  To take the BandCentral Finance Manager as one example, if your band keeps track of finances in a detailed, responsible way, then you’ll know what you’re spending, when and how you’re wasting your money, and you’ll surely pick up much more than £4.99 a month in savings.

So, is BandCentral an asset worth investing in?  You tell me.

4. How is BandCentral different to Bandize?

Whilst Bandize is certainly in the same territory as BandCentral, anyone who has tried the two services will be aware that there are stark differences in terms of functionality, design and overall usability.  We welcome comparisons between the two sites because this gives us the opportunity to highlight the contrasts.

5. When do you expect to become profitable?  Do you expect to reach this goal without another round of investment?

We have been working on BandCentral for the last 15 months and have grown to a team of 7.  Happily, we’re on course to become profitable within the next 12 -18 months.  BandCentral has already negotiated a second round of funding, details of which will be released in the coming weeks.

6. What can we expect to see from BandCentral in the next six months?

BandCentral Version 2 will be launching in the autumn and brings with it a whole host of brilliant new features such as Music and Merch Management along with some cutting edge enhancements to those V1 features that BandCentral users already know and love.

We’re also incredibly excited about the BandCentral iPhone app that’s in development because it’s something our bands have been asking for for a while and were pretty confident it’ll transform how bands and band managers communicate and get organised whilst on the move.  We have just appointed an agency and the app will be set for release in early 2010.

Beyond that, we’ve got some more music festivals and industry events lined up, both here, in the UK, and abroad.  We’re going to be taking BandCentral to Music Live in November, MIDEM in Cannes in January and we’re excited to be part of the really strong British contingent headed to SXSW in March ‘10.
You’ll be hearing a lot more about BandCentral V2 and developments with the iPhone app in the coming weeks.


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