I’ve often said that being in a rock-and-roll band is like running your own business (somewhat reluctantly, due to the very un-rock-and-roll nature of that statement). But insofar as you’re manufacturing something (music) and trying to flog it, it’s true.
And one thing that most successful businesses are relying on increasingly these days is cloud computing.
If in the unlikely event you’ve yet to come across this new fangled cloud stuff, in a nutshell it boils down to storing all your files online and being able to access them using any device; the implications of this are significant for all of us, and bands are no exception. So in our ever-helpful way, below you’ll find some tips on how musicians can make the most out of the cloud.
Organising rehearsals, particularly when your band has lots of musicians in it, is a pain in the ass. But if you use shared calendars that live in the cloud, it instantly becomes a lot easier - so long as everybody takes a moment to update their calendars with their unavailability, it’s really easy to spot a slot where a rehearsal might actually be feasible. Google Calendar is included with both a free Google Account or the paid-for Google Apps for Work suite, and it's super easy to use - so get your band using it.
2. Backing up recordings
Every recording musician will know, particularly in this digital day and age, how important it is to back up recordings. When I first started recording onto a computer, I used to spend ages copying Pro Tools files onto CDs and DVDs to back them up. A dull and time-consuming activity, particularly with my crappy CD burner.
A solution like Google Drive or Dropbox can take all the pain out of backup, particularly if you’ve got their sync apps installed on your computer. You just save your recordings into your Google Drive or Dropbox folder and, so long as you’re online and have set up syncing correctly, it will back them up automatically to the cloud (note: to be extra safe, consider a third backup too, so that you adhere to the age old 3-2-1 backup rule).
The cloud is GREAT for facilitating collaboration. If, for example you’re backing up your recordings to the cloud as described above, you’re also making it possible for your band members to access and contribute to them without being in the same room as you.
Just like any other ‘business’ would, your band can use cloud productivity tools like Google Apps or Office 365 to stay on top of band admin. Both of these products allow you to contribute in real time to documents, spreadsheets and slides - all of which can be really helpful when it comes to sorting out your band finances, tours, setlists and industry contacts databases. And the great thing is you can access all that stuff wherever you are, thanks to the beauty of mobile devices.
As mentioned above, you can use cloud collaboration tools to collectively compile a great list of music industry contacts...but the cloud comes in very handy too when it comes to communicating with them too: sharing music using the cloud is ridiculously easy. If you want to send a journalist or A&R guy a link to a track, you will do yourself no end of favours by sending them a Google Drive or Dropbox link to it, instead of attaching it to an email. If you’re clogging up somebody’s inbox with a 9MB attachment, they will immediately form a negative impression of you, no matter how good that 9MB attachment sounds. You can share all manner of other content stored in the cloud with contacts too - videos, EPKs, press releases, riders - the works.