Being in a band is like running a very unorthodox and difficult-to-manage small business. Even if you’ve got support from a label, the day-to-day financial transactions can bog down what really matters when it comes to being in a band— making and performing music. It’s a cycle, though. In order to make music and perform, of course, bands have to spend money. Recording equipment or studio time, gas for the touring van, guitar picks— it all adds up. And since most bands have more than one member, problems can easily arise from financial situations.
Enter Bandloot.com, a website designed to help bands easily manage those often-overwhelming funds. As the website declares: “musicians are not accountants.” Nor need they be. They should be doing that thing that I mentioned before— making music.
In order to ease those difficulties of money management that inevitably come with being a professional musician, Bandloot has set up a free, easy-to-use interface.
Once a user has created an individual account, they can set up an account for their band. Other individuals can be added to that band’s account. This feature is nice because it allows for individuals to have separate accounts for separate bands, which they can easily switch between from their own, individual homepage.
Inside the band’s account, each member can find a number detailing the band’s collective money— “the Loot.”
If you spend money on behalf of the band— for marketing purposes or on a new guitar cord, for instance— the website’ll track that, and you’ll be reminded to be refunded from “the Loot.”
If you receive money for the band— from a club owner for a gig, for instance— you can log that information in order to ultimately transfer those funds into the Loot.
When you pay that money back, you can log that transaction, showing your bandmates that you’re not pocketing any of the group’s rightful cash.
One of Bandloot’s most attractive features is that all of these individual transactions— spending money, receiving money, and settling debts— can be applied to other band members as well as to the Loot. For instance, if John owes Joe ten dollars for the snacks Joe bought him at the gas station during a long ride from city to city during a tour, the debt and repayment can both be logged in order to insure financial transparency within the band.
All of these transactions are logged in an organized, searchable graphic, giving a simple depiction of how the band’s money has been spent. No money is actually transferred via the website (which makes it more difficult but safer), but it’s a useful tool in helping bands record and remember their spending habits as well as their profits.
The only problem I can see arising from the website is band members arguing over the fact that they didn’t update their transactions on their account. But if members stick to the routine of logging their transactions via Bandloot, the site could save groups a ton of hassle. The site’s a great idea if band’s make proper use of it.
Check out the site at www.bandloot.com (currently in its Beta version) for an introductory video.