Tastemakers: Chris Vinson & David Dufresne Of Bandzoogle

Did you know that you don’t need to hire a professional or even know code to build a killer website for your band or even your art work? Stop playing the struggling artist card and get acquainted with Bandzoogle, a website builder platform dedicated to artists that makes getting your name out there easy so you can worry about more important things like, well, the music. We caught up with CTO Chris Vinson and CEO David Dufresne of the Montreal-based company to find out more…

Bandzoogle

Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
Bandzoogle is a Montreal based company and we provide a website builder platform dedicated to artists. More than 20,000 bands and musicians worldwide design and host their websites, online stores and mailing lists with us, including Juno Award winners and Grammy nominees. Our tool is an easy, powerful, efficient and affordable way for any artist to build the hub of their online presence.

How did you come up with the idea for Bandzoogle and how did you get it off the ground?
Chris (founder and CTO) used to play bass in a grunge band. After the band broke up Chris got hired by the label to build and maintain all websites for their roster, so he built a tool that would let managers and artist update the sites themselves. Ten years ago, when a good number of indie artists asked him if they could use that tool, he saw the opportunity to launch his own start-up.

David joined as CEO almost 4 years ago, to increase Bandzoogle’s visibility, get strategic partnerships in place and grow the team and user base. Our company was ranked in the Profit 200 list of Canada’s fastest growing companies for the last two years and we’re planning to launch new products and platforms this year. We also acquired a few companies in the last couple of years, including Onesheet, a San Francisco based company.

Sell us on it: What some of the best benefits to Bandzoogle for its users?
It has all the features you need to build a professional website, without having to code, without having to hire anyone, and without have to mess around with tons of widgets and plug-ins. We have tons of modern and beautiful themes you can pick and change at anytime, and we also have a design system that lets you make your own theme from scratch. So you can use your own artwork, textures and even fonts.

Our store lets you sell digital music or files, CDs, merch, anything directly to your fans… And we take exactly 0% of your sales. It’s a free trial, and our plans are super affordable, between $9.95 and $19.95 a month – so gone are the days of investing thousands of dollars into a website. That includes your own domain name (.com or .ca), email inboxes, a mailing list tool… more features than I can list.

You also embed tools like Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram into your website with a few clicks. We have friendly and efficient online support 7 days a week and we can help you get exactly the website you want.

But the best part is that it’s 100% your website. You can update it anytime from anywhere, change up the design, add pages, etc. as much as you want.

What are the biggest challenges and best rewards about what you do?
The best reward is seeing how our tools help artists further their career, reach their audience and generate some income. We’re all musicians and/or huge music geeks ourselves so we’re extremely luck to have built a sustainable and profitable business that actually helps artists.

The challenge is that we are a small team and independent (no outside funding, no venture capital money to burn) and we have huge generic corporations as competitors, buying ads on prime-time TV. The best way we can compete is by focusing on better serving our specific market: musicians and artists.

What’s currently on your playlist?
The new Solids record is blowing David’s mind and rocking his world. He also loves Dead Obies, a new hip hop crew from Montreal, and he has a hard time dropping the last The National record from his regular rotation.

Let’s get social for a mo’. How can people stay up-to-date with your busy life?
Our website Bandzoogle.com has a kick-ass blog that every musician should follow. We’re also pretty active on Twitter and Facebook.

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