In order to get some kind of structure on my standup I have been scanning the Internet for solutions that can make my own administration a bit easier. I will write a short review of the solutions I have tried, to maybe help fellow standup colleagues who – like me – want to spend less time looking for that piece of paper they used to scribble the important notes on. My first review will be of Band Central.
What do I use today?
I use iCal, Evernote and a database I have built in Bento. It is quite good for my demands, but I want to be able to sync it online, so the person that assists me with my admin will be able to do updates without having to use my computer. Evernote and iCal works fine but my Bentobase is not possible to update through the Net.
At first glance Band Central seems to be a very good solution. It is built for bands – hence the name – but have some features that I found could be useful for me as a standup comedian aswell.
Gigs and tours, and a calendar. This is quite easy to set up, and I like tha fact that you can add venue details, info on your costs and fee, accomodation details, and you get a link to Google maps and much much more.
A message area where you can contact agent, colleagues or whoever you add as ”band member”. Not necessary but useful if you need to be able to share info with others.
I also used the Songs area to put my setlists. These are the features that made me want to try it more than just a day or so. The rest is things I didn’t find any use for as a soloartist/standup.
Now to the negatives.
There is an iPhone-app, but it lacks some features that I expected it to have. As an example, the feature ”assets” is not synced to the app. Worse is that ”files” is not synced either. Which means that one of the reasons for me to try BandCentral is NOT solved. I still have to use Evernote or similar for that.
The ”Songs”-list, that I use as setlist, syncs to the iPhone-app, but when I scroll down the entries gets reordered/shuffled randomly. Which means that Band central in reality does not solve this problem either. I still have to rely on Evernote or similar.
Other downsides of BandCentral is the fact that it does not support other currencies than the ones that are hard-coded in to the admin interface. No blank choise where you can write your own. There is no big problem as long as I am the only one working with it, since I can use whatever currency and jut remember that it is my own in reality. But in the long run-when I get an agent-this solution is no good at all.
There is no 24-hour calendar, only AM/PM. A person that requested an internationalization of bandCentral (in their support forum) got this answer:
We don’t have any plans to add in a 24hr format as when we did it last year, a million people moaned at us!
Millions? And where is the problem if you can choose 24-hours OR AM/PM, like most web applications do? Sounds like an answer you could get in Kindergarten.
So in reality already here I realised that BandCentral is not for me. But worst is the total lack of useful support.
The first time I wanted to contact BandCentral support I used the way they say I am supposed to: I used the support contact-form on their website. No answer. I tried again. Still no answer after three days. So then I used the second option, via email. After a few days I got an answer, that stated that I am to use the support contact-form instead.
I then tried to use the Forum instead. In a ongoing thread where others questioned if there was any support or not, I mentioned the problems I had getting in touch with the support staff, and wrote that if there is no active support I can’t see any reasonto actually pay for it. This is the answer I got on the forum, by a BandCentral staff member:
Sorry you feel like that. Best of luck with your standup.
And then they put the thread as resolved. So – instead of assisting the potential customers, they tell them goodbye and shut the means of communication.
Also – there are many Discussion threads that are about how to delete the account. This to me sends a signal that the customers are not satisfied. And since BandCentral support don’t answer it is hard not to question the point of buying this service.
Myself, I am not going to use BandCentral anymore, and even if it is quite cheap, I can’t recommend anyone to try even the free version. Since from my perspective it is a useless product for non- Americans.
My rating of BandCentral in a fivegrade scale is ?
I can’t give it more than the lowest, due to the – in my opinion – the support staff. Could add two more if they had a functioning support, 24-hour calendar and option to choose a non-preset currency.