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Indie on the Move unveils new site, continues to revolutionize DIY tour booking for indie bands
by David Urbanic
When Indie on the Move was unveiled in late 2008, offering a meticulously checked and updated library of performance venues and contact information to DIY touring bands for free, they raised a few skeptical eyebrows from their demographic of rightfully jaded indie bands.
There have always been plenty of books and websites offering lists of contact information for venues across the United States, but some of those were devoted largely to bigger clubs or arenas that fledgling indie bands could only hope to appeal to someday, and all seemed to be riddled with inaccurate information and required a sizable fee for access to the data.
If there were detractors early on, they quickly became supporters of Indie on the Move’s “all for one, one for all mentality,” and the site has since blossomed into a consistently expanding community of, currently, around 25,000 members that contribute as much to the site as they take away.
One of the big advantages of indieonthemove.com is the ability for members to add venues that are not already in the database. Bands can contribute their favorite venues, venues can add themselves, and all of the information is personally vetted by dedicated site administrators. No more outdated publications or neglected fee-based websites.
This is all great for research and planning, but once a band actually gets out on the road, the hard truth of large-scale touring is that plenty of shows are canceled at the last minute. However, the reality that many performers do not appreciate is how often venues get stuck with an empty stage on short notice. Mutually, performers and venues tend to book several months in advance, so when a show slot becomes unexpectedly open it can pose an enormous problem. Since the launch of IOTM, however, venue bookers are able to directly contact site administrators with sudden availabilities, which they then forward to tens of thousands of reputable and professional bands, a fair amount of which might be on the road in that region with an open travel day or cancelation of their own.
“For us, there is absolutely no tour without Indie on the Move,” says Justin Stang of the Union, Washington band, Sideways Reign. “I can’t imagine a world before this essential tool and outstanding resource existed.”
“I can’t believe I used to rely on suggestions from friends and Google searches to find venues in other towns,” says Josh Myers of Sad Red (Brooklyn, NY). “[Indie on the Move is] the patron saint of touring bands.”
This positive response has not gone unappreciated by the IOTM administrators, and after three years of adaptation and implementation, Indie on the Move is rewarding their dedicated clientele with a much improved, totally revamped website.
First and foremost, users will appreciate a customizable homepage, allowing them to tailor that front line of information to suit their particular needs. “We realized that the updates we were sending out were becoming so varied, and related to so many different facets of the site that the scrolling marquee we had at the top of the homepage simply took too long to reveal the relevant information,” explains President of Indie on the Move, Kyle Weber on the decision to empower users with their own homepage.
Also new to the arsenal is a more expansive and open system to receive notifications, follow, and contribute show and band opportunities on a local, regional, and national level. “We’ve always used the geo-targeted show availability eBlast to inform bands about open dates at venues within our system,” says Weber, “but, with the way the system was set up, the site administrators had to personally post each availability, and with such high demand our time to do so became extremely limited. As a result we decided to make that feature available to everyone, because we felt that if we opened the ‘post and respond’ option to all sides there would be more dates, more bands, and more opportunities. And, on our end, it wouldn’t demand any more administrative hours so we could dedicate that extra time to improving other facets of the site.”
Among the most exciting changes in the structure of IOTM is the new integration of media and cross-platform promotion between venues and performers. One of IOTM’s other strengths has also been that it is a highly valuable tool for contacting other bands in different areas. But, for researching bands you may like to share gigs with, the original site offered little more than a list of links to other sites where you could hunt for photos, videos, and music. “You shouldn’t have to use IOTM to find a band and then go hunting through a bunch of different sites to discover more about them,” says Weber. “We decided to make IOTM a one-stop-shop as another method to save time and streamline the process.” With the new ability for bands to integrate their own media into their profile pages, users will certainly experience an ease of additional mouse clicks and open browser tabs.
Furthermore, there is now a tagging feature that enables users to see photos and videos of the venues themselves. “You can only learn so much about a venue before you need to actually see the place,” Weber explains. “We created a tagging feature that posts videos and photos on the venue pages themselves as well as the profile of the user who uploaded the media and tagged it to that venue. The user benefits from the content originating from their page, and the venue benefits from the free promotion appearing automatically on their page.”
Also included in the site-wide overhaul is the ability for artists to now invite their fans and friends to the IOTM community, where they can post comments, customize their own homepages to follow and rate their favorite venues, and even invite musicians to play their own unique events.
Altogether, this certainly is a veritable instance of “Christmas in autumn” for the DIY masses. And while the structure of Indie on the Move is such that it only assists in the success of those who are ready to work for it, one thing is clear from the ever expanding number of site users and gushing testimonials: this free service that started off as the secret weapon, Leatherman-like tool in the back of the indie music toolbox, has quickly turned into the construction site that thousands of artists are building their careers upon