Online band classifieds
Players, singers collaborate via Web
By TRACI ROSENTHAL
Avenue Contributing Writer
Photo illustration by Nicole Safker / Alligator Staff
Bandmix.com can be searched by state, such as Florida (pictured). The purpose of the Web site is to unite musicians who are looking to form bands. The Beatles began with the ambition of four teenage friends running through London, in search of any old piece of music equipment or gig opportunity they could get their hands on.
Red Hot Chili Peppers started out in a living room in Hollywood, where four high school buddies tried out to perform at the legendary Rhythm Lounge.
But not everyone is lucky enough to grow up with incredibly talented and driven friends, or answer the right advertisement at the right time.
There is an answer for those who dream of collaborating with a band and want to get their musical juices flowing but can’t seem to gather enough talent to establish a group – it might just be a point and click away.
Bandmix.com answered thousands of musicians’ woes when the Web site was launched in 2002.
David Sales, a University of Tennessee alumnus and music enthusiast, began the Web site with hopes of connecting musicians and bands to fill a need for talent.
“Entire bands have been put together through our service,” Sales said.
The site allows musicians searching for bands or bands seeking out a single musical talent to explore the profiles on the site and contact anyone that sparks an interest.
Profiles are equipped to feature audio and video clips of original music that a member chooses to share with the Bandmix.com community. This allows musicians with similar style and ambition to find each other and know they are getting the real thing.
At first, Sales, an avid guitar player who prefers acoustic folk rock music, dabbled with the Web site as a side project. He said he would be happy if the Bandmix.com project broke even.
But within just a few months, enough users were signed up to begin matching needs all around the country, Sales said.
Now almost 200,000 profiles are featured on Bandmix.com, and the opportunity to make the right musical connections seem endless.
The Web site’s recognition has spread like wildfire and profiles can be found from musicians all over the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
“The popularity of the Web site has exceeded my expectations,” Sales said.
In addition to bringing together talented musicians, Bandmix.com offers a forum for its members. All three countries are included in the forum, he said.
Sales described his Web site as “a little community that connects people.”
In five years, the site has crossed borders and spanned oceans in order to make the disconnected musicians of the world a well-rounded, sharing community.
Sales, along with Internet entrepreneur and long-time friend Robert Hart, is looking to expand the Web site to Australia and Spanish-speaking countries in the near future, he said.
While the Web site offers a large variety of musical talent, from reggae to country, most of the music falls under the classic and alternative rock genre. A majority of bands created through Bandmix.com are on the level of cover bands, and some might be regionally known, Sales said.
Jeff Bangs, a bass player from Minnesota, was able to reshape his band with the help of Bandmix.com.
“It’s tough to find guys you get along with and play well with,” Bangs said.
In less than a month, Bangs uploaded a profile and recruited two local guitar players to complete his band, Electric Eye, which he described as the nation’s premiere tribute to Judas Priest.
“The nice thing about Bandmix was that it was easy to set up and had more details than any other Web site,” Bangs said. “We were trying to weed out the guys who wanted to be the next Van Halen.”
A Story of Success
Closer to home, the Gainesville-based band, Long Strange Day, is using Bandmix.com to recruit a keyboardist that can also play guitar and assist with backup vocals.
Long Strange Day, which band manager Shane Sheffield describes as progressive hard rock with bits of classic metal and psychedelic, has such a unique sound that it is difficult to find the perfect person to fill the void.
Sheffield, who handles all of the band’s business affairs, was searching on the Internet and stumbled upon Bandmix.com as a way to connect with other local musicians.
“Bandmix is like the MySpace of the music world,” Sheffield said.
After only a couple of months with a profile on the site, Long Strange Day has received multiple contacts from local musicians around the Gainesville area.
“Finding a musician that fits is hard. We could go around the block and find a million musicians in Gainesville,” Sheffield said. “But the beauty of the site is that it shows musical influences and what type of music someone feels comfortable playing so we’re not just blindly interviewing.”
Positive testimonies from Bandmix.com members such as Bangs and Sheffield inspired Sales to take his plans one step further in December 2006.
Because of the giant success of Bandmix.com, Sales has created another Web site that helps bands and musicians get their music out to the public.
Gigleader.com, which was created under his umbrella company Echo Media Inc, gives bands united by Bandmix.com and other independently started bands a chance to advertise talent on the Web.
Hopefully, this translates into getting booked by bars, clubs and parties.
Sales created the Web site to unify talented musicians and have fun doing, he said.
“I’m proud of bringing musicians together,” Sales said.