01 – Installing BandMgrX

BandMgrX runs on Macintosh computers, iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and Windows computers. There is no app for Android phones at this time, so BandMgrX currently does NOT work on Android phones. Since each platform requires its own own platform-specific app installed to run the database files, installation for each platform varies slightly:

Installing on Macintosh computers:
1) Attach to our Dropbox shared folder and download the BandMgrXMac.dmg file.
2) Open the BandMgrXMac.dmg file and drag the whole “BandMgrX for macOS” folder into your own Dropbox folder so you can share the app across all your devices (Macs, iPhones, iPads, Windows).

From then on you can open the BandMgrX by double-clicking the app, or you can create an alias or desktop shortcut. In some cases when you open the app you may be prompted to locate the BandMgrX.fmp12 file, if so, navigate to it as needed and you’re good to go.

Installing on iPhones or iPad
1) To run the three BandMgrX database files on iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch you need the FileMaker Go app, so step one to running BandMgrX on an iPhone or iPad is to download the FileMaker Go app from the App Store. Here’s the link to the most recent version, Filemaker Go 16:

Once you have the FileMaker Go app installed, you can use the built-in “App Extensions” tool to access your Dropbox folder and download the three BandMgrX database files to your iOS device. The three files you need to transfer are named:

1) BandMgrX.fmp12
2) BandMgrXData.fmp12
3) BandMgrXUtils.fmp12

You can also use iTunes to download the three files to your iPhone from your computer via your iPhone syncing cable.

Once you have the files downloaded on to your phone, be sure to back up the BandMgrData.fmp12 file back to your own Dropbox regularly, or back it up to your computer using iTunes. The file does not automatically sync from your iPhone to Dropbox, you need to back it up from your iPhone manually. The BandMgrXData.fmp12 is the only file you need to backup regularly, as it holds all of your data. The other two files are user-interface files only which can be easily replaced if lost or damaged, but if you lose the BandMgrData.fmp12 file you can basically lose everything. Protect your data. Backup early and often.

02 – Using Dropbox to Copy BandMgrX Between Devices

We use Dropbox to copy our BandMgrX files between devices, but you should be able to use any cloud service really. Sugar Still uses a single SugarStill Dropbox account that we can both log into to share the BandMgrX files on both of our MacBooks and both of our iPhones. If you don’t know how to use Dropbox you should probably learn, it’s dead simple, and super valuable. Google Drive, iCloud and/or OneDrive could probably work as well, but we use Dropbox.

One thing to look out for is that iPhones and iPads currently don’t automatically copy in both directions. When you open the BandMgrX files on your iPhone or iPad from Dropbox, you have to manually save the data file BACK to Dropbox later copy your data to your other devices. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT if you’re sharing BandMgrX between bandmates or back and forth between your iPhone and your computer. When you open the Dropbox file on your Mac, all the changes are automatically saved to your Dropbox folder, but this is NOT TRUE with an iPhone or iPad. On an iPhone or iPad the changes you make are ONLY saved onto the device itself. If you drop your iPhone in the toilet you may lose any of the recent changes you made on your iPhone. Backup your data early and often.

Another big thing to understand is that you should only enter or change data ON ONE DEVICE AT A TIME. When you’re done entering data, close the file and make sure the data files sync to Dropbox. If you and a bandmate enter data simultaneously or you enter data on your iPhone without manually copying the file back over from your phone you may lose data or over-write data you entered on one of the other devices. Coordinate with your bandmates so that only one person is using BandMgrX at a time. We switch back and forth a lot, but we make sure to send a quick text or Facebook message to each other to make sure the other person is done, or to ask them to close the app for a few minutes so we can do what we need to do.

We’ve also built a tool to email recent changes if we accidentally enter data simultaneously. It’s not perfect, but it has helped us on occasion. To access this feature open the BandMgrXUtils.fmp12 file. We’ll create more detailed instructions on how to use the Utils file in another post.

03 – Setting up your Email app and email address to work with BandMgrX

BandMgrX works in conjunction with your device’s default email app to send emails. On a Mac it uses OSX Mail, on an iPhone or iPad it uses Mail. On Windows BandMgrX uses Outlook. We need to be sure your email apps are configured properly so they work the way you want them to with BandMgrX. YOU MUST USE an email app to send emails out of BandMgrX, you can’t use a browser. You can use a Gmail *account* (that’s what we use) or another online mail account like Yahoo or Hotmail… but it has to be configured for use in one of the email apps listed above.

This is only true for SENDING emails from BandMgrX (which is one of its most powerful features). If you don’t want to send emails from BandMgrX than you don’t have to configure a Mail app. But if you do want to send emails from BandMgrX you’ll need to set up a Mail app to send those emails.

As we mentioned above, Sugar Still uses a single Gmail email address for all of our band correspondence. We like doing it this way because even if we’re in separate cities for awhile we both still get notified on our phones when any emails come in, and we can both send out any band emails (like booking requests and gig confirmations) because we both have access to the account. We can also see the email threads for any correspondence on gig negotiations and so forth.

One thing to look out for… If you have multiple email accounts (for example both Sarah and I have personal accounts as well as the Sugar Still account), you need to be careful when sending out band related emails from BandMgrX. Make sure you’ve selected the proper email account before sending. It’s pretty easy to miss this and mistakenly send band correspondence from your personal account, and this can be confusing to both the venues and your band mates, as the emails you send won’t get put into the band account’s sent mail or outbox folders, which makes it harder to keep track of gig negotiations.

04 – Creating “FormLetters” to send personalized emails to venues and media outlets on your tour route

Sugar Still has toured to all four corners of the US in the past year, and BandMgrX has helped us to quickly research and contact venues and media outlets along our tour route to both book and promote gigs. This process got even faster and more efficient when we implemented FormLetters.

Here’s the basic touring concept… Imagine we’re booking a tour from Chicago to LA and back again and we want to book gigs all along the route.

We look at a map and we pick some target stopping points. Chicago, Moline, St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Denver, Colorado Springs, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, Phoenix. Then we pick the approximate dates we think we’ll be in each area. Chicago Wednesday, Moline Thursday, St. Louis Friday, Tulsa Saturday, Oklahoma City Sunday. A day off and then Kansas City Tuesday, Manhattan Wednesday, Denver Thursday, Colorado Springs Friday, Santa Fe Saturday, Albuquerque Sunday. A couple more days off, then Flagstaff Wednesday, Phoenix Thursday, Tucson Friday, Palm Springs Saturday, LA Sunday… etc. Get the idea?

It’s HIGHLY LIKELY we’ll need to approach multiple venues in each city or region for each date that we want to perform. In fact, we may need to approach 10 venues (or more) in each region to make sure we get the gig that we want on the day that we want it. There are so many reasons a venue might not book you, they may already have someone booked, there may be a football game that night, maybe it’s trivia night, the venue is closed for a party, you name it. This is why we’ll probably need to approach multiple venues for each tour stop. And this is where FormLetters come in super handy.

We create FormLetters for each specific region or city and the specific date that we’re touring through. The only difference in each FormLetter may be the date itself. However, sometimes we also create FormLetters catering to specific types of venues (for example one for breweries, one for wineries, one for distilleries, one for clubs, one for festivals, one for house concerts). Then as we research venues in each area we have the FormLetter ready to select from a pop-up list, and it sends a booking request email in a couple clicks.

One of the key benefits of FormLetters is that they can be personalized when you send them. For example, we can put the name of the venue in the Subject line of each email by inserting the FormToken [Contact]. Then we don’t need to re-type the venue name each time we send an email, BandMgrX inserts it for us automatically. We can also put booking contact’s name at the beginning of the message as well. How does this work? As mentioned above, we use a feature we call “FormTokens.”

FormTokens look like this: [Contact], [FirstName], [LastName] and so on. Each FormToken is replaced with information from the Contact Record when the email is sent. You can use and of the FormTokens in Subject and Message fields. The TO, CC, BCC fields use only the [Email] token. Here are a few of the available tokens you can use:

[CurrentDate] inserts inserts CurrentDate
[Email] inserts Contacts::Email
[Contact] inserts Contacts::Company
[FirstName] inserts Contacts::FirstName
[LastName] inserts Contacts::LastName
[Street1] inserts Contacts::Street1
[City] inserts Contacts::City
[State] inserts Contacts::State
[Zip] inserts Contacts::Zip
[Country] inserts Contacts::Country
[Phone] inserts Contacts::Phone

Once we have a confirmed gig, we circle back around and contact all of the newspapers, TV Stations, and other media outlets that we can find within a certain distance from the venue to promote the show. FormLetters are great for that too.

“FOR” CONTACT (fContact) Tokens (for Booking Agents)
One of the last features we added to BandMgrX is what we call the “FOR CONTACT” to help people who book multiple acts. All Gig records have a “FOR” contact. The concept is that you’re sending an email TO a venue, and the email is FOR the band. The info from the FOR CONTACT can also be inserted into the emails using the same tokens as above, only with a lowercase “f” in beginning of the token.

[fEmail] inserts ForContact::Email
[fContact] inserts ForContact::Company
[fFirstName] inserts ForContact::FirstName
[fLastName] inserts ForContact::LastName
[fStreet1] inserts ForContact::Street1
[fCity] inserts ForContact::City
[fState] inserts ForContact::State
[fZip] inserts ForContact::Zip
[fCountry] inserts ForContact::Country
[fPhone] inserts ForContact::Phone

If you’re only booking yourself in one band there’s no real reason to use the fContact Tokens, but if you’re booking for multiple bands it can come in handy.

05 – Configuring “Max Radius” searches to find venues and media outlets within “x” miles of a given point

One BandMgrX feature that Sugar Still uses A LOT is the “Max Radius” search to find venues within “x” miles of a specific point, let’s say within 25 miles, or 50 miles, or 100 miles. This is particularly helpful when we’re planning a tour, as we can quickly see how many venues we have entered within 50 miles of Phoenix, or 100 miles from Denver, or 25 miles from Chicago. Then we can email them quickly using the Email Tool and FormLetters, or we can use the PasteTools in the “Utilities Menu…” to quickly research and enter a bunch more venues if we’re thin in any given region.

The Max Radius search is fast and can even search in miles, kilometers, nautical miles, or radians. Hahaha, why not, right? One of our goals is to tour through the Bahamas by boat one day.

The Max Radius search tool uses latitude and longitude coordinates for each contact in the Contacts table to complete its search, so one thing we needed to figure was how to get those latitude and longitude coordinates entered onto each contact record. Enter Google and the Google Maps API. As you enter new contacts you can use Google to enter the the latitude and longitude for you automatically based on the street address. It’s pretty sweet, but to get it to work reliably you need to get an API Key from Google. The key is free (up to 2500 queries a day), and if you already have a Google Mail account you can get your key in about three clicks. Here’s where you go to get your free key:


Once you have your API key, copy and paste it into the BandMgrX preferences screen and you’re all set. BandMgrX has a way to grab the latitude and longitude for each Contact record individually, and a way to loop through a whole bunch of records and update them for you unattended (as long as you’re connected to the internet). If you already have a contact list, you can import the list into BandMgrX and let Google fill in your latitude and longitude coordinates for you overnight while you sleep for example.

Here’s a short tutorial video that shows you how we use the Max Radius search tool.

06 – Using the “SuperBrowser” to research venues and media outlets

The BandMgrX tool that Sugar Still uses more than any other is the “SuperBrowser” and it turns BandMgrX into a very compact research and booking dream tool. It gives us a way to book gigs in venues that most other musicians never approach, it gives us a way to quickly promote our shows on social media with just a few clicks, and it helps us route our tours using the integrated Google Map, Google Calendar, and GMail.

To see the Superbrowser in action, click any of the blue field labels on the Contact screen. Clicking the Contact label displays a Google search for that name. Clicking the C/S/Z/Co label shows a Google map. Click the social media field labels goes to that page. Click and go. And to display a Google Calendar, Google Mail, or any other website you use regularly, click in the drop-down list just above the browser window. You can edit that list to display any sites you choose… Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft, FestivalNet, whatever.

The single most important thing we’ve found we need when booking Sugar Still is a current, active, published email address for a venue. After an email address, Facebook messaging is next. Once we’ve contacted a venue, most people like to text after that, so a cell phone number is next. All three are important, but we’ve found we can book a show with just an email address, so the email address is by far the most important. If none of these are available and they only have an online submission form, we enter that URL into the “ContactForm” field. We can usually use the SuperBrowser to help us find the email address for any given venue in about a minute, even if we only have the venue name and no other information. Here’s how we do it.

1) In the SuperBrowser screen, Create a new Contact record and enter the venue name. Now tab to the next field. The SuperBrowser immediately displays the Google search for the venue name. If the venue name is fairly unique, nine times out of ten Google will display the “Google Place” data on the right hand side of the screen with the venue’s name, address, and phone information. In the search results to the left, Google will usually display the venue’s website and Facebook page. Once Google displays the information, we use the “PasteTools” in our “Utilities Menu” to quickly add the rest of the critical venue info into BandMgrX without re-typing. Here’s a 30 second tutorial video to show you what we mean:

Now, as we stated above, our real goal is to find a current, active, published email address. We’ve found that the email address is almost always on their website or their Facebook page. We click the blue Website field label to go directly to their website and look for a contact page. If the email is there, we copy it and paste using the Utilities Menu drop-down for Email. If it’s not there, we click the blue Facebook field label to go to their Facebook page, click the About tab, and usually find the email address there. Copy and paste. Done. BUT WAIT. Here’s where BandMgrX converts research into ACTION. Since we normally already have a FormLetter created for the tour route we’re researching, we click the Email tab, select the FormLetter from the drop-down list, click the SEND EMAIL button, and bingo. In one minute we’ve gone from having nothing… to having sent a new venue a booking request. That’s been incredibly powerful for us.

I bet you have a question lingering in the back of your mind. “Can’t I just buy venue lists that already have the email address, instead of doing this research?” You can actually. And you can import those lists into BandMgrX. BUT BE VERY CAREFUL. Nothing gets your email account shut down faster than sending out large numbers of unsolicited emails. Nothing. You’ll be flagged as a spammer and once you’re flagged it’s almost impossible to get off the spammer lists. The email giants (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, Earthlink, Verizon, AT&T, etc) will shut you down cold. Don’t send an email until you’ve verified the address is current, active, and published. Email lists go out of date almost as soon as they’re published, so yes, YOU CAN BUY EMAIL LISTS. But man oh man can they cause problems. Be careful. And if you do buy a list, here’s what Sugar Still recommends: Find a way to confirm the email address is current, active, and published before you send an email to it (like by using the BandMgrX SuperBrowser or something like it), cool? You’ll be glad you did.

We us the social media links to circle back around after we’ve booked a gig to tag the venue when we post Facebook events, photos, videos, etc.

07 – Using the “Utilities Menu” to quickly enter venue info, like address, email, website, and social media links

The Utilities Menu has a bunch of tiny tools to help us enter data faster. We do a lot of copying and pasting from venue websites, Facebook pages, and Google, so we built the Utilities Menu to help speed up that specific task. For the most part each item is pretty self-explanatory, but we’ll list the items here just to be thorough.

The top few are simple shortcuts to paste data we’ve copied (from a website, email, text doc, or whatever…) into a specific field. The Utility Menu pastes whatever you’ve last copied into your clipboard using the Copy command on your device. However, it also does a couple cool things in the background that you may not notice as it does them. First, it strips out any text formatting like font color, size, underlining, italics, that sort of thing. This can be super helpful when we’re copying an email address off a venue website that uses white text on a black background for example. The tool also strips away leading or trailing spaces or returns that we might’ve selected by accident as we copied the Facebook link for example. We’ve found using the Utilities Menu is a lot faster than having to click in the field, paste the data, change the formatting, check for spaces and returns, all those things.

The “Parse Google Map Info” tool works like this: When you do a search in Google for a venue, the Google Place data that usually shows up on the right hand side of a Google search. If you highlight and copy that section from the top of the venue name down through to the end of the phone number and then click the “Parse Google Map Info” selection, the street, city, sate, zip, country, and phone number get pasted into the appropriate fields all in one shot. This currently works for addresses in the USA, Canada, UK, and Germany. Here’s a 3 minute video showing how this works.

This tool removes all the text formatting in all the fields on the current screen. Sometimes we paste things into a field without using the Paste Into… tools, and in that case we use this tool to remove the text formatting if we want to. This has been really nice when we’re copying gig details into the Notes field from an email that the booker sent us for example, or when we copy the weekly music schedule from a venue’s website so we’ll remember what nights they have music when we go back to book a show there a year from now, that sort of thing. Again, this is particularly great when a venue formats their website with white text on a black background, or some other similar color scheme.

08 – Using the Email tab to quickly send a personalized email to a venue or media outlet

For Sugar Still, we’ve found that nothing is currently more effective for booking shows than sending emails. This may change. But right now this is still the single most effective way to book shows. Yes, we do book shows from phone calls, texts, Facebook messages, don’t get us wrong. But the overwhelming majority of our shows are booked through email. And that’s why we built the Email tab and the integrated FormLetters to make this email booking process as fast and efficient as we possibly could.

We already discussed how to set up FormLetters on another page, and from our perspective FormLetters are key. Sending the email itself could hardly be simpler, we click the SEND EMAIL button and away it goes. However, there’s one choice we gave ourselves here that has helped us a lot. When we click the SEND EMAIL button, a dialog box pops up asking us if we want to edit the email or just send it. If the FormLetter is good enough, we can just send it and move on. However, we may have a personal note we want to add or modify if we recognize a name or have something in common (like a love of whiskey for example, or mutual friends that might help us land the gig).

After the email is sent, a line of text is added automatically to the top of the Notes field that simply reads “Emailed 5/17/2017” for example. It inserts the current date for us automatically. This top line of the notes shows up in the Contact List view, so this is super helpful when we’re sending out emails for a follow up tour 6 months later, or sending out a 2nd wave of emails to venues on our tour route and want to be sure we’re not doubling up on emails too quickly.

Here’s a 3 minute tutorial video showing how we use the Email tab.

09 – Using the “Extras” tab to track booked gigs, To Do items, notes, and income or expenses

The “Extras” tab is the place where we enter any Gigs that we book at a venue, and a place to enter individual dated notes for our To Do List and financial tracking.

We’ve found that we really only need to know 5 things about a gig. The date, start time, status (whether it’s tentative or confirmed), the approximate dollars we expect to make, and then miscellaneous notes (which might include how long we’re playing, if food and lodging are provided, other elements of the deal, whether we need a PA). To us a gig is very simple. Five key things, and a way to track the eternally variable minutiae.

To help booking agents use BandMgrX we’ve added a field called “For Contact” as well, which enables you to book shows for multiple bands, or multiple venues and stages (if you’re booking a venue or festival instead of a band).

Clicking on the circle-arrow to the left of a Gig takes us to a detail screen for the Gig if we want to enter and view more detail. We can enter whatever we want there, including additional dated notes, and we can even enter detailed financial breakdowns there as well. You can track how much the guarantee is, how many CDs you sell, how much you got in tips, that sort of thing. The Gig detail screen is designed to handle tracking for as many different items as we can ever dream up, like shirts, pens, vinyl, autographed posters, books of lyrics, jewelry, you name it.

The Dated Notes section looks pretty boring, but it’s actually pretty powerful if you’re into To Do Lists. The idea here is you can enter FUTURE items in the Dated Notes section, then they’ll appear in your To Do List on that day when it arrives. Want to be sure the venue has your gig listed on their website 30 days before your show? Enter a “To Do” item for that date to remind you to check. Need to send posters to the venue but they don’t want the posters to arrive more than three weeks before the show? Enter a “Send Out” note for that date. Did the booker talk to you on the phone but was too busy right then and asked you to call them back after they get back from vacation next week? Enter a “Call” note for that date. Those items will continue to show up in your To Do lists until you check them as DONE. Once they’re checked as DONE, they’re archived for as long as you like, or until you delete them.

One sort of unorthodox addition to Dated Notes is the $$ field. You can enter numeric values in this field and see a total at the bottom. We use this as a sort of down and dirty place to track numbers. It doesn’t replace accounting software or anything, but it’s enough for most of the tracking we do. Use it as you will.

Hey, if you’re not into To Do Lists or have no need for $$ tracking, all good, no worries, you can use this notes section however you want, or you don’t have to use it at all. We just wanted you to know how we use it and why we built it the way we did. Cheers!

10 – Using the SuperBrowser to “tag” venues and nearby media outlets with social media photos, videos, and sound files to promote upcoming events

We discussed the SuperBrowser on another page, but we wanted to go into a little more detail about how we use the SuperBrowser to promote upcoming shows as they get closer and closer. We do this primarily by posting links to YouTube videos, Instagram photos, and Soundcloud songs, or by tagging the venues in posts that we do on any given promotion. Since we have the Facebook pages entered for each of the venues we play, it’s pretty easy to just click through the venues, view their facebook page, and paste a link into a status. We also use this for nearby media outlets, and have some really good success getting interviews and articles with small town newspapers.

To be honest, we feel like we’re only beginning to use this tool the way we want to, so we’d actually love to hear how you wind up using BandMgrX to help promote your shows. Every social media site has its strengths, we’re interested in hearing your stories on what works for you.

Here’s a two-minute tutorial on how we’ve used it an how we use the MAX RADIUS search to find nearby media outlets to help promote a show we’ve booked at a specific venue.