GIGSTARTER. What is it? Interview with ERIK DE KUYPER, co-founder of Gigstarter.
Gigstarter is a platform that aims at facilitating the hiring of a musician: direct contact with the client. Through reviews and evaluations as other apps do such as Blablacar or Uber, the musicians or bands that are hired can be evaluated.
The platform, created by the brothers Paul and Erik de Kuyper Gil-Ordóñez, already generates more than 2,500 requests for concerts within Spain each year. Gigstarter makes it easy for both private clients and professionals to find and book artists directly through a very intuitive and accessible website. Gigstarter is now active in 8 European countries with over 8,000 artists online on the platform, and is guided by its motto "Less hassle, more music"
On the occasion of its expansion to the Levante area, we interviewed Erik, one of its founders, to know more about the origins and the goal of this interesting platform.
How does Gigstarter's journey begin?
My brother and I, who are both musicians, saw how difficult it was to get gigs when we started, it was almost impossible as a beginner. Let's not talk anymore about getting paid gigs, good and real gigs. Impossible. We saw that it was not easy to bring the musicians and the customers together, so we thought about creating a platform to do so. Indeed, in 2012 we launched the platform called Gigstarter. We worked on it half the time and in 2014 we decided to dedicate 100% ourselves to it. And in 2016 we saw that it started working here in Amsterdam, so an interest in the concept was there and we decided to keep on expanding across Europe.
The Gigstarter Brothers
What is this concept around Gigstarter?
Every type of formations is welcomed whether it is a solo artist, duo, band or DJs... Every artist can indeed create a profile on the platform and on top of that, when a client hires you through the platform, you don't have to pay any fee, commission or anything else because there is direct and personal contact between client and artist. That was the most important advantage for us to unveil and when we started there was no platform like that. The Netherlands was like our test market to see if it worked, and it did. In 2016 we extended to Spain as we are half Spanish and half Dutch, so it was obvious for us.
We saw that there is a system of ratings on the profiles as it exists in other platforms like Airbnb or BlaBlaCar, how does it work for you?
The system works like a ranking, based on evaluations. The musicians have to focus on our page to get the evaluations, because with them they go up in this ranking, and the higher you are, the more likely you are to get new gigs. That's why we advise the artists to "book" their gig from the site, because that way the client gets a notification the day after the gig and he will have to rate the artist. Nowadays, this system is very widespread, but when we started this, it was very rare to see, but it went very well. Right now we are based in 8 countries and have more than 8,000 registered artists, and around 10,000 bookings a year and it is proudly growing every year. Ina nutshell, it is a platform created by artists, for artists.Promotional video from Gigstarter
I imagine that the business model of your platform lies on the PRO Subscriptions but what are the benefits for these "PRO Artists"?
The most basic one is that when you create a PRO profile you can add more videos and photos on the profile and you can add your personal contacts (phone, mail...), so that it ensures a faster personal contact. You can also manage up to 5 profiles, instead of the 2 that a ''basic'' profile has. But the most important thing I think is that you can respond to calls. I mean, there are two ways for a client to hire an artist: one when you scroll the profiles, choose one interesting and click on the red button "check availability" to send them a private message or through the calls. The call is a complete form the client has to fill in. The booker gives the events' details, for X day X genre,the budget, location... This call comes to us and we try to fit our artists to the specific request according to the clients' requirements. If you are a PRO member, you can answer directly. But remember that being PRO does not assure you anything, what assures you generally are the evaluations, as we commented before.
It seems that you don't lose anything when you create a profile, which makes the initiative very interesting, and this is very cool for small bands, but even for slightly bigger bands, what kind of bands do you have on the platform?
It's true that the biggest bands are not going on our platform as they are very tied up with contracts, management, etc. We have precisely decided not to ask for commissions on bookings because of our transparency and accessibility, but also so that labels or managers do not see us as competition, but as a tool to promote their artists; and to give opportunities to the smaller bands.
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