By: Lauren Royer
If you’re a touring entertainer with a messy calendar and your finances are out of control, boy did you click on the right article to read today. Managing the entire tour process is easy- I had a hard time even typing that with a straight face! That shit is hard! I’ve never done it but there’s a reason people hire booking managers.
Okay so let’s try a different spin on that sentence: Managing the entire tour process is easy- if you’re using Gigwell. This an amazing new platform designed to help independent artists and booking agencies stay organized, streamlined, and saves them time and money. Time and money people! I know I love to save as much as I can on those things. If you’re an artist and can’t afford to hire a booking manager, consider Gigwell as the most powerful tool you can use in the booking process.
We had the pleasure of interviewing the OG CEO of Gigwell, Jeremie Habib, to learn even more about this game-changing platform. Based out of beautiful San Francisco (so you know it’s dope), the platform features things like:
-Agency-Branded Booking Portal
-Cloud Based Contacts
-Real Time Reporting
To introduce you to what all Gigwell can actually do, I’d like to direct your attention to this 5 minute video which breaks it down better than I ever could.
Everyone in the music industry has a diverse background, tell us about yours and what led you to establish Gigwell.
Back in 2009, my co-founders and I started producing monthly events to push a new and emerging sound here in SF. These events were smaller and quite intimate at first; about 40-50 of our closest friends. Word quickly spread and our tiny events ballooned to sold-out shows at some of San Francisco’s top venues. Today, we’ve produced over 100 events in six cities together and are still quite active. In late 2012, an opportunity arose to co-invest in a restaurant lounge/ nightclub project in San Francisco’s SoMa district (audiosf.com). It was a big risk, but we loved the concept and felt we had the right team in place to make it work. Given our prior experience in event production, we were tasked with most of the initial talent buying for the club. We were immediately regressed to a world filled with fax machines, western union wire transfers, endless documents and paper forms. There had to be an easier way. Not long after that, Gigwell was born.
What are the primary genres you work with or are represented on the platform?
A little of everything to be honest. Our core focus has of course been music. Our most popular genre’s have been electronic and urban, but lately, we’ve been rapidly growing our base in jazz, country and acoustic/ rock. We’ve also started to work with public speakers and comedians. Basically, if you are a touring entertainer and you’re struggling to keep your finances and calendar under control, we can help!
I read on your site that currently many agencies are primarily using Word documents and Excel spreadsheets to track all their client info. You’ve discovered a very specific need in the industry for booking agents. When and how did you discover this need?
We were working with agencies all over the world to buy talent for our events and realized how much time was being wasted. In some cases 10-12 hours and 88 emails to book a $3,000- $5,000 act! We started advising clients to start using tools and services like DocuSign, Wufoo and Stripe to expedite workflow. A few listened, most were stuck in their old ways. This nightmare of a process is what ultimately led us to develop Gigwell.
What does your current team look like? Give us the scoop on the inner workings of Gigwell operations.
We’re currently sitting at about 10 employees. We’re a small, tightly-knit team – pretty evenly split between Sales/ Marketing and Engineering/ Operations. Most of us have held positions in tech startups or big tech companies at some point. Almost everyone on our team is or has been involved in music; producing events, music producers, booking agents and DJ’s.The common thread is definitely a passion for music.
This isn’t just a booking tool, another aspect is the artist’s profile where talent buyers can scroll through and book directly within the platform- can you speak to how much time and complication this will save for agents and artists?
One of the biggest challenges as a talent buyer is researching everything you need to know about an artist before booking them. This means viewing their videos, social stats, number of fans, play counts, and then making a judgement call on whether or not you think they would do well for your event. This research is done every time and by every buyer before a booking request is submitted. Gigwell offers a professional booking page that aggregates all of the social information for that artist, and can be embedded directly on their artist website or Facebook page. From there, talent buyers learn everything they need to know and can even submit a booking request all from one place. This has been a game-changer for many artists and agencies.
It looks like there are two versions of Gigwell- one for the artist and one for the booking agency/agent. A lot of our readers are independent artists who have to be their own booking agent- what tips or advice can you recommend to them about being successful using the platform and in booking/managing their gigs?
The main thing to understand is that Gigwell won’t help you find gigs (at least not yet). Our main purpose is streamlining the booking process for the gigs you already have. That along with providing artists with a defined process and professional tools without needing to go out and find themselves a booking agent. We have many independent artists and their managers using our system to manage hectic gig calendars, secure funds from promoters and just overall step up their business game- without having to pay expensive management fees.
Being a startup, what are the next moves for Gigwell?
Thats a great question, we’re always working on a million things. Our broader vision is to develop booking tools for promoters and venues next. This will enable us to power both sides of the music ecosystem and eventually play matchmaker between artists and talent buyers. This will ultimately result in helping artists get more gigs, helping event organizers produce more quality events and help fans see more shows. In the end, we all win. This is what we’re most excited about.