Gigstarter

Discover and book live music artists for gigs.

Venue - The Harpie

Situation

The local bar The Harpie likes to feature local and visiting bands for on most nights of the week, often 2 or 3 in a night.  The Harpie struggles to though find enough artists to fill its bill.  Relying on word of mouth in the community and networking is cumbersome and and time consuming, and working with promoters who have their own agenda misses out on a lot of possibilities.

Vision

One of the bands tipped The Harpie about a website called Gigstarter.  Gigstarter has tons of artists that have signed up looking for local gigs to play.  Each artist has created descriptive profiles with music samples.  Now The Harpie can easily browse potential artists and contact them about gigs.  So convenient to have all the artists in a single central place that The Harpie even encourages their regular bands to sign up as well.

Insights

Venues owners that regularly book an ongoing bill of regular and new bands would find it useful to have a centralized catalog of available artists.

Convenient to be able to contact the artists directly from the platform.

Party - Edison

Situation

Edison needs a quirky string quartet for his investors event, to thank them for supporting his startup which just went public.  Its going to be a friendly affair, but still with a bit of class.  Although Edison is a great CEO, he is not connected to the local string quartet scene, and doesn’t like the idea of paying an agency to find something that might not be exactly what he imagines for just the right mix of classical and playful.  Edison tried googling, but got only general results.  Edison is not sure how to proceed.

Vision

Edison was discussing his dilemma with one of the designers at his company, and they directed him to Gigstarter.  A delighted Edison sampled  the extensive choices on Gigstarter, filtered by string quartets.  He loved the playfulness of one in particular from watching their video.  Contacted them and was all set.

Insights

The average person doesn’t really know how to find potential music artists themselves, and may not like dealing with agencies who just want their fee for minimally adequate solutions.  Even communicating back and forth with an agency is cumbersome and time consuming.  Trying to google oneself for artists doesn’t really work either.

Having a catalog on local artists with descriptions and samples greatly extends reach and simplifies search and selection.

Artist - The Dialups

Situation

The Dialups is an electronic music band with a sort of artsy, pop counter-culture style.  They have been together for a few years and have a nice catalog of their own music as well as their own takes on various covers.  They has a small but devoted following, and would like to grow their audience.  They would like to play more live events but being struggling artists with other jobs, they don’t have the time to promote themselves.  They feel like that are at a bit of a standstill at the moment.

They have a webpage and are on facebook.  But still when they approach bar owner’s, the common reaction is “who are you?”  They have a small fanbase, but otherwise only their families and close friends know them.

Vision

The Dialups created a profile on Gigstarter.  Reaction was slow at first.  But the venue owners of some of their regular gigs started adding nice reviews, and suddenly they were receiving more invites to play.  To their surprise, they also started being contacted to perform at private events, something they never would have imagined at this stage.

Insights

Artists would rather focus on their music than on promotion.

Artists would like a central place online where they can gain exposure, build credibility and be matched with parties interested to hire them.

Model

Gigstarter offers a catalog of artists who can perform at live events.

Artists create profiles with information, music samples and an optional video.

Parties and venues needing bands for gigs can search, browse and filter artists.

Artists can be contacted directly for gigs.

Hiring parties are encouraged to leave reviews and ratings of artists.

Specific Stories

Weekly Music Night - Soulful

Situation

Faust is the assistant manager at a coffee house called Soulful.  On Thursday each week Soulful hosts a live music night, Damn Beat, with performances from local Artists.  To keep it fresh, Faust mixes recurring artists with new artists each week.

Faust loves Gigstarter as a way to find candidate artists for Damn Beat.  He has built up a list of favorites through periodically browsing the catalog of artists.  Faust doesn’t use the filters much because he has FOMO and likes to check out every artist.  Faust gets a little frustrated that he can not also dislike bands that are not appropriate for Damn Beat, either because they don’t suit the event, or because he tried them already and it didn’t go well.  Also, each time Faust browses, he sees the same list in the same order.  It is fair bit of work each time to wade through all the offerings to find Artists that he hasn’t considered, because they are mixed in with those he has already decided on previously.  And Faust has a tough time remembering who played recently.  All this is exacerbated if he is interrupted and has to return to the task later, trying to remember where he was in the search and what was left to be looked at.

Vision

Faust is super happy this week and is telling his friend Mephisto about Gistarters’ new simple but handy feature to browse Artists in a random order.   Through some math magic that Faust doesn’t quite understand, Gigstarter uses his likes and dislikes to favor presenting liked or new candidates.  Also there is a “snooze” option to say not for now about an Artist, in case they just played or aren’t right for a certain night.  But definitely keep them in mind for next time.  If Faust takes a break and comes back later, he can continue the semi-random browsing without having “lost his place”.  Now it is less mental work and even a bit fun to look at the artists for each week.

Insights

Likes alone are not sufficient to capture a person’s preferences.  Annoying and inefficient to see in perpetuity Artists that one dislikes.

Processing a large list that is always in the same sequence is tedious.  No reason one would want to consider the same items first each time just because they happen to be on the top of the list.  Remembering one’s place in the list when returning to after a break is extra work.  Don’t really need to consider the whole list every time if goal is just to find a suitable selection for this time.

Considering items in a randomized order

  • doesn’t arbitrarily place some items always first
  • can be continued after break without losing one’s place (no need to remember)
  • will statistically cover the entire list over time
  • can be priority weighted to favor likely choices while not completely excluding less likely options
  • is a more game-like and delightful discovery process

Model

User can elect to browse Artists in a random order weighted by likes/dislikes. Liked artsts are shown frequently. Disliked artists seldomly. Unrated artists shown moderately frequently.

Can “snooze” an Artist for temporary removal from consideration. Can indicate a duration for the snooze to be in effect, after which the Artist returns to normal consideration.

Standard Filters such as Genre and Price can be applied to remove Artists from consideration, or to reduce their likelihood.

Product Launch Party - Anna

Situation

Anna, the office manager at TaskBunny, has been tasked with arranging a musical performance at their Launch Event for a new product, Watership Up.  Anna has fairly diverse musical tastes, so is a good candidate to select an Artist that will match the forward thinking but grounded spirit of the company and the excitement that Watership Up will take TaskBunny to new markets and higher levels of success.

Anna has used Gigstarter once before, and found a nice band for her best friend Emily’s Birthday.   Because of her good experience, she goes first to Gigstarter for the Launch Event.   She had made a list of Likes previously for the Birthday, but now those are not helpful, because there is not much overlap with what is appropriate for the Launch Party.  She starts liking some new Artists, but notices that they are being added to the end of her Likes list, causing her to always have to scroll to the bottom.   Also now when looking at an Artist page, if she sees she liked it, she is not sure if it was for the Birthday or the Launch.  A bit of confusion starts to creep in, so Anna instead opens a Google Docs Spreadsheet to make a list there of Artists for the Launch.  Anna makes columns for Artist Name, Style, Price, link to the Artist page on Gigstarter and Notes about the artist’s suitability for the launch event, pros and cons.

After browsing around for a while, Anna has 10 Artists on the list.  She’s not sure if she has done a thorough coverage of all the possibilities, but is a bit tired, so decides that is enough.  She orders the rows in the spreadsheet with her best choices on the top of the list.  Anna sends the spreadsheet to a colleague, Lester and to her boss Hortense for their input.  Lester takes the time to click on all the links, adds some thoughts to the notes in the spreadsheet, and actually finds two more Artists to add to the list.  Lester moves his favorite to the top of the list, which Anna is not sure how she feel about.  Hortense also looks at the list and starts to click on the links, but the process is too cumbersome, and as a Boss she has a long list of other priorities, so she emails Anna to just go with her best choice.

Vision

For the Launch, Anna decides to try Gigstarter’s new List feature.  Was a bit confused at first, took a bit of work to understand, but she got it eventually and found it super useful.

Anna creates a List called “Watership Up Launch”.   Browses artists, adding to the list.   Makes her notes about each Artist and how they might be suitable for the Launch.  Anna shares the list with Lester and Hortense, who sign up for Gigstarter to view it.  Both listen to the list in order, which is easy, since Gigstarter can play the samples from the Artists in the list one after another.  While listening, users have the option to skip to the next sample or next Artist, or to back up, etc.  Both Lester and Hortense make some notes, and Lester adds a couple Artists and moves his choices to the top.  Even Hortense adds one band before feeling tense that she should be doing other work.

Insights

Artist‘s that suit one Gig may likely as not suit a different gig.  Not possible to have one set of likes that apply to all gigs.

Making a short List can be a helpful step in choosing an artist for a gig.

Sharing and collaborating on the list can be an important part of the selection process for a gig.

Using an general external tool like a spreadsheet to collaborate on a short list requires users to all individually invent the same solutions to a problem, and will not fully exploit possible capabilities, such as being able to easily listen to all the candidate’s samples without a lot of browser navigation.

Model

Users can create Artist Lists, with a name and notes about each artist.

Can easily play samples from an artist list, or see limited artist details, without cumbersome navigation.

Users can create Gigs.   A Gig has an associated candidate artist list.  Users can add and remove artists, make individual notes about each artist, and order the list.  Gigs can be shared among collaborators who all contribute to the selection process.

Instead of explicitly ordering a gig’s artist list, collaborators on a gig could rate artists as their choices for the Gig.  The top candidates are then dynamically updated to reflect the aggregate preferences.