Berlin-based start-up Gigmit connects musicians and concert organisers through an online platform, hoping to revolutionise the market.
► Marcus Rüssel created Gigmit in 2012 to facilitate exchanges between musicians and promoters. Sony recently invested six figures in the German site, which has a database of 40,000 musicians and 3,000 event organisers.
TECHNOLOGIST How did you come up with the idea?
MARCUS RÜSSEL I worked as a concert organiser for 15 years. Every day I would receive MP3 and video files from artists, and I spent a lot of time going through all the material. I was also contacted often by festival organisers who asked me to give them music recommendations, which was also very time-consuming. So, I decided to launch an online platform to simplify the process.
TECHNOLOGIST For musicians, what are the advantages of using Gigmit?
MARCUS RÜSSEL Before, when a band wanted to play a show, it had to check if venues were available, find the promoter’s contact information, and then wait – sometimes in vain – for an answer. With Gigmit, all this information can be found in one place.
TECHNOLOGIST And for promoters?
MARCUS RÜSSEL We have the biggest pool of talent in Europe, which is a valuable resource for concert promoters. We’ve simplified the process of hiring musicians. We provide examples of contracts and payment terms – a percentage of ticket sales, or a flat fee, or a bit of both, for example. The entire transaction takes less than three minutes.
TECHNOLOGIST What kinds of musicians use your site?
MARCUS RÜSSEL Our main markets are Germany and the UK, which alone make up 80% of our musicians. We focus on up and coming bands and small venues.
TECHNOLOGIST How do you generate revenue?
MARCUS RÜSSEL Musicians can choose between several subscription plans that range from €9 to €159 per month to access our platform. The premium subscription comes with an agent that puts musicians in touch with promoters and handles their schedule.
TECHNOLOGIST Album sales are falling dramatically and income from streaming services isn’t sufficient. How has this changed the live music industry?
MARCUS RÜSSEL Concerts now make up 80% to 90% of a musician’s income. This means that there are more musicians, which has created competition on the live circuit, and musicians need to do more to stand out. Some bands will do a first tour with as many dates as they can, even for free, just to gain exposure. Then they’ll go on a second tour with the goal of generating revenue.
Interview by Julie Zaugg