Muzeek is a music tech startup headquartered in Australia that provides a platform for managing the gig booking process for all involved from artists to venues. Launched back in February, Muzeek recently completed an undisclosed seed investment round with The Sydney Angels and was also recognized for growth momentum by business data company SIGNL. I spoke yesterday with Founder and Creative Director Danny Fiorentini about their first year in business.
I previously wrote about Muzeek back in May as a platform designed to handle all elements of the booking process from basic artist and venue profiles to contact and communication and even to final payment.
Muzeek is free for all involved with the only charge for the booker at 8% of the accepted booking. Though Muzeek is organized around a dashboard, booking and contact buttons are supported for websites and blogs. For exmaple, when clicking "Book" on an artist's site a popup form allows one to sign in and booking can begin on the spot.
Disrupting the Process Rather Than the People
Unlike many tech startups and even many startups in the music tech space, Muzeek is not attempting to disrupt the roles of those currently doing the booking so much as the process. While some artists may want to use Muzeek to support DIY efforts, the overall idea is simply to make everyone's jobs easier.
In that sense, Muzeek is disrupting the booking process, one often conducted by email with artists not always knowing who to contact and bookers often requiring different approaches to contact and application. The current process is overly complicated and Fiorentini explained that instead of designing around that process and keeping such elements as email firmly in place, they replaced it with the Muzeek platform.
My assumption is that all booking platforms are seeking to streamline the process in one way or another but, rather than focus on the product details or competition, we focused more on the overall trajectory of Muzeek including recent landmarks.
Landmarks: Seed Funding and Momentum Award
The most striking landmark is that of seed funding from Sydney Angels at a company valuation of around $2 million.
Danny Fiorentini, who's from the States, says that finalizing funding took at least 6 months partly because his visa status needed to be resolved. Fiorentini initially moved to Sydney to attend grad school and has settled in for the duration as they build Muzeek.
On an important sidenote, Fiorentini is also founder of Outbox Records and they use Muzeek as a tool for their bands' bookings.
Another landmark was a Momentum Award from SIGNL, a company that tracks business data for a broad range of businesses and then ranks them by industry.
At this point Muzeek has around 3000 users with ongoing daily signups. About 15% to 20% are venues and bookers. Overall about half the users are Australian with the other half split between Europe and North America.
Focusing More Attention on Venues and Bookers
Fiorentini said they initially focused on artist recruitment but have found that easier than expected with venues and bookers needing additional outreach and education. So their emphasis has shifted to building more features for those booking shows because making things easier for venues and bookers increases their involvement and makes it a better platform for artists as well.
Fiorentini described the process of shifting focus from artists to bookers as one that also involved remembering that those who book shows are likely the most overwhelmed by the chaos of the current process.
Getting the attention of those booking shows has required lots of one-to-one communication and product demos to get folks started. However, in some cases, venues have dropped their former approach and moved their booking management entirely to Muzeek which is the ultimate goal.
Fiorentini says that some folks involved in the booking process initially viewed Muzeek as a competitor so clarifying that they were simply improving the process rather than disrupting specific roles was needed as part of Muzeek's outreach.
Fiorentini's also been attending music conferences, letting people know about Muzeek and seeking feedback. Muzeek hasn't been advertising and has focused on personal outreach and word of mouth. He wants to continue improving Muzeek and feels that such efforts will result in better word of mouth though they are also hoping for more industry attention in 2014.
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- BandWagon Eases Pain Of Booking Gigs For Promoters & Bands
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is building a writing hub at Flux Research. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.