Gigmit is a live music professionals’ portal for easy event and booking management. It’s an on-demand software with plenty of useful features that connect musicians, promoters, bookers and agencies to make their work easier and more fun.
For the interview, we had Marcus Fitzgerald, the CEO and founder of Gigmit, who founded the platform in 2012. He has developed his career as a concert and festival promoter and a consultant for musicians. He is deeply passionate about live music and is connected with a wide range of bands, DJs and international agencies and promoters.
Komal: Please tell us something about yourself and your company Gigmit .
Marcus: I’m Marcus Fitzgerald. I’m the CEO and founder of Gigmit. Gigmit is an online platform that connects artists, performing artists or bands and DJs with festivals and clubs and all sorts of stages. We started off in Europe and have been growing internationally now with over 160,000 users already, which is pretty exciting.
We aim to help artists all around the world to get on stage and help festivals and clubs all around the world to find the right artists for their events.
Komal: What was the inspiration behind starting Gigmit? Were you in the music industry before as well, in your career?
Marcus: I have been working as a promoter for over 15 years before starting Gigmit, so I’m just kind of an industry person. I was in touch with the artists a lot. I did my own events in clubs and organized my own festival. So, I had a lot of different touch points to artists and event organizers. During those 15 years, I felt that there is a huge problem in finding each other or getting connected and booked in a smart and structured way. And on the other hand, I’ve seen a lot of digital platforms and companies popping up and solving certain problems in different industries. So, I tried to connect the dots and use my knowledge from the music industry. The problem that I found there too was that it’s really difficult to find each other and get in touch with artists. I decided to provide a digital solution. It was maybe a little bit early at the time I started, but now I see that it’s very much needed and is going great.
Komal: Since the day you launched Gigmit, what has your growth trajectory been like?
Marcus: We had a very flat kind of first three years, which was really early stage, because the live industry is a very late adopter. So, they are very late when it comes to technology.
It’s probably similar in real estate, where you have a lot of manual processes and kind of old school business. On the other hand, it’s a very successful industry. So, there was not much of a need of why should I change my business because I’m very successful already. That was the behavior, the mindset of people in the music industry as well. So, it was really tough in the initial years to reach enough traction, enough users. But after three years, it became more clear to everyone that digital platforms are the future.
That was the time when a lot of live event organizers started to invest more money into digital marketing and so on. That was our chance and we started to grow faster from that point on and in the last three years, we’ve been kind of nearly doubling our revenues every year. It’s also going well and quite fast and we aim to reach more than a quarter of a million users by the end of the year.
Komal: You have a pretty unique way of connecting the artists to the promoters and vice versa. How do you charge for your services?
Marcus: We have two business models. It’s very similar to LinkedIn. We do have a freemium model that means everybody can register for free. Instead of charging through the most obvious business model that probably would be charging a rate from a transaction, we don’t do that. We decided not to do that because we work a lot with emerging artists, like artists that are still small and upcoming and maybe medium-sized artists as well. In that business, there’s not a lot of money. We didn’t want to take money out of their pockets. We did want to ensure that most of the budget from events goes directly to the artists, so they get a hundred percent of those fees and we don’t have any shares on that.
But we do have a pro model that you can upgrade to. Gigmit pro costs 19 euros per month. It’s an annual subscription, but you pay it per month because we wanted to make it accessible and affordable so that you have a tiny amount of money that you pay on a monthly basis.
With the pro, you get more insights and business intelligence in order to increase your bookings. Apart from that, we do work with brands and advertisers, mainly in the music ecosystem and consumer electronic products like Sennheiser, Yamaha and others. We have a lot of projects where the brand does something that’s very valuable for the artists, and we connect the artists with those brands as well. So that is our second business model.
Komal: On the Gigmit platform, what are the key features that attract the artists and promoters?
Marcus: That definitely shifted a little bit from the start till today. First of all, we created an artist page that is optimized through a lot of interviews. An artist gets an artist page that is hundred percent optimized for live events or performing events. They can just structure everything in one page. It’s like a business card for the artist. They can connect that page to Facebook, Spotify and YouTube as well.
We also built models around where we used this data and recommend it to the event organizers. They can filter it by fans and listeners and find artists that are popular and that ultimately will help you have successful events.
Komal: What feedback do you get from the artists like, in terms of increasing their popularity or revenues?
Marcus: We have a mixed feedback because of the industry ecosystem. You send out let’s say, 2000 emails as an artist to 2000 different festivals and venues that you collected manually. You may get 10 responses and out of those 10 responses, you get nine declining your email/proposal and one accepting. One has to be very active. At Gigmit, we have thousands of promoters and festivals which we researched on a global level on behalf of those artists. So, you just need to log in and you have access to all of those, but you still have to be active to reach out to them.
We got very positive feedback from artists who have an initial fan base, who have already played some shows before and they are very active on Gigmit. So they are getting more and more shows and they come back to us and say, it’s fantastic. For those artists who do not have a big fanbase, we try to support them, educate them.
Komal: Is this an automatic matching process or do the artists have to look for promoters on the platform?
Marcus: It used to be only manual and it will be automated. That’s also why we are asking the artists to be active and to reach out to the promoters. In the future, we will build more features where the technology itself does it.
Komal: In the context of quality, user experience and functionality, how confident are you about your product, that is your online platform and how well can it sustain future scaling?.
Marcus: I am very confident. If you work on your own product and within your own ecosystem, you see all the little things that you want to optimize. So, there’s definitely room for optimizing our product. I’m not saying we have to perfect a product, but on the other hand, we have built something remarkable. Our community is growing and growing in the live ecosystem, which is a very difficult ecosystem to build your business in.
There’s definitely a lot of companies working in this area, but you don’t have such big communities behind them. We have such a big user base that helps us in developing our service. Our positioning is very good.
Komal: What is the competitive landscape of Gigmit in Europe and in the US? Are there any other competitors that are providing similar kinds of services?
Marcus: There are services out there. I wouldn’t say that there’s a direct competitor that does exactly the same. Some services did have the same idea, but had a different solution back in the days, and they are now transforming as well, in different ways. Some have very niche and very specialized products. For example, in Britain, there’s one competitor specializing only in classical music for corporate events.
We are broader and we are focusing on this whole live ecosystem. So, it’s really difficult to identify a direct competitor. We have a very unique approach, especially looking at data like YouTube numbers, Facebook numbers. This is very important.
Komal: You must have many success stories. What are your top three favorite success stories from Gigmit?
Marcus: There’s definitely one that is great, that we managed to work with festivals that I also personally am very attached to. The Liverpool sound city festival in Liverpool, the town of the Beatles and we started working with them very early. That was kind of the beginning of this whole time frame. We worked with the festival in Budapest which is one of the biggest festivals in Europe. The third success story I’d say is building this brand because we now work with nearly all the big names that you know in the industry. Like I mentioned earlier – Sennheiser, Yamaha, JBL. All of those companies work with us and we built it in about two years.
Komal: Gigmit is already a global platform, but still do you see yourself expanding further in the coming years? And if yes, are you looking for funding for the same?
Marcus: Yeah, we are solving a global problem and want to be available on a global level. We are at the moment already international, but we are most active in Europe.
We do have a very growing community in the U.S. and users from all over the world. And we definitely want to build it up to a level that in all countries we have good coverage. We do need funding for that. We can’t do it just on our organic growth. So, we are constantly raising funds at the moment we do fundraising as well. I’m actually in talks with investors and we have a public crowd investment. This is only available in Germany since we are a German based company. We already raised in this internal crowdfunding, a half a million dollars funding.
Komal: Would you consider collaborating with businesses from other countries to breach into other markets?
Marcus: We are very open for collaborations. I’m also constantly in touch with people reaching out to me and saying, okay, can we collaborate? Can we help you to build your business in another country?
Habits in other countries are different, business metrics are different. So it’s definitely good to have people who know the local markets. But I also believe that it’s very powerful if you build it in your own core market, around the headquarters and then go into new territory.
So. it’s probably a bit of both. If I look at other successful music tech companies, they usually have a strong headquarters, with a big team to build the product. And then they have local offices to help in localizing the product. I believe this is something we will do in the future. And of course, if there’s a company that can support us with that, I’m more than open.
Komal: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted so many industries, and the entertainment industry is definitely one of them. How has it affected the music industry as a whole and your business, and how has your team responded to this disruption?
Marcus: That was really tough in the beginning. We are not like maybe Twitch or zoom. These are the companies who definitely increased their business due to a global pandemic. But we are not like that. A lot of event organizers who use our service had to stop using it, because it was difficult to keep events. But still, within two weeks, me and my team were brainstorming, what can we do to deliver value to our community? What can we do to constantly deliver this value for our artists in the future?
We found out about festivals or platforms who are looking for artists online for their performances, for radio stations, everything. And we managed to really get hundreds of those organizers and platforms on our platform. We made like over 5,000 events last year, virtual events, and there were some really great examples. We had a festival in New York, showcase from the Philippines and from other territories that never would have played there because they couldn’t afford the flights to go to such a festival. We can bring in artists from very exotic places or very far away places, and that worked fantastically.
When live events come back, we have both digital and physical events to offer for our community and we are really happy about it and looking forward to continuing with future events.
Komal: What’s in the pipeline for Gigmit?
Marcus: We are working on optimizing our whole user experience flows. So, we started off as a desktop product, but of course everybody has been using mobile phones for years, but the live industry was a little bit late with that. So, we jumped late into the mobile game. There will be more possibilities. And there’s one part that I’m really excited about, and that is analyzing the data. It is very important for our company in the future. We will dive in deeper in analyzing, what does it mean to have a certain number of fans? What does it mean to have a certain number of listeners? How does it translate into ticket sales? How does it translate into event attendance? How many people can potentially come to my event if I would bring that artist to my city? These are the questions we would like to answer.
There is data available, but nobody really takes that and publishes it. So that is very important for us to work on and to give the promoters certain guidance on how successful an event can be in the future.
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