Gigmit – a new online portal to simplify the gig booking process

indieberlin talks to Bertrand Rothen from gigmit.com, a new online way to book, slogan:
gigmit makes live better!

Gigmit.com is a portal that aims to make booking easier both for bands and promoters, with gigs posted on the site and musicians able to create a profile and apply directly through the site. To get more info go to their site and check it out. It’s a cool idea and they’re doing it well.

ib: When and why was gigmit formed?

gigmit: Marcus Rüssel, who came up with the idea, studied and worked in the field of culture and event management, so he’s worked with bands and clubs and he saw a lack of a tool to facilitate the booking process. Everything now with promotion and so on is technologybased, and why can’t booking be too? So he founded “Get A Gig GmbH”. That was about a year ago, with the first anniversary party having been held last Friday, on May 0th.

After over half a year, the portal gigmit.com was launched. It’s still in beta, it’s still busy being developed, but it’s up and running since November. The basic idea is as a portal for live music professionals musicians
and promoters, “to make live better”. The portal offers, for promoters and live musicians – you can sign up as both – to streamline their booking efforts. The promoters can receive offers that are relevant to their gig –
so you don’t have reggae bands signing up for heavy metal gigs for example – and that if for
example the band is too expensive they’re omitted from the selection by default – just to cut out
the noise.

And musicians can find gigs that are suitable for them, and can apply in a matter of
minutes or even seconds – so both sides can reduce their time burn and have more clarity on
the booking process. There’s also the matter of having a legal backup, so that if something is
booked through gigmit, a legal contract is automatically created which adds to the value of the
portal.

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So we don’t just look for promoters but also musicians. When we talk to promoters we address what they’re looking for, what bothers them about how they’re running things. So we approach people using different media channels in different ways. We’ll talk to a club and ask them how they’re doing it, if they’re booking for themselves or not and so on.´

ib: What about pricing: How do you make your money?

gigmit: There are two aspects to that: gigmit is free for musicians for
promoters, there is a small commission fee – which at 8% is well below what agencies ask, which is roughly 20%. That’s one strategy of financing the portal, the second one will be the offer of some premium
services, which are being developed at the moment. But the basic membership is planned to
remain free and promoters will pay a commission fee only if they successfully book a band.

ib: How has the response been so far?

gigmit: It’s been good. The site has been up and running for only five months right now but we have at the moment over a thousand musicians and 200 promoters. The number of available gigs always fluctuates of course but all I can say right now is that there are a number of gigs always available and gigs are being booked right now. 

ib: What do you think of the Berlin music scene?

gigmit: I’ve been living and playing in Berlin for around ten years – I play drums – Berlin as a music scene has advantages and disadvantages – it’s very vibrant, there’s a lot going on here, there’s a lot of interesting acts, Berlin has a great club scene – it’s vast, the amount of clubs – with Berlin the difficulty is essentially standing out from the noise because Berlin is a huge city and I think that the big problem is to get people hyped about something – and that’s the main challenge. To stand out.

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ib: What advice would you give to young bands?

gigmit: As a musician myself, in general: Try to stand out. Try to do something that feels right for you but at the same time…take the path less travelled. Spend a lot of time in the practice room. If you suck and don’t practise, you’ll always suck. And be proud of what you do. Tell people about it. Don’t annoy them, but do tell them.
And lose the veil of starting a band and becoming a rock star – it’s 0.01% of bands that get really big, consider it as something that you do for fun – you should definitely invest a lot of time and heart into it, but don’t be too much out of touch with what your scope is, stay real.

And also: Even if you’re a band that plays retro stuff, don’t be afraid of technology. Always stay in
touch with new technology, be open to new ideas. Discern between trends and progress.

ib: Is selfbooking an ultimate goal or should it be seen as a step towards getting an agency to book you?

gigmit: To me that’s the same question as whether you should distribute your own music or go with a label: Basically I would say, if you have enough traction nowadays, don’t bother with a label, do it yourself the
tools are out there! Of course, small acts may struggle if you’re Radiohead, you can sell and promote your own music because everybody knows you, but if you’re a small band it’s different. In the past though, it would be impossible for small bands to have their own CDs produced, distributed and sold commercially, or to get in touch with bigger promoters without the backing of an agency but nowadays, if you have enough traction on
YouTube, Facebook, Google etc., you can get in touch with anyone, and most of those tools are free or operable at very low cost. 

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Although I believe selfbooking to already be prevalent in the field of live music, a lot of acts are suffering from lack of infrastructure: booking a specific date can be strenuous to impossible, and when negotiating conditions, a lot of things usually remain undiscussed which can lead to minor issues like discomfort (stage too small, insufficient accommodation), and even major problems, like too little (or no) compensation, and damage charges/claims it can get really messy. And that is where gigmit steps in to provide acts with the possibility to book with an infrastructure that used to be accessible to agencies only.

But although I believe that selfbooking will become the standard method for many smaller acts – my band does that too – I think that agencies will always remain existent and relevant. Agencies can serve as a trusted brand or a trendsetter, and we are in fact also working with agencies to help them use gigmit to their advantage and focus on their creative rather than their administrative work.

Noel Maurice talked to Bertrand Rothen of gigmit.com

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