Live Music’s Uber Moment: Putting Performers in Living Rooms, Backyards, and the Workplace
In 2000, the top 100 musician tours got 90% of the live music income. Their share today is a mere 44%. The more digital we get, the more real life experiences people yearn for, which is one reason why live music is alive and thriving. But there’s an interesting, surprisingly democratic twist: Though stadium tours and big mega-festivals may capture attention, they are losing ground to a swell of independent performers, who are grabbing ever-larger slices of the live music income pie. It’s no surprise: As festivals grow, they become less accessible; higher prices equal more lines. The desire to connect is winning out over the desire to be present in a large venue with thousands of fellow fans to witness a spectacle. We’ve come to live music’s Uber moment, that tipping point when music lovers turn from passive audiences to active event planners on a micro-level. New online platforms are offering more intimate, low-key live music experiences music lovers can book themselves, and at a reasonable price point. What Uber did for transport and Airbnb did for lodging, an online live performance marketplace called GigSalad is doing for live entertainment. “People are under the impression that live entertainment is expensive,” explains Mark Steiner, a former talent agent who wanted to find a better way to help performers connect with prospective gigs. “We’re watching that change, as people realize they can book a classical guitarist to add something to their next dinner party.” GigSalad gives the everyday person a chance to book their own musical or other performance experience according to their exact tastes, needs, schedule, and event. At the same time, GigSalad is creating new paid opportunities for thousands of performers. Some entertainers have lived through significant economic or career crises thanks to GigSalad. Others are making their entire living this way. “We field more than 1,500 leads a day,” says Steiner. “That means performers who once worked a few times a month are looking at gigs several times a week.” It’s a turning point in the way people listen to and enjoy music: from seats in the stadium to seats on the sofa, for a more meaningful, personalized experience. “We find that performers playing for everyday people become friends with their hosts,” says Steiner. “Sure, we are set on helping performers make more money and further their career. But what I really love to see are lives being transformed from these introductions. We connect tens of thousands of performers with hundreds of thousands of event planners of all sizes. The magic happens when people are connecting directly through their talent and passion.” While some people make the trek to Burning Man or similar festivals for transformative experiences, those who want a transformational experience with their family, with their co-workers or employers, or with a single loved one -- like while making a marriage proposal -- turn to GigSalad to find the perfect performer for the personal adventure they seek.