Guest Blog: Headliner

Posted 2 May 2016 in Musician's Toolkit (comments)

What’s every musicians’ dream? To headline Glastonbury or maybe sell out the O2? Sure, that would be nice. In fact it would be amazing. But for most musicians the most important dream is to be able to make a sustainable living from doing what we love.

That’s why many musicians work in function bands, play gigs at private and corporate parties, hotels and cruise ships and so on. It’s a way to work as a professional musician and earn decent money. Finding and booking these gigs can still be a minefield and be time consuming. That’s one of the things Headliner is trying to improve. We’re a new marketplace for discovering and booking musicians for any type of event, and we’re using smart technology to make this happen.

Playing in a function band or doing cover sets at private gigs comes with many benefits. First of all, the circuit includes highly talented professional musicians from all genres and backgrounds. We like to stress this point as people who have never worked within this part of the music industry often assume the exact opposite, making them hesitant to try it out. In fact, you will probably come across some of the most talented musicians in the world. The bassist you see playing at a London Fashion Week after show might just have come back from touring with Sam Smith! This makes the world of function music amazing for networking.

From paid gigs to networking and having a job that lets you hone your musicianship, function work offers a sweet deal. But it can be competitive and in addition the power-balance is skewed in favour of agencies that often charge extortionate fees. Many agencies add between 50% and 100% on top of their artist’s fees. This can make the price for a particular artist look expensive, and the agency will ask them to lower their rate. There are some good agencies out there who care about their artists, but way too often this is not the case and the fees they charge are inflated far above the value of the service they offer. The Headliner platform is built so that you or your team can manage your bookings from start to end without needing an agency. Our 20% service fee, which is added on top of your fee, is paid by the booker. This way you can offer a fair price, whilst earning a proper wage.

Anyone booking through Headliner pays a 50% deposit to secure an artist. This means that even if the event gets cancelled and you don’t have time to get another gig, you won’t be left empty handed. Unfortunately many artists have experienced being underpaid (or not paid at all), which is something we wanted to change. Payment is made in full before the event through our platform, negating the issue of the occasional client disappearing act. Any communication through the platform also builds a paper trail, which means we can help in the case of a dispute.

Although our CTO Rosario could compile a list of features and functions longer than her arm, we’ll leave you to explore on your own. Bottom line is that, like Meet & Jam, we are building a strong community of musicians, and we want to help you further your career by giving you resources across the board: from discounts on transport or business cards to educational e-books, seminars and an end to end booking management tool. We have only scratched the surface of how we can help musicians earn a good living. But what we do know is that the private and corporate events space has a lot to offer, and it’s about time someone shifts the power away from agencies and back to the artists. 

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