Straight from the 2016 MidemLab startups contest winners’ podium, Stagelink is a Berlin-based startup that offers a tour-building platform for musicians, based on crowdfunding.
It’s a direct rival to Bandsquare, which we also recently covered in our Sandbox digital music marketing report.
Both have their unique selling points nailed down, but a direct comparison between them gives some interesting insights into the power of fanbases and how they can be harnessed in this sector of the industry.
Stagelink’s CEO and founder Nikolas Schriefer started out as a jazz musician studying in New York, eventually gravitating towards the business side by managing artists and tours.
Realising how complicated the tour-planning process can be, he set out to develop a tool to simplify the process, building the first edition of what would become Stagelink – an artist booking platform.
“We had a couple of hundred signups within the first few weeks, but it still didn’t solve the problem,” he says.
“Venues would say, ‘We like the artists, but how do we know how many people will actually show up? How much money will we make in the end?’.”
Gigs are an investment for venues. Without a guaranteed fanbase, they’re looking at losing money and, if anything’s changed throughout the onset of digital, it’s the technology to monitor, analyse and engage with an audience.
Enter the final, polished up version of Stagelink: a demand-enabling platform to assess attention as well as harness and monetise it.
As with Bandsquare, there are three main components. Research is undertaken by collecting votes from fans to map demand and potential revenue globally before fan-based data is used to promote tours and ticket sales – as opposed to just collecting it (as the term ‘analytics’ sometimes suggests).
Finally, their fully functioning mobile ticketing system brings a tour to life. In a sea of Ticketmaster-affiliated tour planning tools, the integrated ticketing system is a real strength for Stagelink, making for a fully functioning platform.
The company started out using Eventbrite to support ticket sales, but, as Schriefer says, “There are a lot of analytics platforms doing the first thing, which is working out what people want. Then there are people doing the second thing and so on before the end product is sold elsewhere. There never seems to be anyone doing the steps in between.”
This allows users to access the platform free of charge, with Stagelink taking a 15% cut of ticket sales. This is far above the 2.5% commission taken by Ticketmaster. While Bandsquare’s subscriptions start out very cheap (€19 per month), there’s still something to be said for the security of locking down your audience before any money is exchanged.
Stagelink is also part of the Marathon Labs startups accelerator. Read our interview with Marathon’s Jimmy Mikaoui about that initiative.