The electronic music networking site Gigsby is essentially designed to facilitate collaboration.
The recent debut of its Momentum Charts ought to do that very thing.
Just like in most genres of music, finding business partners can be difficult. There is a lot of nosing around, a lot of vetting, occasionally a lot of guesswork. Gigsby is designed to get rid of that.
“[A Gigsby profile] shows all key elements that speaks to the professional achievements of the profile owner,” explains Baris Sarer, the site’s founder. “For an artist, it is gigs, fans, and music; for an agent and manager, it is whom they represent, which agency/label/artist management company they work for; for a promoter, it is what events they produce and which artists they book.
“You can of course try to gather this info through manual labor,” Sarer continues, “but I guarantee you that you’ll choose Gigsby’s convenience over that tedious work any day.”
Though there are aspects of Gigsby’s search functionality that need to be beefed up (a series of tasks that’s “in our backlog,” according to Sarer), the service is already great for network expansion. Gigsby’s already attracted users from 126 different countries around the world, and that’s without what Sarer characterizes as “a conscious effort.
“We are still closed to the public,” Sarer says of his service, which is in private beta.
But the charts, which leverage data from users’ Last.fm, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, and YouTube accounts, is the real cherry on top of Gigsby. I had a brief exchange of e-mails with Sarer about the launch of his charts service, and here’s what happened.
I love the idea of integrating charts into a network- and collaboration-building site. Is the idea to reward and recognize people who have started to build up some momentum?
With charts - or “reports” as we call them - we are giving the A&R people, promoters, agents, or simply anybody scouting for talent a reliable tool to identify breakthrough artists. The discovery then leads to connections which also take place within the Gigsby professional network.
Let me explain how it works in real life with an agency example: the agent notices this Italian electro duo who is on a tear in Europe, checks out their Gigsby profile to find out more about them, and then reaches out to them with an offer to represent them in the US.
Where do you get this data from? Next Big Sound? Big Champagne? Did you build a tracking system yourselves?
We built it ourselves. No doubt those companies are doing an admirable job, but we think too much data can kill you. We are a little more selective in the data we collect and the way we present it. Plus, as a network, we also have native data generated within the network that we will start putting into use.
You’re still in private beta. Is there a timeline in place for becoming more public, or are you maybe in more of a Topspin kind of a place where you’re waiting to accumulate enough success stories and enough positive feedback before you open the doors to the general public?
We are bootstrapping (no VC/angel backing) and are not in a hurry. Building a professional network is a painfully slow process and we want to do it the right way. For example, LinkedIn was up and running even before Myspace, Facebook or Twitter, and it took them almost five years to really take off. That, of course, does not mean to say that we will wait that long before we open doors. Right now, it looks like it may happen in the April-June timeframe. So we are almost there!
Tell me more about one of Gigsby’s other significant features, the Collaboration button. This allows users to see who fellow users have worked with before, but the button itself is kind of limited – it doesn’t explain what kind of collaboration (production, event, etc) you’re interested in when you send those notifications to somebody. What kinds of things can you do with respect to collaboration inside Gigsby? Can you swap tracks? Can you jointly message each others followers?
The “collaboration” idea is actually fairly simple: You can follow anybody you’d like, but collaboration requires a two-way handshake. Like a friendship on Facebook, it needs to be mutually acknowledged. It really does not point at things that the two parties will do together down the road – swapping tracks, jointly producing tracks or events, et cetera – but it “announces” that these two people are connected – they know and trust each other. This is very fundamental to the system we set out to create. Let’s say you are an agent and you get this booking request from John Doe – who is this person? Should you take him seriously? The best way to figure out is to look at whom he “collaborated with” before, what events he produced.