SoHo startup GigFinesse seeks to modernize the live music industry
GigFinesse, his 30-person SoHo-based startup, handles programming, sets ticket prices and pays artists directly. An act can pocket 100% of the revenue, for example, after reaching a certain minimum in sales, such as 30 tickets. This allows its 100 partner clubs, ranging from underground clubs in the city to rural barbecues in Texas, to focus on customer hospitality.
But that’s where the service gets interesting: GigFinesse also uses artificial intelligence to help schedule shows, an algorithm that matches clubs and artists. Drawing on the pool of 5,000 curated acts who have so far joined the platform, the startup’s recommendation engine considers each artist’s music along with metrics such as their average circulation and how many fans of performer typically spend at the bar — stats that GigFinesse tracks for every performance.
“Data makes the whole booking process much more efficient,” says Hwang. “It’s no longer a guessing game of ‘Hmm, this artist looks really cool, or has a ton of streams, let’s book them’ — and then the show ends up not doing so well.”
But the startup, which recently raised $3.6 million in seed funding and booked more than 3,500 shows last year, also uses the human touch – seasoned “tasters” who know the local music scene and rely on their own knowledge and experience to refine and develop the digital recommendations.
Jackson Lardner, lead singer of the city-based band Stolen Gin, said his dance-pop-jam band joined the platform just as the pandemic was waning, and played its first GigFinesse show in July 2021. .
“It went really well,” he said. “We were amazed that the ticket deal we got paid very well compared to other concerts we had done.”
Rather than spending hours trying to schedule shows with bookers at clubs around town, the band relied on GigFinesse to deliver opportunities in new venues. With increasing visibility, the band grew from playing for audiences of dozens to hundreds of fans.
“We kept making money better and better and playing in all different types of places,” Lardner said.