The new way to do Show Business

The music industry is a brutal, competitive place. It exists to make money for shareholders. Quantity is the thing, often at the cost of quality. Money is made to the detriment of talent. Those who do get a record deal often end up with more financial pressure, not less – and still no guarantee of real success.

The sheer number of acts clamouring for attention means that even the best get lost in the noise of social media and advertising. For every act that does finally make it, there are many, many thousands who don’t. And yet many of these other artistes – amateur, local, unsigned, call them what you will – are highly talented, highly motivated and, well, pretty much as good as the signed ones.

How has this industry survived with such a bizarre, twisted business model? An industry that doesn’t even have its own interests at heart, only that of shareholders.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

BandShell is a new way for unsigned artists to achieve success in a fairer version of the music industry. Artists will be promoted in a simple, effective format that opens doors and provides revenue. That revenue is then distributed fairly, and in fair amounts. The artists fulfil their dreams through a model that is achievable, and affordable.

BandShell is run by the makers and doers, not corporate shareholders and venture capitalists. Our members are like-minded individuals who love the local music scene and want to see those who make it, and make it happen, be successful.

As well as being grounded in the local music scene, we see business driven from the grassroots up, not the other way round. Our focus is on putting unsigned performers in front of the people who want to see them, in venues who want to host them, selling tickets and merchandise that people want to buy, for reasonable prices.

So what are we going to do about it?

When you think about it, it is ridiculously difficult for an unknown band to find a small venue to play. The only way is to actually visit, try to track down the ‘venue manager’, and then spend the next 30 minutes realising they don’t actually see it as their job to promote your show – or, in many cases, even their advertised live music nights. The result is that for pubs and venues all over the country, if they have live music, it’s next to impossible to find out who is playing on any given night.

So at the heart of BandShell will be a database of local venues and bands which will makes it easier for them to find each other, and make it easier for the fans to find out as well. The venue listing database that will include the contact details for the venue manager / booking agent for each as well as technical details.

This will allow bands to start to build up a following, and, just as important, encourage more pubs and clubs to host live acts, not just because it will be easier to find the bands to play, but because every band will encourage more people through the doors. More foot-fall, more revenue for the venue.

But that is not where we are starting…

But bands need to make money, and not every venue will pay for them to play, so we need a revenue stream for the bands as well. So this is where we are starting. We are already providing a merchandising service for our bands. We have started with T-shirts and hoodies, that are printed on demand, and shipped direct to the fan. All the band needs to do is to display a QR-Code that we provide that takes the fans direct to the band’s own shop on our system. The profit is evenly split between the band, the printer and BandShell®.

As we grow we will add more products to the system, and every band can have multiple designs at no cost to themselves. No van full of swag, no trying to deal with change or card machines. No trying to set up a stand.

So how do I become a member?

Membership is currently only by invitation. While we don’t actually want to say “Don’t call us we’ll call you” out loud, we have to for now. Once we are more established there will a membership committee that will manage the professional application process, as well as a free membership tier that will open to all.