Last Sunday, I DJ’d to open the night for a very talented young one-man-band cat named Mobley. On top of his energy, multi-instrumentalism and “post-genre pop” songs, Mobley also had a hustler’s work ethic, bringing along his own light show and synced visuals to accompany his one-man show. As part of having his stuff together, he also introduced the audience to an app/service that I hadn’t come across before: GigTown.
This new-ish app basically works as a connector between bookers and artists/DJs and between artists and fans. An artist or DJ creates an account and a profile page, through which they can then submit themselves to be considered for show opportunities on the site, or through which a booker (including one-off party and event throwers) can contact that artist. GigTown claims that artists have secured more than $500,000 in paid bookings through the app since 2015.
The system works in a straightforward way, but there’s an extra twist to GigTown that particularly perked up my ears when I heard it. Between songs, Mobley addressed the crowd that if they checked in at the show through the GigTown app (iOS or Android), they would pay him for every check-in. Naturally I complied, and then looked into this auspicious benefit later.
According to its website, GigTown can currently afford to pay artists in this manner because this “tipping” system represents the entire marketing budget for the company. They figured that since they would be spending some money on marketing anyway, this artist tipping gets the word out about GigTown while support the musicians and performers we all love.
As an artist looking to cash in on this, you will need a GigTown profile, but you don’t need to have booked your show through GigTown to receive tips. Just ask your peeps to check in at your show through the app, and you’ll get $1 per check-in. Plus, if the person downloads the app for the first time and checks in, you’ll receive up to $10 for that person. Accumulated tips are said to be deposited to your PayPal account every Monday. You may also have your music added to the rotation of GigTown Radio’s commercial-free local music live streams.
You may be thinking: “that’s awesome, but can they afford to do that forever?” Probably not. If this system really takes off, logic says that it will eventually exceed the marketing budget that GigTown’s funding allows. And if is that successful, it would have fulfilled GigTown’s original purpose of spreading awareness and usage of the service.
So the point is that you probably want to get in on this soon to take advantage of it. But regardless of how long this lasts, it’s an undeniably cool win-win situation, and it’s nice to see the companies that are trying to innovate in the music industry to actively look for a new way to spread some wealth to the most important cog in the machine, the musicians.
Imagine getting paid for asking kids to do what they’re already doing at your shows: playing with their smartphones.