Sydney-based start-up Soundbooka is aiming for 1,000 bookings per week, as it seeks to make its voice heard in the music scene.
Soundbooka, led by Bondi businessman Christopher Blann, is an integrated booking platform for musicians, DJs and audio professionals.
The platform acts as a personal online booking agent, and allows artists and their managers greater exposure and control over their gigs.
“There is nothing connecting employable musicians, DJs and audio professionals with the wide network of people and organisations who need them, such as record labels,” Blann says.
“Soundbooka exists to meet this demand.”
Blann talks to StartupSmart about making waves in the music industry.
What inspired the idea for Soundbooka – what niche did you identify?
Socially, I’ve always been surrounded by musicians and I’m constantly hearing about how hard it can be for them to find work.
On the flipside, I also began to hear from venue managers and event organisers that it’s a real struggle to find new quality talent.
Putting two and two together, I identified that there was a real opportunity to meet the demands of both sides. It seemed to be a simple solution and, to be honest, I’m surprised it did not exist already.
How long did you work on the business before you launched it?
I registered Soundbooka in February 2011, so there has been a year of research and development.
How did you fund the business and what were your start-up costs?
Our main costs in starting-up Soundbooka have been in web-building (including SEO and design) as well as PR, and start-up funding has come from a silent investor.
How do you promote the business?
Having just launched the company, we are still in the first stages of promotion.
We have hired an agency to publicise Soundbooka in traditional media (targeting both musicians and event organisers) and have also begun an online communications campaign that involves blogger outreach, digital PR, social media advertising and community management.
How many staff do you have?
Two full-time, two part-time.
What are your revenue projections for 2011/12?
Since the revenue-generating aspect of the site is yet to go live, we’re unable to offer accurate projections.
Our targets, however, are set to approximately 1,000 bookings per week after the site has been live for three to four months.
What are your points of difference?
Soundbooka is the first, fully automated booking system for musicians in Australia.
It’s the only platform that allows musicians, DJs and audio professionals to profile themselves and receive bookings based on their availability, skill and fees.
Soundbooka also delivers them a job diary, and provides an income tracker. It is also free for musicians to join and for bookers to search.
Event organisers or venue managers will also be able to hear before they hire, and the fee to book an artist is significantly lower than any competitor due to the business being driven by volume.
What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
There were many challenges in the development of the site, and the web development phase was more drawn out than expected.
What’s the biggest risk you face?
Since the idea for Soundbooka was born in response to a fairly obvious demand in the market, our biggest fear was that someone else would get there first.
We risked a lot of energy and capital to launch a platform whose purpose would have been redundant if someone else had established a similar service in the months, or even weeks, before Soundbooka.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
When we started developing Soundbooka we were let down by our choices in one or two companies, but these decisions are hard to regret when I know we did all the research and reference-checking to support them at the time.