Do you enjoy going to live shows? If so, I’m sure you are going to like this project! But actually, what does it take to the artist to break through in music? Here is BeastGig – an app that helps emerging musicians organise sold-out gigs.
I had so many thoughts about the process a band goes through to organise some show or get on the road for a gig. I started from the point that I have no idea about this topic.
I assumed few things and composed 18 questions interview to ask to the artist. I was interested in the beginning of their career, their experience with gigs, the creative process, the important things to get into account and their thoughts about what works best when you try to make music for a living. Let’s not forget, my main target is an emerging band/artist, but I had to interview all kind of musicians to understand the experiences during all the stages on the way to be a rock-star.
Also I composed another interview for labels. At the very beginning I assumed that labels will make a huge difference in the artist’s career, and I had an idea of connecting both sides.
The interview-stage lasted about 2 month. Probably it was the most challenging part, as I had to get in touch with emerging artists (which was easy) and also with bands that already made it (which was hard but absolutely amazing). Also I talked with several labels, venue owners, entertainment companies and music fans.
So what’s going on?
I put all the insights into the Affinity Diagram, Empathy Map and Mind Map to build a UX Strategy Blueprint and User Stories. All these tools allowed me to digest the information. I discovered several things:
- Emerging artists have lack of resources.
- They are worried about playing to the empty room.
- They are frustrated about being ignored by venues, press and labels.
- They love what they do and will continue even if they are not making any money.
- They dream about make music for living.
There were many concerns about venue pricing, all the booking process and ways to have a live show. Pay to play, door split deals or even passing around a tip jar. When I asked venue-owners about this, I found out that there are many ways to get in, but is it affordable for the young band? Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. All depends on location, capacity, backline and extras.
So, how might we help emerging bands and artists to organise a sold out show?
That was a great question and it was really hard to come up with the solution that could actually work. During the research phase I had a pleasure to interview Jeff Kite from The Voidz who said:
…we should go underground and live the music scene of our own city.
This made me think about the local fan base, about the place where everything begins – your hometown, your neighbourhood, even your band, it’s probably you and your friends living in the same town, having similar inputs and influences. It’s about fans too, if we see someone is coming to our city, we call our friends and go together to that show.
This was a point that helped to come up with the idea of BeastGig.
BeastGig is going to be a platform for artists and fans:
- First of all a musician have to join the platform as an artist.
- Set the filters to find suitable venues and send the request.
- After the venue approves the request, the artist has it booked and can start selling tickets for the upcoming show.
- Here is where the fan joins. The fan is that one friend that calls everybody to go to that gig on Friday night. In this case, fan will get a 10% of the ticket value for each entrance that is sold through his/her personal link. How exactly is that?
- If the ticket price is 10€: 9€ go to the band and 1€ goes to the fan who shared this event and made someone to buy the ticket for this show.
- This way fans, bands, venues and everybody else are motivated to share the info and sell tickets.
During working on the first site map and flows I was going through several stages of validation to ensure that all the things make sense to the all parts involved. Taking into account all the data I collected during the research phase there are several important points that I wanted to include:
- The app needs to have specific filters to meet the artist’s requirements about location, capacity, price, backline and extras; Building the clear list of venues matching the artist’s criteria.
- The booking process have to be clear and easy. It has to provide help and solutions at the pain points such as “declined request”.
- The app has to have strong motivational aspect for fans as they are going to be main ticket distributors.
- BeastGig follows several principles that allow user to discover the unique content as “upcoming festival admissions to apply” for artists and “discover events around you” for fans.
- The platform will have multiple entrances with the bottom menu at every screen.
I started with the first flow of how a band adds an event. I defined the site map and started with the low-fi sketches of the artist’s section of the app. I decided to test these straight away.
After finishing the low-fi sketches I made a first user-testing with the 5 people from the target group. These were the situations I described to see if it was easy to complete the tasks:
- Imagine you want to organise a gig next month, how would you proceed? (completed by 5/5)
- A couple weeks ago you and your bandmates had a show, how would you proceed to transfer the money you got from it? (completed by 2/5)
- Imagine you changed a bank and want to update your personal payment details. How would you proceed? (completed by 4/5)
- You know that you have a gig in a couple of weeks, but you don’t remember when and where it is exactly. How would you check your upcoming event? (completed by 5/5)
- Your upcoming event is next week! You want to boost the tickets selling and share a reminder in the social media. How would you proceed? (completed by 3/5)
- At some screens the elements are repeated and it’s confusing.
- Some users commented that they don’t understand how the income section works.
- Top switching menu is not working.
- At this initial point there’s no need to integrate existing events from other platforms due to the point that we can’t control the external tickets amount.
After testing I worked on several adaptations to make the experience better and tested with the same questions using the mid-res prototype. It gave very good results and I started to work on the UI. The idea is to give a BeastGig a nigh-life look. I defined the color palette, visual weights, designed icons and created atomic UI patterns for this app.
This is one of the first screens the user will see. At this point it’s important to know who is joining, so BeastGig will suggest 2 options: Artist or Fan. For now there’s only the artist’s section developed, let’s have a closer look to the options. An artist can join the platform via Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud or following the standard e-mail registration.
The dashboard holds a slider with the most interesting events the artist can join, as open applications to the upcoming festivals or bigger bands looking for supporting acts.
In case the artist has no planned shows, the app will suggest to add en event. If the artist has any upcoming show, it will be displayed at the dashboard followed by inspirational quote from famous musicians.
Add an event
To add an event the user has to click the biggest button at the main bottom menu. It’s right in the middle, it’s big and visible, as it’s a primary action. After clicking this button, an artist will get to the filters’ page where all the preferences can be set. Filters include location, date, price range, backline and extras.
After setting all the preferences, the app will build a list of the venues matching the artist’s criteria. The user will be able to see all the relevant information on the cards, select few and apply once to send multiple requests.
Before sending the multiple requests the app will notify that the first venue to accept it will be the one to hold the event. So the user is always aware about the process and has the full control.
Another important point during the booking process is a reservation fee that the artist has to pay to the venue to be able to book and perform. Also the artist will receive income from the completed events, so these details are necessary and important. The app allows to set payment details using the most common credit/debit cards and PayPal.
At this section the artist can have an overview about all the upcoming and requested events.
- The full coloured one is the confirmed event with the tickets selling progress, so the artist can see straight away how it’s going and if there’s a need of an extra push.
- The outline one is a requested booking. The artist requested to play at some venue and is waiting for the response. It can be confirmed and become a full coloured bar or declined and become grey.
- The grey one is a declined event when the venue didn’t accept the request. At this case the app will suggest to search again using the same criteria, edit filters, or delete it.
Event page holds the information about ticket selling progress. It displays the amount of available tickets and the income the band gained from the sales so far. Also it holds unique link, which allows to the artist share and boost the sales.
Fans are very important, and they are the people who really make the difference. That’s why at the event page there’s a section of “Tickets sold by” displaying the people who are helping to the artist to make it a sold out event.
Income page helps to keep track on everything money related. Here the artist will have an overview about what was payed for booking the venues and what was received after playing the live shows. The artist has set the payment details, so after the show is completed, all the money the artist made is transferred to its bank account without any extra move from the user’s side.
The artist’s profile is very important section. The venues will accept or decline requests checking the information in the artist’s profile. The fans will find out thanks to this page too!
- So the first thing is a slider where the artist can put photos or videos.
- Bellow there’s a list of upcoming events, so the fan can sell tickets for one of them and the venue can see that the band is active.
- Then there’s a short BIO, followed by music tracks, so anyone can have a listen and have an idea.
- Artist’s website, social profiles and other music platforms are also included.
BeastGig was tested with real artists, bands and fans. You can have a look at the prototype: Marvel