- Band Management
- Home Recording
- Live Sound
- Best Instruments
- New Music & Video
There are plenty of apps that notify fans when their favorite artist is playing a show in town, and ones that display favorite venues and live music calendars, and even some cool apps just for artists to manage booking and crowdfunding. I’ve written about some of the best of them in this very space.
But I believe that all of these elements have to work together to transform the live music experience and bring it into the future.
So, I’ve been hunting for one app that encapsulated them all.▼ Article continues below ▼
I spent a lovely afternoon speaking with Paul Nikolas, founder and CEO of ShowSlinger, about how technology can improve the live music experience for fans, venues, and most especially, independent artists.
What is your experience with being a musician and touring?
I started classical piano lessons when I was 4. Later in life, I took up percussion and became a drummer. I joined a band in high school and even did the whole drumline thing. After college, I toured with Foxtrot November. We did well and went pretty far. I’m still writing and performing as a solo act and Foxtrot November. ShowSlinger works perfectly for me to continue playing live; I never lose touch with the process.
What’s the ShowSlinger elevator pitch?
ShowSlinger is a powerful and simple software solution that connects artists, venues, and fans for a better live music experience.
Another app! (laughs)
Right? (laughs) But what’s potent about what we do is the way we are building real-world connections. We are trying to go beyond just notifications, and adding valuable experiences. Everyone is trying to create a whiz-bang product for artist organization, but what musicians need is better gigs and above all, more money. That’s where we come in.
What are some problems that ShowSlinger solves?
Booking venues still sucks. Too many calls, packages, and emails, and it still gets screwed up. It’s a mess for everyone. We help venues do their job better and easier, so they attract better acts and more patrons. We give fans opportunities to connect with artists, so they are more engaged. We give artists new tools to promote, build fan bases, book better gigs, fund campaigns, receive tips, and carve out a better living playing live. It all works together.
Do you help bands get more gigs?
I’d say we help them get better gigs. ShowSlinger is not a booking agency. It’s a platform. But we are making it easier to break into new venues with gig submissions, networking, and mobile promo. Connecting vetted venues and bands with engaged fans will lead to more gigs, but more importantly, the right kind of gigs at the right venues.
Tell me about DigiTip Jar.
Anyone who has the ShowSlinger app in the vicinity of a show gets pinged. They see the artist’s profile pop up. They can check in to the venue, request a song, send a tip and even a message. Done. This obviously works well for cover and touring acts, and we are seeing some artists double their money. That’s what ShowSlinger is really trying to do: make artists more money. We know that 50% of the people in crowd do not carry cash, so the app can take a picture of their credit card for payment. We made it idiot (or drunk guy in a bar) proof.
Do you have numbers to share?
We have roughly 27,000 artists and well over 100 venues so far.
Let’s get to the fan funding story – how is this different from so many others?
Well, unlike other crowdfunding services, we allow the artists to extend experiences instantly. Yes, you can do a campaign to fund a record, but also things like new equipment, or new van tires, t-shirt runs, and so on. Often, it’s microfunding, a few hundred bucks. On ShowSlinger, you can run a campaign while you’re playing out, instead of in-between records. Things like offering $50 to pick the last 3 songs of the night, $25 signed t-shirt, or $100 to hang in the hotel and burn the place down with the band! You can really make cool connections with fans. We like to say, ‘Don’t just watch the show, be a part of it.’
Any special offers to mention?
Yes. Artists have favorite venues that we don’t know about yet. So, we’re offering a promotion that any venue can join our Platinum subscription plan ($300/month value) free, forever. And we’re rewarding anyone with $50 cash for the hookup. Just check the website for details.
Artist can sign up for a free account here: https://www.showslinger.com/act_subscription/new
ShowSlinger is available for download on the App Store and Google Play.
-Michael St. James is the founder and creative director of St. James Media, specializing in music licensing, publishing, production and artist development.