Written by Stuart Foxman

For bands and singers, live performances have always been essential to build a fan base and, of course, make money. The rise of streaming services, plunging sales of the physical product and a more fragmented music market have made things tougher on musicians. Live gigs have only grown in importance as a means for up-and-coming performers to grow revenues and recognition.

The challenge is to stand out from the crowd and get bigger crowds. To help, a Toronto company called RedPine Music (redpinemusic.com) is looking to change the way artists and venues book concerts.

Instead of just booking shows, artists use the RedPine platform to crowdfund them.

They pick the venue they want to play, add other artists to the lineup as desired, and get pledges from their fans to buy tickets. The venue sets the minimum number of pledges needed to guarantee the booking. If the campaign reaches these requirements, the artist and venue lock in the date, and all fans who pledged get a ticket.

Dylan Rosen, one of RedPine’s founders, says crowdfunding eliminates the risk and guesswork for all concerned. Venues get to green light shows that they know will be profitable, the artists get to play in front of a guaranteed crowd, and the ticket-buyers know there will be a decent audience.

Rosen and his two co-founders started the company in March 2017. None of them had experience working in the music industry. But they did have friends in it.

“We saw a unique problem in the space,” says Rosen, who has a marketing degree from Ryerson, and who worked at a mobile app company before launching RedPine.

They received support from York University’s Launch YU Accelerator, a program designed to build, launch and scale high-potential ventures

In October 2018, the founders decided to quit their jobs and devote themselves full time to their start-up.

RedPine doesn’t charge artists directly for the services, but takes a cut of the ticket sales. The service started in Toronto, and the founders hope to take RedPine to neighbouring markets and beyond.

Another use for RedPine is playing matchmaker. Via the platform, artists can meet peers who complement them, and arrange to play shows together. Performers who don’t want to organize their own events can also see which shows are looking for an extra act and join theirs.

Rosen says the hidden value of the company is its analytics. As he notes, growth in ticket sales, concert attendance and unique ticket purchasers are big indicators of an artist’s growth. RedPine can crunch the numbers to see which artists are selling tickets and gaining new fans. How many first-time ticket buyers? How many repeat buyers? How many of those ticket buyers actually attended the show?

That information gives record labels and artists’ managers valuable insight into performer’s growth. While RedPine helps put performers on stage, it also helps track their development at every stage.

Making bookings easier, eliminating under-attended shows and financial losses for venues and performers, boosting careers and providing data on trends – RedPine just may be music to the ears of artists and industry players alike.

Photo credit Zlatko Cetinic, Images Made Real