Gigstarter has been officially launched in Belgium at the beginning of this year and dozens of Belgian artists already signed up. For the ones who still don’t know Gigstarter, we had a little chat with Tom van der Velpen who explained how the platform works and how musicians and bookers can both benefit from the online booking system.

How does Gigstarter work?

Gigstarter is a platform that brings bookers and artists together. If you are looking for any kind of live music for you event you can take a look at the website. Artists have a profile on the platform with a live music video of their act, their price, necessities for the gig and more. It has benefits for all kind of artists.

What are the benefits for the artists?

It’s a great way to expose your act to the rest of the world. A profile has all the information a booker needs to get a good impression of you as an artist. With that profile on Gigstarter you have a chance of getting more gigs and play at places where you would otherwise never come.

When did you start Gigstarter in Belgium?

Our company is founded in the Netherlands four years ago. In the beginning of 2017 we expanded to Belgium. We made this decision because we already saw a lot of Belgian bands, DJs and bookers active on the Dutch site. It was a logical next step for us to expand to Belgium.
We then immediately started approaching artists to join the platform. This resulted in more than 350 subscribed artists at this moment. From talented singer-songwriters to experienced metal bands, we have a great variety of acts. But while approaching artists we encountered a lot of small cultural differences between the countries.

What kind of differences?

Belgian people in general are more used to a formal approach than Dutch people. So when we approached them informally we almost didn’t get any reactions. We changed our tone in Belgium immediately and the amount of contacts grew rapidly. In the Netherlands the people like it when you are direct and straightforward, that’s totally differently with the Belgians.
Also some Flemish terms came by that we didn’t know. A Belgian booker wanted a “stripe of music”, a term we never heard. After some research we found out it was a way of describing background music.

What are the benefits of using Gigstarter for the bookers?

Bookers have access to a great database with hundreds of acts and live music. When you see an act that you like, you can approach the artist or their manager directly. On the artist’s profile there is information about the price and basic requirements. And anyone can book, from professionals to private events. Gigstarter makes booking live music it more fun, transparent and accessible, on a national and international level. And we don’t charge any commission fees!

So how do you earn money with Gigstarter then?

It’s free for artists to have a profile on Gigstarter. But if artists want to have more benefits they can get a PRO membership. With that membership they can enrich their profile with extra videos and photos but can also respond to special calls for live music. In that way PRO artists get three times more gigs out of Gigstarter.

What does the future of Gigstarter look like?

We want to make live music accessible in the rest of Europe. We now see that Gigstarter is working in the countries Netherlands, Belgium and Spain. In the future we want to expand to the other countries and make it possible to book artists from different countries. For example, it would be so cool that an artist from Barcelona has a Gig in a music café in Berlin via Gigstarter.