Music fans, venues and artists: meet GIGCO
In light of the recent Taylor Swift versus Ticketmaster scandal, we chat with two North East entrepreneurs about how their new app is set to revolutionise the live music industry.
GIGCO is a new app designed to bring together music fans, artists and venues.
Co-founded by Whitley Bay local Ben Kindlan and Frank De Vrijer, who met while running their own live music venues in Southeast Asia, the simple concept at the heart of GIGCO is that teamwork makes the dream work.
As well as being a comprehensive ‘What’s On’ guide for music lovers to find gigs North East (and, soon, the world) over – and set to develop into a ticket-buying platform, too – GIGCO promises to make it easier than ever for venues to book emerging and established talent, while also rewarding their loyal customers with special discounts.
The app will also help artists get closer than ever to their fans.
We caught up with Frank and Ben to find out more…
GIGCO is all about connecting the music community and getting more people to gigs.
‘Version one of the GIGCO app is a “What’s On” guide, which displays all the live music events going on around your location at any given time,’ Ben explains. ‘You can plan nights out, let your friends know which bands or DJs you’re going to see and, with ticketed events, directly link to the ticket provider.’
Fans can discover live music happening around them.
‘Right now, fans can book tickets for gigs North East and, soon, the UK-wide through third-party providers,’ Frank explains. ‘In future, they’ll be able to connect directly with and support their favourite musicians in a multitude of ways – including tipping at gigs, buying merchandise and music releases, staking $GIG on their artist profile.’
GIGCO offers the same opportunities to smaller independents as larger venues.
‘This is the main way we feel we can benefit the local live music scene – by offering the same chance for event promotion to venues of every size,’ Frank continues.
‘Our platform offers more targeted, music-specific marketing opportunities than running the algorithm gauntlet of traditional social media. We hope this can help local venues generate more revenue through ticket sales.’
We noticed how easy it was to miss out on gigs.
‘After setting up a chain of music venues in Southeast Asia, we noticed how easy it was to miss out on booking musicians travelling through our different locations,’ says Ben. ‘Artists would often call in asking: “how do we get a gig at this place? Would you like to listen to my music? Do you know of any other venues where we could perform?” I was forever writing out the details of different venues for musicians to hit up.
‘And we all know how difficult it can be to find live gigs around us as a fan, especially when we’re travelling somewhere new. It’s easy to miss events you’d have liked to have gone to. That’s why we set up GIGCO.’
Musicians can promote their gigs at local venues.
‘The beauty of GIGCO is that it works both ways – the app helps fans follow the artists they already love and discover new talent, but it also helps musicians connect with their fans,’ Frank explains.
‘Soon, artists will be able to use the platform to create their own profiles and build their personal community via GIGCO.’
Find underground music and emerging talent, as well as established artists.
‘Currently, we’re live as an all-inclusive ‘What’s On’ gig guide, where you can easily find underground music and established artists alike,’ says Ben. ‘The Artist-Fan-Venue interaction is coming soon on our road map and our primary focus will be emerging talent and heritage acts.’
Venues can promote their live music events.
‘Currently, venues can promote their events in the app and soon they’ll be able to sell tickets through the app, too,’ Frank explains. ‘The digital ticketing service will allow them to identify and reward superfans of their venue.’
Monopolies like Ticketmaster are never healthy.
‘It’s nearly always the fans that lose out the most. The merger with Live Nation back in 2011 really shouldn’t have been approved and it has left many artists and venues severely tied as to who can perform where,’ says Frank.
‘With such a monopoly, there’s very little pressure on Ticketmaster to continually update or improve their service offerings, or to be competitive on pricing.’
Hopefully, GIGCO can revolutionise the ticket-buying process.
‘That’s certainly our plan,’ Frank continues. ‘We hope that our proof-of-attendance protocol – made possible by digital tickets coded to the blockchain – will enable both artists and venues to identify their biggest superfans, allowing them to offer special offers and bonuses for their continued support.’
We’re music fans and musicians ourselves.
‘Although we haven’t had so much time to play live lately, with focusing on GIGCO!’ says Ben. ‘We’re looking forward to playing some festival gigs over the summer, it’s been too long.
‘We’d love to see as many up-and-coming artists on GIGCO as possible. There’s some amazing emerging talent and we’re excited to help shine a spotlight on them as much as on established musicians.’
Sam Fender playing at St James’ Park is the gig we’ve bookmarked this year.
‘We were playing gigs with Sam over 10 years ago with just a handful of people in the room, so to see him and the lads sell out St James’ Park twice over is bonkers,’ Ben continues. ‘We can’t miss that one.
‘There’s a band called Bilk who are upbeat, indie, punky and have some spoken lyrics, they’re on the 2023 hit list too. As is Ruth Lyon, who’s from Newcastle. Ruth is an amazing songwriter that I’ve yet to see live. Bob Log III, Liam Fender, Bug Man, Knats, Myele Manzanza… the list of artists we want to see goes on!’
We’ve been building GIGCO with scalability in mind.
‘Our tech is being developed in a way that will be able to handle the global volume, especially as we’ve now partnered with new blockchain, Sui,’ Ben explains. ‘After launching in Newcastle, we know what marketing and promotion to roll out, the size of the team and the technical infrastructure we’ll need for one city, but our tech does more of the work the larger we grow. This all still costs money, but it’s factored into our expansion plan.’
Next up, we’ll be looking to pick up the development speed of GIGCO.
‘We’re currently fundraising for version one of the app, after which we’ll be looking to pick up the development speed whilst scaling the services we offer nationwide,’ says Frank. ‘Then, we’ll be pressing on with developing and improving further functionality in the app, including our digital NFT ticketing services.’
To find every gig imaginable at your fingertips and never miss your favourite artists again, visit the website and download the GIGCO app