Categories
Startups

Celebrating Encore’s 3rd Birthday

Last week, we celebrated three years since James and I took a train from London to Cambridge and officially launched Encore to a small community of student musicians.

This launch was a funny one. We had pulled many all-nighters to ensure we were ready for launch day, and everything seemed to fall into place just in time.

The first musician we met signed up without a problem, and we were jubilant. Then the second one tried to register, and our whole site crashed…

Last week, we celebrated three years since James and I took a train from London to Cambridge and officially launched Encore to a small community of student musicians.

This launch was a funny one. We had pulled many all-nighters to ensure we were ready for launch day, and everything seemed to fall into place just in time.

The first musician we met signed up without a problem, and we were jubilant. Then the second one tried to register, and our whole site crashed…

Categories
Startups

Interview with Fat Lama

Fat Lama are an exciting marketplace startup enabling the borrowing and lending of just about anything.

I’m absolutely obsessed with marketplace businesses, and I think Fat Lama is a fantastic example of a true “sharing economy” startup: helping suppliers make money from under-utilised belongings, making it easy to borrow from trusted neighbours, and facilitating fast transactions through a secure and safe platform.

Musical instruments is one of their most popular categories, so we’ve been having some interesting discussions recently about how Encore and FL can team up…

An offshoot of those conversations was an interview on their blog this week where I discussed how Encore differs from music agencies, the highs and lows of starting a business in London, and more…


Why I Use: Encore

Published 18th May 2017

https://fatlama.blog/2017/05/18/why-i-use-encore/

Encore Team

Categories
Podcasts Uncategorised

Podcast interview: Agency Exploits in the Music Industry

Header image

I was contacted by a journalist recently who was putting together a radio piece on exploitation of musicians.

As well as reaching out to agencies, he wanted to hear how we’re doing things differently and fighting for a fairer industry at Encore.

Unfortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, he didn’t receive a single response from any of the agencies he contacted, so the piece has become a podcast instead of a national radio piece, featuring interviews with pro musicians, Alex Mann from the Musicians Union and myself.


https://subjecttochange.live/2017/05/10/an-under-appreciated-profession-2/

You can hear my segment about Encore from 08:20 until the end. The only
inaccuracy is the description of Encore as an ‘agency’, which we are not.

Within the first 90 seconds, issues of late payments, minimum rates and transparency around commission are all flagged as serious cancers of the music industry.

These are all issues that simply do not exist on the Encore platform:

  • Late Payments no longer exist thanks to Encore Pay. Customers pay before the event, Encore pays out automatically 48hours afterwards.
    The payout is
    seamless, requires no manual effort from any of the Encore team, and the transfer is initiated exactly 48 hours after your gig starts. If you’re booked for a 7.15pm gig on a Monday, your transfer will be initiated at 7.15pm on the
    Wednesday.
  • We are now enforcing minimum rates when customers request quotes from musicians. It is impossible for musicians to quote below these rates and undercut others, and we’re currently working on some pricing visualisations and infographics to help customers understand what they should be paying for live music. The general public is largely misinformed about the cost of live music, and Encore is in a great position to change that.
  • Musicians always pay a service fee (‘commission’) of 15% on gigs booked through Encore, which is 100% transparent throughout the booking process. Unlike
    an agency, this percentage does not fluctuate based on the customer’s budget, and we always show full breakdowns to musicians when they’re being booked of how much they will earn and how much we will earn.

This post is only the beginning of a series I plan to write on the state of the music industry and how we’re tackling it head-on, and I’m looking for opportunities to speak about this publicly, either at events or in the press.

To get in touch, please email me: jm@joinencore.com

Categories
Startups Uncategorised

Announcing our £560k Seed Round

Today, it gives me great pleasure to announce that we’ve raised a new round of investment from a line-up of stellar angels.

I’m excited for three reasons.*

*Okay, I’m excited for hundreds of reasons, but who am I to question the Rule of Threes?

Encore Team October 2016

The Encore house band is shaping up nicely. Taken at our home in TechHub London on 20th Oct when we only had 7 team members, this photo is already outdated!

1. Our team has doubled

Growing our team was the primary reason for raising investment, and after hiring five new team members, I could not be prouder of the world-class talent we’ve welcomed to Encore HQ.

We have folks who have honed their craft at Google, PayPal and the BBC, and the energy in the office is electrifying. To have a Bookings Manager, Heads of Design and Marketing, and more developers is ludicrously exciting, and I can’t wait to see what we produce over the coming months.

Encore iPhone app

We released our iPhone app earlier this month.

2. We’re investing heavily in product development and marketing

We have a clear vision of what we want to achieve with Encore, and this investment enables us to further develop the Encore website and mobile apps. We have plenty of improvements on the horizon designed to make booking musicians easier than ever before, and to help our musicians make more money doing what they love.

We want to bring live music to more private events than ever before, and this investment will help us spread the word about the magic and simplicity of our bookings service. If you don’t know how Encore works, check out our cinematic explainer video below:

3. We’re one step closer to connecting every musician in the world

Our dream is to create the platform that unites every musician in the world, and this latest round of investment takes us one step closer to achieving it.

We envision a future where musicians can be booked quickly and easily for events all over the world. A future where every musician’s dull admin work is automated, giving them more time to focus on their art. Above all, we envision a future filled with live music, and I am so grateful to our investors for believing in and supporting our mission.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us get this far.

Believe me when I say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet”.

Encore app trumpet

To read more about Encore in our TechCrunch article published today, click here.

For press enquiries, please email me: jm@joinencore.com

Categories
Startups Uncategorised

Encore: Musicians On-demand

Landing Page

I’m really, really excited about Encore right now.
What started out as

“Wouldn’t it be cool if every musician in the world had a profile in one place?”

has now become

“Tell us which musicians you want and when, we’ll have them booked in minutes.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still desperately eager to build a global musicians’ network, but the bookings technology we’ve developed is achieving minor miracles.

Let me give you three examples:

1. Contrabassoonist needed for Symphony Orchestra Concert

Contrabassoon

If the bassoon is an endangered species, then the contra is something of a musical unicorn.

Request received: Fri Mar 04, 00:42:02
Available, nearby contrabassoonist found: Fri Mar 04, 00:51:28

Time taken: 9 minutes 26 seconds (at nearly 1 in the morning!)

2. Brass Band needed for Boat Race this weekend

Brass Band
Request received: Mon Mar 14, 17:34:20
Available, nearby band found: Mon Mar 14, 17:39:29

Time taken: 5 minutes 9 seconds

3. Oboist needed TONIGHT for Verdi Requiem

Oboist
This is my personal favourite. I have no idea why an oboist was suddenly needed 55 minutes before the concert started, but I know it must have been a ludicrously stressful situation.
Thankfully, we found an available, fantastic oboist in under five minutes, and they were en route within ten.
Request received: Sat Mar 12, 18:35:00
Available, nearby oboist found: Sat Mar 12, 18:39:51

Time taken: 4 minutes 51 seconds


When people think of ‘on-demand’ services, they think of taxis and food delivery.

We’re building a future where musicians are available at the tap of a button. The above examples are very extreme, but they illustrate just how effectively Encore is working.

If you asked someone to book musicians for an event next weekend, they’d probably go through the following steps:

  1. Google search for “String Quartet London”
  2. Browse and compare the first 5–10 results
  3. Email a handful of quartets
  4. Wait
  5. Receive a reply stating that one of the quartets is unavailable
  6. Wait some more
  7. Receive a reply from an available group
  8. Negotiate price
  9. Confirm booking

That process is long-winded and old-fashioned, and it’s not unusual for it to be dragged out over several days.

Encore Diagram

With Encore, the process is simple:
1. Head to joinencore.com/jobs/add and tell us you need a String Quartet in London next weekend
2. We send the event details to all of our string players within reasonable travelling distance of your event
3. The groups that are definitely available get back to you quoting a price
4. You book your favourite group

That whole process can be completed in about fifteen minutes.

So, yeah… I’m really, really excited about Encore right now.