Harvard Business School Graduate Co-Develops Innovative Music Booking Website Nuevostage.com

Posted by Devin Maguire

NuevoStage, a new Boston-based startup, is changing the way bands and venues come together to fill unused space.

In 2010, Maxwell Wessel was at a concert where the opening band drew over half the crowd. After the show he asked the band members if they ever headlined. Not in Boston, they said. They had a fan base, but could not find a venue willing to risk booking emerging artists. Wessel, a Harvard Business School graduate and senior associate analyst at The Boston Consulting Group, saw a solution to this problem. Over the next year, Wessel and Dartmouth College graduate Chris Allen worked to develop an online platform which connects artists looking for performance space and fans who want to see them with venues that have unused stages. The idea evolved into nuevoStage.com, a concert booking website which launches Friday.

Programs like GarageBand have made recording and producing available to amateur and emerging talent, and online sites like TuneCore and 101 Distribution made digital music distribution available to independent artists. New artists, however, still have trouble finding venues willing to book them. “Innovation has not occurred in live concerts,” said Wessel.

Venues are reluctant to book new artists when they don’t know the draw they will bring. Venues must pay the artists and provide employees to work the concert and risk losing money if sales are low. Furthermore, they build their reputation on the quality of the artists they book, and subpar performances by new artists can hurt their existing client base.

Too often, however, venues are vacant and do not produce. “There are 15,000 secondary venues that have stages idle about two days a week,” Wessel said, “That’s 30,000 venues empty every week.” Meanwhile, there are bands who want to play and fans willing to pay. The challenge is connecting quality talent with unused stages. nuevoStage provides a solution.

nuevoStage allows venues to post their open dates online and bands can then apply to fill the vacancy. Once a band has applied, fans then pledge to buy tickets to the concert. Once a minimum number of pledges have been made to justify the concert, the venue reserves the space for the artist. The system gives artists struggling for space an opportunity to demonstrate their draw while pledges guarantee costs will be covered for the venue. “If you can make [stages] available without the costs, then you immediately make it profitable for the venue.”

nuevoStage recently received $50,000 at the Rethink-Music Competition for its “innovative band booking solution.” They are also running a campaign on the online fundraising site Kickstarter to raise money to book venues for their Stage for the Ages Project. All the money raised goes toward booking venues.

Currently nuevoStage has reserved space for five shows at prominent music venues in the Boston area including Tommy Doyle’s and Café 939. Artists will compete for the venues by having the most fans pledge to buy tickets. Wessel hopes the concerts will demonstrate the benefits of the solution to both artists and venues.

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Posted by Devin Maguire on Aug 16 2011. Filed under Business, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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