Leaving beta: what musicians have achieved and what we’ve learned

The music must go on! This Saturday we’ll be announcing our launch at MIT’s Hacking Arts conference, with three events. To kick off the celebration, we thought to take stock of what musicians are achieving using Hire Notes, and what we’ve learned in our first year simplifying performance bookings for musicians and their clients.

If you’re a musician and want to see what it’s all about, we’re offering a $20 bonus on your first performance if you sign up and confirm it this month. If your performance is related to a civic or social cause (beyond music), we’ll make that $50. Email us if you have a performance and are wondering if it qualifies or not.

3 things musicians are achieving on Hire Notes

Musicians have used Hire Notes beta to earn over $110,000 for their live performances, a number that was doubling every month at first. Over 600 have joined, and they range from conservatory freshman to GRAMMY nominees. We think we got this far barely marketing Hire Notes because we’re delivering on our initial promise of simpler, better performance bookings for musicians:

  1. Using Hire Notes, only 1 performance out of 155 (0.2% of payments) experienced payment issues. We covered the musician’s pay ourselves that same day.
  2. We’ve refined the booking request process. When the New England Conservatory’s Music Referral Service joined a test showed they saw a 5x increase in performance requests compared to their previous technology.
  3. Hire Notes is helping musicians and their clients negotiate rates and get more value out of their performances. The average pay for a booking is over 2x the initial budget submitted on booking requests.

3 things we’ve learned along the way

We’ve learned about musicians’ needs by a cycle with three components: talking to our users, experimenting with the experience, and refining the software. We’ve done this on our own and with partners, for different aspects of the experience.

  1. Our main focus this year has been refining our understanding of how musicians and people who hire them expect to work bookings online. We’ve redesigned the site 3 times from top to bottom as we’ve gone along.
  2. We went free. Between individual musicians, music organizations, and people who hire musicians, everyone has a different expectation of how and when to pay for software. We removed our fee until we’ll figure out pricing plans that can accommodate these varying needs.
  3. In music, work and exposure are different. So many tech companies have come and gone on the promise of getting musicians gigs and exposure, it’s hard to explain that we’re here to help musicians manage their performances, and give them the tools to forge their own opportunities.

What’s next?

As more musicians join this year, we’re going to put an emphasis on explaining our platform to musicians, expanding our partnership network, and always improving design and adding functionality, specifically surrounding collaboration.