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Gigmasters is the medium between live entertainment and the people who hire them. We provide the booking service to help customers find quality entertainment for any event they may be having.
3.1 Service Description
How the system works:
- A customer visits the Gigmasters website and types in her ZIP code, the event she is planning, and the type of entertainment she is seeking.
- She is immediately furnished with a list of entertainers in her area. She accesses online press kits where she listens to audio samples, watches video, reads biographies, and views client testimonials. She then checks off the ones that interest her.
- The customer then fills out a brief description of her event. This description is referred to herein as a “gig request.”
- Each entertainer selected by the customer then receives a “gig alert” email describing the customer’s event. The entertainers then each have an opportunity to submit a bid for the customer’s event.
- Based on the bids received, the customer can then decide which entertainer she wishes to hire, and may contact the entertainers offline for further information to aid in her decision.
- The day after the event, a follow-up email is sent to the customer inquiring whether any groups she contacted were hired. Those that were are then invoiced for an amount equal to 10% of what they earned. This commission is agreed to in advance by all entertainers who sign up with the Gigmasters website.
3.2 Gig Requests
Whenever a customer completes a request for entertainers, they have created what the company refers to as a “gig request.” This is what the customer fills out after she has selected which entertainers she would like to contact. This information is logged to the Gigmasters database, and is immediately forwarded on to the entertainers who were selected. The average number of customers who will fill out a gig request during their visit is currently 3.5%. This means that for every 1,000 customers who visit the site, 35 people will complete a gig request. Management believes it can increase that percentage from 3.5% to 5.0% over the next year through improved design and layout of the website. By doing so, it will be able to increase its revenues substantially, independent of any corresponding increase in traffic. In addition, management will conduct focus groups to study customer behavior on its sites. Through this, it will discover new ways to lead customers more quickly and easily into filling out gig requests.
Once the gig request is submitted and verified by Gigmasters, an email is then sent to each entertainer contacted for the event. This email alerts the entertainer that they have a potential customer. Upon clicking the hyperlink contained within the email, the entertainer can then see details about the gig including date, time, location, and description. At this point, the identity of the customer has not been revealed, thus preventing the entertainer from bypassing our system and going directly to the customer. Here is an example of the email the entertainer initially receives: (Discussion Omitted)
At this point, each entertainer that receives the request will have an opportunity to submit a “bid” to the customer. This bid will indicate the rate the entertainer plans to charge based on the information provided. The consumer starts receiving various bids through email and is in the position to be able to make an informed decision. At this point she can either hire one of the entertainers on the spot, or she may follow up with either a phone call or an email.
Out of all the requests Gigmasters receives, the largest component is live bands. This is due in large part because the company has received the most publicity in this area. It has been written up in musician magazines (e.g, Gig Magazine, February 2000 “106 Best Websites For Giggers”) as well as wedding magazines (e.g. Bridal Guide, November 2000 “Webbing Planning”). Gigmasters has established a market niche for itself in this area.
The percentage of gig requests that result in actual bookings is currently 5%. This was achieved while both founders were working only part-time on the site. The company believes it can increase this number to 7-8% in a short amount of time once both founders are working full-time. This will be achieved through improvements to the booking system, as well as better follow-up on gig requests.
Currently, follow-up on gig requests is done via automated emails, and the company will supplement this with telephone inquiry. In addition, once broadband becomes more prevalent in homes around the country, video streaming will improve substantially in quality, and this should increase the number of customers who are able to make their hiring decision entirely online. This number is expected to grow to 16.9% of U.S. households by 2003, compared to the current 3.1% level.
3.3 Press Kits
Gigmasters provides each entertainer with an online press kit containing:
- biography and full description
- color photos
- audio and video samples
- client testimonials
- song lists
- rates and prices
- musical genre.
The purpose of the press kit is to provide the customer with enough information about the performer to eliminate the need for an offline press kit to be sent in the mail–a process that can take several days and can become quickly outdated. Eventually, the audio and video samples provided in the online press kit will also replace the need for a demo tape to be sent. The entire demo tape will be accessed online. This will become more plausible once broadband, or high speed Internet access, becomes more widespread.
There is an additional function of the press kit. The press kit acts as a website or homepage for those entertainers who don’t already have one. Groups are given a Web address. For example:(Discussion Omitted)
Bands and entertainers can place these URL’s on business cards, flyers, brochures, and other promotional material. Besides helping the musicians, this also provides the added benefit of free branding of the Gigmasters name by being visible in the URL.
Entertainers are provided with usernames and passwords enabling them to update their press kits whenever necessary. By letting entertainers update this information themselves, it keeps the information accurate and current, while eliminating the need for Gigmasters employees to do the updates themselves. While the entertainers are updating their press kits, they also gain access to their control panel, a special screen showing statistics on their account. This information includes how often their press kits were viewed by others, as well as in which categories they were most often found (e.g. blues, top 40, etc…). This control panel also lets them update billing information, pager numbers, email addresses, category selection, audio & video samples, and username/passwords.
One major component of Gigmasters’s service is based on customers being able to view audio and video samples of each entertainer online. While audio is fairly wide-scale at present, video streaming is in its earliest stages. Broadband, which is what makes video possible, is predicted to grow to 16.9% of U.S. households by 2003, compared to the current 3.1% level. Once video becomes commonplace, it will be increasingly compelling for customers to make their hiring decisions entirely online without having to revert to the off-line world. This should dramatically increase the number of bookings and commissions that take place. Overall improvements to bandwidth, technology, and computing power will all contribute to a more favorable user experience on the Internet in general, and on Gigmasters specifically.
3.5 Future Services
In the United States, approximately $6.38 trillion is spent each year in the services sector. Gigmasters recognizes the possibility that it could apply its online bookings system to other segments of the service industry. It is currently beta testing categories including: Home & Garden, Wellness, Instructors, and Legal and Financial.
Management’s strategy has been to focus all energies on the current revenue streams, which are:
- booking commissions
- corporate sponsorships
- merchant services
We recognize the fact that there may be other revenue streams that can be developed in the future. With a loyal database of 15,000+ entertainers, there will opportunities to up-sell them additional products and services in the future, but these have not been factored into revenue projections at this point.
Gigmasters has begun to test its booking system on services outside of the area of entertainment. It has discovered that the same system that a person uses to hire a band or DJ could, with some modification, be used to hire a painter or a math tutor. In the United States, approximately $6.38 trillion is spent each year in the services sector, and Gigmasters has the potential to expand its reach into this vast market. Some of the new categories it has tested are listed below: (discussion omitted).
By expanding into these ares, Gigmasters could increase its market exponentially. It would also provide people with a reason to make repeat visits. For example, a couple could use Gigmasters to book a band for their wedding. Three months later they might return to hire a painter. Two months following, they could come in search of a financial planner. At present, the emphasis continues to be in the area of entertainment. Expanding into these new areas, however, could greatly increase revenue and profitability.