2017 has been a whirlwind of a year here at Encore!
We’ve seen more musicians booked for gigs than ever before, from high profile performances with Scottish superstars Biffy Clyro, to an intimate wedding proposal on a Parisian yacht. We launched Encore Pay, an automatic online payment system which ensures Encore musicians are guaranteed a deposit and payment after their performance. We’ve also grown the team to nine full-time members and spent many happy hours getting to know our musicians at our regular Encore drinks events.
Here are our five top hits of 2017…
- 5 Major Updates
- 4 Times More Bookings
- 3 New Team Members
- 2 Slush Awards
- 1 Great Musician Community
5 Major Updates
2017 has been a year of big changes at Encore. After welcoming a core of two developers and a designer to the team, we’ve been able to build many of the new features our musicians have been asking for.
- We kicked things off by launching Encore Pay, a revolutionary payment system which enables us take payment from a client in advance of their event before releasing it to you after your performance. In this way we’re now able to guarantee our musicians are always paid on time and in full.
- We then set about tackling the problem of unfair pay in the music industry by introducing minimum rates based on union guidelines and building a budget selector tool which forces clients to pick budget ranges above these minimums. We also stopped publishing all unpaid opportunities at the beginning of 2017, focusing only on paid performances above our thresholds. We’re pleased to report that the average fee earned per musician increased by a whopping 32% between Q4 2016 and Q4 2017, and this is all thanks to our increased minimum rates, our new budget sliders advising customers on the true cost of live music, and various tweaks we’ve made to Encore to make undercutting impossible.
- The eagle-eyed among you will notice we’ve also recently redesigned the look and feel of the Booking Experience, from the moment you apply to a job, to reviewing a client after your booking. We’ve replaced a clunky, slow site with a super quick modern interface capable of dealing with the increasing number of bookings taking place on the Encore site.
- After one of our Encore drinks meetups, one of our musicians mentioned it would be helpful to know more about why clients choose to book certain musicians. So we added application insights, a feature which shows you how your quote compared to other musicians for that job to help you understand what your competitors are quoting.
- We’ve also built another great suggestion by an Encore member, templated cover notes. This feature enables you to save pre-written cover notes which can then be lifted into your applications when you apply for a job, saving you precious minutes of admin time.
4 Times More Bookings
This year our top priority has been focusing on increasing the number of bookings our musicians receive. We’re proud to say that this has led to a 4-fold increase in the number of musicians booked compared to 2016, with over half a million pounds paid out to musicians. To put it another way, for every band we booked last year, we’re now booking a chamber orchestra.
We’re also really excited that many reputable organisations are now turning to Encore to source musicians. We’ve helped Harrods source an a cappella group to open their Boxing Day sales, Scottish rock legends Biffy Clyro find a cellist for their acoustic set, and Sky promote the new Game of Thrones season by placing string quartets in tube stations across London. We’re also beginning to partner with well-known venues around the UK, who love our simple and fast solution to finding incredible performers.
3 New Team Members
This year we were delighted to welcome three outstanding music enthusiasts as full-time members of the Encore team:
- Ilken, a Cypriot chess master as our Full Stack Developer.
- Claudia, a Portuguese jazz singer as our Lead Design.
- Guitar-playing Joel as our Sales and Partnerships Lead.
We’ve also been lucky to have on board a terrific tag-team of Booking Specialists, Hattie, Erika, and Ben, who’ve been guiding clients and musicians through the booking process as the demand for Encore musicians has risen.
Know a smart, dedicated individual who’s passionate about using the most modern technology to bring more live music into the world? We’re currently looking for new members to join our Bookings Team. To find out more, please send your CV to [email protected] along with a cover letter.
2 Slush Awards
In November, our CEO James headed to Helsinki for SLUSH Music, one of Europe’s largest music tech conferences to pitch among 20 of the hottest music tech startups in the continent. We’re delighted to say that James came back with not one but two awards: the European startup category and the Wallifornia Music Tech Prize, which will take him to Belgium in 2018.
Though we don’t measure our success with awards, we’re excited to see that others around the world are recognising the importance of building an online bookings platform that works for 21st century musicians.
1 Great Musician Community
Finally, none of this would have been possible without the brilliant community of musicians going out and giving incredible performances day in day out. Almost all the major changes we’ve made to the site this year have been suggested by our members and we appreciate every bit of feedback we get, from a short email to an in-person testing session.
When Encore first began, we knew almost every member by name and could quickly chat to them if we needed to bounce ideas or get advice. This year we’ve maintained that spirit by hosting 4 Encore drinks events, welcoming over 150 Encore musicians to our work space in Moorgate to chat with the team and hear from industry leaders on performance, teaching, marketing, and mental health in the music industry.
We can’t wait to share with you the projects we have planned for 2018!
Where are we going next?
2017 has been a great year, but really we’re only just getting started – there’s so much more we’d like to do with Encore! In the coming year you can expect to see a number of big changes:
- A new tagging system. We know that some of the email alerts you receive aren’t as tailored as they could be, so we’ll be rolling out a more fine-tuned tagging system to ensure you’re only ever matched with the performance opportunities you’re most suited to.
- Redesigned musician profiles. When Encore profiles were designed back in 2014, the site was a small online network with a few hundred members, so they’re definitely scheduled for a new lick of paint. We’ll be giving this part of the site a complete overhaul, so that your profile is the best possible representation of your musicianship online.
- Contract templates. When you take a booking through Encore, you’re covered by our Cancellation Policy and any communication you have with a client acts in a the same way as a contract. However, we know things are much easier if you just have a single sheet of paper outlining exactly what’s been agreed between you and the client. In the same way we’ve added cover note templates, we’ll be enabling you to save templated contracts to save you even more admin time.
That’s all for now, here’s to a 2018 filled with brilliant live music and plenty of gigs!