Joining Encore is a great way of promoting yourself or your act online, networking with other music professionals, and winning more bookings.
But what separates Encore from other booking sites? And how is the Service fee spent?
Here we explain why we think the platform provides you with the best tools to advance your career in live music online.
In each case we break down how Encore compares to other services. A personal website set up yourself, a listings site which allows you to promote yourself on their site in return for a fee, and a traditional agency which takes a high commission in return for a more hands-on approach to getting you bookings.
- The Encore community
- Great value
- Secure and fair payment
- Artist support and development
- A better client experience
A note on the Encore community
As a relatively new service for musicians, we’ve been able to rethink what it means to book musicians online, first with a team comprised of musicians and computer scientists and now with experienced marketing, sales and UX professionals among the Encore ranks. More important than any one team member’s experience though, has been the support and continual feedback from Encore members which we are extremely grateful for.
None of the features listed below would have come about if it weren’t for the generous people who believe in a better future for musicians as much as we do. If you’re one of them – thank you! If you’re not so sure, please read on and let us know what you think – we thrive on honest feedback!
When we founded the company in 2014, our mission was to build a platform which gave every musicians the opportunity to promote themselves and win bookings online while keeping the cost of the service to a minimum.
However, in order to grow into a sustainable business (and not a charity – a model which would have limited the number of musicians we could help), we knew we would have to make money somehow. The solution for us was to only ever charge you a fee when you get booked through Encore. This is always 15% and is always shown to you when you quote for a gig.
Unlike most listings sites, we won’t charge you a penny unless you’ve been booked for work you wouldn’t have got elsewhere.
The 15% we do charge is cheaper than most agencies, while being high enough for us to generate the revenue which sustains the host of other features we offer to our musicians (see below).
Why isn’t the Service fee added onto the client’s fee?
We did start by charging the commission on top of the musician’s quote, but found that clients found it confusing when discussing prices for musicians. The problem was that musicians often used the amount they quoted (e.g. £1000) rather than the figure the client paid (£1150) in messages and calls, causing all sorts of trouble. We learnt that it makes more sense for musicians (who are more likely to be familiar with the platform) to be aware of two prices, than the customer. Reducing the mental workload of the client, as a rule in e-commerce, also has the knock-on effect increasing likelihood of a them buying.
|Service||Setup cost||Recurring cost|
|Personal website||First subscription installment||Typically monthly subscription (£10-£50) + annual cost of domain (£5-£15)|
|Listing website||First subscription installment||Typically monthly subscription (£50-£150)|
|Agencies||Usually free||Typically 20%-40%|
|Encore||Free||15% commission (only when you get booked)|
If you’ve set up your Encore profile correctly and clicked “View as public” you’ll have seen that joining Encore provides you with an first-class online shop window for clients to browse and enquire about your services.
Having great media is essential for online promotion, so we also provide you with discounts with our photography and videography partners to give you access to stunning imagery without breaking the bank.
But the promotion Encore provides doesn’t just stop there. We employ full-time marketing and sales professionals who help get your profile in front of potential clients across the UK. From a technical angle, we also also have a team of full-time developers using the latest tools and methodologies to optimise your profile for increased numbers of enquiries.
|Service||Online portfolio||Facebook and Google advertising||Sales team (calling clients to encourage them to book)||Automated client prompting system (if they don’t reply to a message)||Discounted promo materials|
Secure and fair payment
One thing which is very important to us as a company of musicians and music-lovers ourselves, is that musicians on Encore are being paid securely and fairly.
The number of horror stories we’ve heard of musicians going out and putting on brilliant performances only to be underpaid or to have to chase the client for payment is astonishing. And we want to do our bit to help bring a stop to this behaviour.
With a mixture of pricing guidance and advanced technology, we’ve built a system which ensures musicians always get the payment they deserve, without putting off price-conscious clients.
Unlike personal websites and listings sites, we can control what clients pay, and take payment in advance before releasing it to you after a booking, so you never have to worry about chasing clients. But unlike some agencies, we still give you control over what you charge (assuming it is above the minimum rate for that booking).
|Service||Control over price and brand||Minimum musician rates to prevent undercutting||Minimum client budgets||Guaranteed payout within 5 working days of the gig||Guaranteed deposit payment|
Artist support and development
Working as a musician can be a lonely job. The support structures which exist in a typical nine-to-five – education programmes, helpful advice, professional communities – are much harder to come by in the world of freelancers.
So we’ve always made it part of our mission to ensure that Encore’s musicians are supported with useful advice and support from the moment they sign up, to securing a client review after a booking.
As well as having our bookings team on standby 24/7 to assist with your bookings, we have in-person events, online forum discussions, and blog guides offering insights on everything from client psychology to filming your showreel. Also, as a tech-first company, we’re also able to provide insights into your booking analytics to help you understand your competition, and quickly calculate your earnings when tax season comes around.
|Service||Help pages||Musician blog guides||24/7 bookings support||Online member forum||Member events and webinars||Booking analytics|
|Listing websites||Typically single FAQ page||✓||Some|
|Agencies||Typically single FAQ page||✓||✓|
|Encore||100+ article help centre||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
A better client experience
Finally, we think Encore is a better experience for clients. But why does this matter to musicians?
We believe that by making it incredibly simply and secure for anyone to book musicians, more people will consider booking musicians overall, leading to increase in demand for live music. Just as the simplicity of booking accommodation on Airbnb has opened up locations which many people would never had considered before the platform existed (their most popular listing is a treehouse in Atlanta!), we want to open up live music booking to people who currently find it too much hassle.
Other sites do offer opportunities for clients looking to book musicians, but we think Encore provides the best solution.
- Personal websites are great for giving clients an idea of your unique brand, but lack functionality beyond the point of getting in touch. The level of support and payment security is only as good as that which the musician can provide themselves.
- Listings sites sacrifice the personality of a website in favour of giving the client a standardised way of comparing and enquiring with musicians. However, their service stops at this point. As a client, I’m unsure of how payment will work and will usually be reliant upon the musician for support in the event that anything goes wrong.
- Agencies tend to rely upon less automated methods of payment and support, typically specialising in building a roster of musicians from a particular locality or genre. This means they’re unable to provide the range of musicians available on a platform like Encore. Though they are able to offer a high level of support to clients, sometimes transparency around payment and the musicians’ identity is sacrificed to reduce the risk of circumvention and losing their high commission.
We think Encore offers clients the best of both worlds – the transparency of communication and breadth of choice of a listings site, while giving clients excellent agency-level support from the moment they begin browsing musicians through to the checkout and beyond.
|Service||Direct communicat-ion between musicians and client||Guaranteed replacement musician at 48 hours notice||24/7 phone support||UK’s largest selection of musicians||Simple online card payment|
I hope this gives you a good idea of how the Encore platform is different from the typical bookings sites you find on the internet.
If you have any ideas for how Encore could be improved, please email us with your thoughts at [email protected]
If you’re a musician looking for bookings, you can sign up for your free account here.
If you’re looking to book a musician, follow this link.