Fine Tuning the Music Gig Economy in Malaysia
Gigfairy aims to make discovering and booking musicians faster and easier
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Live music is one element that weddings, debuts, and school parties never go without. For bars and restaurants, live music is something that attracts more customers. Some bars can’t even operate a single night without live music on stage because that’s what their customers look forward to.
In Malaysia, it’s not always that easy to find the right musicians for the right occasions.
“Gigfairy was born out of a pain. Musicians are extremely difficult to find online for some reason. I had a lot of friends who would ask me if I knew any musicians to play at their weddings or at their restaurants,” says Brian Foo, founder and former CEO of Gigfairy, a Malaysia-based start-up providing a platform for discovering and booking musicians for any occasion, and a first of its kind in the country.
Before Gigfairy, musicians relied heavily on word-of-mouth marketing, personal referrals, and middlemen like independent managers and talent agencies. If one already knows the name of a certain band or music ensemble, one can search for them online and contacted them directly. But apart from this set up, clients are left with no other way to tap into the pool of local talent.
“Eventually I tried Googling for musicians myself and to my surprise it was extremely difficult to find musicians online. Those who knew how to put themselves online were able to overcharge clients. This drove me to start Gigfairy,” adds Foo.
With the platform, clients can browse through hundreds of music artists of various genres — and see the musicians’ profile and rate, and can easily transact with them on the platform.
Gigfairy started with a two-man team. “I created the minimum viable product using a website builder called Squarespace,” says Foo. “Everything was manual — every single musician profile was painstakingly created from scratch. Every request was manually forwarded from host to musician by us.”
“I'd work on the website during the day and go out to bars and restaurants to meet musicians at night. It was pretty hectic but I enjoyed discovering and eventually falling in love with the local music scene,” he shares.
Gigfairy has since been acquired by Tune Studios and BAC Ventures in January 2016 for an undisclosed amount.
“It was a move that made sense. They were able to open doors much quicker than it would have taken us by ourselves,” says Foo, citing that without Tunes Studios and BAC Ventures, they would not be able to host a huge festival — Gigfairy Live — that consisted of up and coming musicians and some of the biggest names in Malaysia’s music industry.
“We just would not have had the reach to pull something like that off in the speed that we did it had we not gone through with the acquisition,” he says.