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Wairarapa musician rewriting gig game

A Masterton muso is reinventing the booking scene for fellow musicians and venues, and wants local acts and venues to sign up.

The GigHQ website describes itself as the “bastard love-child” of beardy musicians and Kiwi tech nerds, and offers a one-stop platform for venues seeking to book entertainment and vice versa.

Masterton resident Mike Krishnan Jones said he and Auckland-based co-creators Hamish Mackenzie and Lee Gray came up with the venture after scratching their heads about how to make “gig booking” easier.

“The whole process of booking entertainment could be cumbersome. Lots of waiting for emails, back and forth – we just thought there had to be a better way.”

Having been in the entertainment business for over a decade, Krishnan Jones said the booking process for musicians could also be gruelling.

“When I first moved here, I’d walk into a bar, ask if they’re hiring and often play free gigs for exposure – it was hard.”

Krishnan Jones and his business partners knew they were onto something, but it was a challenging process due to the timing.

“We were developing a tech start-up for the music industry at a time there were no gigs, because of covid-19.”

But the team “had faith and gave it a shot anyway”.

Now, Krishnan Jones said, it is paying off, with a large customer base already developing in Auckland.

“The response has been really good, and it just keeps growing.”

Krishnan Jones believed the rapid success is because the platform functions as a service for both musicians and entertainment bookers.

Its use has even expanded to include entertainment outside the music industry, such as quiz hosts and drag queens.

“We’re musicians and that was kind of the core, but why shouldn’t it incorporate all kinds of entertainers?

“We all have the same pinch points of difficulty in the job.”

Wellington-based musician Rachel Andie, who recently played at the 121 festival held at the Tauherenikau Racecourse in Featherston, said a system like this would be really helpful when it came to seeing availability for artists.

“From a logistical perspective, it would be great to find gigs that you may otherwise not have found.”

Rachel said it was definitely something she would think about signing up for, as long as it stayed free.

“If it was a membership, I think I would have to know how well it worked before I committed to that.”

Currently, there are no membership fees to join GigHQ as an artist or venue but the business takes a 9 per cent commission on any gigs booked through the website.

With New Zealand Music Month rapidly appearing, Krishnan Jones said they are working on ways to promote local artists jumping on board.

“We want to highlight New Zealand artists who are on GigHQ and will help promote their profiles as musicians and DJs.”

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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