Serial entrepreneur Kevin Brown’s talks to Business Matters about his latest venture, GigRev, which launched its Seedrs campaign this week to raise a further £250k, on top of the £1.45m already raised, about who he admires and what advice he would give to anyone else starting out.
What do you currently do?
GigRev has been my passion for the last couple of years. It’s a white label app service that I founded and built for bands or any influencer with a fan base. It works as a digital fan club and allows them to have direct contact with their audience and start earning money from their biggest supporters.
It means I spend a hell of a lot of time talking on the phone to managers and artists about their frustrations with social media platforms and the increasing costs of reaching fans. There’s a lot of frustration out there but things are changing and we’re at the forefront of that change which is really exciting. We’ve spent a number of years building an incredibly sturdy software, capable of dealing with millions of fans, and fine tuning the product with real musicians who are already earning a regular income from their new app.
Now we’re about to launch the business globally. We’ve raised £450k already and are launching a Seedrs campaign for an additional £250k to help us take GigRev to market. It’s an exciting opportunity for investors to be part of a business that will disrupt the current music scene and start putting the earning power back into the hand of the artist.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
I’ve been managing bands for a number of years, the biggest being The Australian Pink Floyd which I took from theatres to arenas and over 100 shows per year around the world. It was really clear that artists rely on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube to keep in contact with their fans but these platforms were making it harder and harder to reach them. Essentially they are advertising networks and the “Likes” they gather are theirs. We found we could only reach fans by paying.
GigRev began with the simple idea of turning the model on its head and building a platform where the artist or label owned the data, not a third party. I also saw that artists were giving away all of their content. A lot of this is great behind the scenes footage, acoustic versions of songs and tour vlogs and all of this was something fans would happily pay for to get exclusive access to. So, the inspiration began from helping artists monetise their fan base and giving them back control of their data.
What defines your way of doing business?
If the sole reason for a business is to make money I think that its likely to fail. There needs to be a solid reason for people to need the product and it has to help everyone in the equation.
Who do you admire?
I don’t have any particular person but I do like people that innovate and go against the grain. It can be tough to get new ideas over to people that have established ways of working, especially if that goes against what they preach day to day. Persistence is key to me. Eventually, if you have a great idea, you can win the argument.
Looking back, is there anything you would of done differently?
I can’t say there is to be honest. I think there are always lessons to learn and I’m still learning every day. I like to listen to other people’s views and use this knowledge to build a broad view of a problem, then try to find a solution.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Nothing is impossible but you’re gonna have to work a lot harder for it that you can imagine. Things take time and money. Just stay alive and eventually you’ll make it.