We live in a digital age – what’s the allure of a live experience?
"Personally, I have always been a sucker for entertainment, effort, and atmosphere. The atmosphere for me is number one regardless of where you are, whether that's an entertainment space or whether that's literally your working environment. The atmosphere for me is a big thing. And a lot of us are on these things all the time now, right? [At this point he gesticulates furiously at his smartphone]
"We're social creatures, and I see people getting sucked into the digital world too much, especially as it advances into the metaverse and the rest of it. For us we're making sure that your physical life is always more valuable than your digital one. Because I don't want my kids growing up with a blindfold of a headset and rubber tube stuck into their abdomen, right? That's not going to happen on our watch."
So you’re from Melbourne, what’s the state of live music there right now?
"It's really good. Like we've seen a huge bounce-back [from the pandemic], which has been awesome. It was like we were pulling the slingshot back further and further, and further and eventually they opened the doors – it really went off! Which is really cool.
"A lot of people are changing here, they are looking for local entertainment as opposed to bigger acts. We're doing about, I want to say 28,000 gigs a year, 30,000 gigs a year being transacted through the platform."
What common misconceptions do you see about hosting live entertainment?
"I'd say one of the biggest myths is you can try something for one, two, or three weeks. People do a flash-in-the-pan type scenario and try that. But it should be like a marketing strategy, you've got to let it run for say, two to three months before you can actually start to get the data."
"The other thing is that oftentimes people are actually innovating, right? There's a myth around you just get a guy who can play guitar and sit in the corner. He’s going to play Oasis Wonderwall and you know, people are going to start losing their shit.
"Think of a Japanese-style restaurant. You're not going to serve burgers and fries in there, are you? Because it's a Japanese restaurant. The same goes for the way that you tailor entertainment. Dudes on guitar are very fitting for a lot of places. In a lot of pubs it fits the vibe. But differentiating yourself is something that a lot of people need to do, and marrying the entertainment offering to your wider offering and the wider identity of the venue is something that some venues miss often."
What are some of the more innovative acts you’ve seen work well recently?
"We've got a venue in Melbourne called the Smith in Prahran, and they do a gospel choir for their bottomless brunches..."
They do what??
"Bottomless brunches [Brunch with Soul]. They've always got gospel music, like a choir or gospel singer, which is awesome. People in the band actually walk around singing, they're interacting with you, it's really fun. It's a proper experience, right? It's something that you don't really see anywhere else.
"Another client about to jump onboard with us in Manchester called Cloudwater do a board game and bottomless brunch, which again is a really cool, innovative thing that people are doing a bit differently."
How is it you help venues, specifically?
"Functionally, we're an entertainment management system. Entertainment is like this dark art, it's still all like caveman stuff – calling, texting, emailing. And then when I have booked you, only you and I know that you're booked in, it doesn't integrate anywhere else, it doesn't pop up on your website. Our platform integrates all that."
Why should venue-owners consider outsourcing entertainment management?
"For Brandon [Muso co-founder], he was trying to book musicians himself for events at his venue. Basically, anytime that he tried to organise something, something would go wrong. It became a logistical nightmare.
"When you're running a venue and your prerogative is to sell beer and to empty kegs, a lot of the stuff you focus on tends towards the operational side. [By outsourcing] they can redirect their resources to further amplify the events they are hosting, or think of more creative ways that they could actually put entertainment on, which brings more people in.
"There's a big amount of value in saving time and saving resources (the platform can save venue managers up to 338 hours a year, and increase the number of gigs promoted by 78%). But there's an even bigger value if they can redirect that resource to do more with it, and not doing monotonous bullshit, repetitively, which they shouldn't have to do because tech can easily do it."
Tell me about your recent relationship with Headline Acts?
"Long story short, basically, Headline Acts created the wine to be able to support the local Australian music industry and support up-and-coming musicians.
"They wanted to look for the best way to give back in a meaningful way. It was really easy for us to see the synergy. Venues that stock Headline Acts receive an AUD $2500 budget for putting on new music. It's creating more gigging opportunities, which is exactly what we're all here for."
Last question, what's your favourite drink?
"Gin and dry."
Gin and dry??
"Yeah, it's a strange one because people always do gin and tonic, but I'm for gin and ginger ale. Alternatively, I'm a fan of an Old Fashioned as well, or gluten-free beer of any type that's available."
Editor’s note Wine brand Headline Acts recently committed AUD $150,000 to venues across Australia to be injected straight into the pockets of independent musicians signed to Muso over a 12-month period.
Discover Muso at https://muso.live/.