The London-based company ShowMango makes dreams come true for all music fans with its £25/month plan for unlimited concerts and live music events.
Recently, we’ve seen subscription-based businesses disrupting the entertainment industry. Companies like Netflix and Spotify have changed the way people watch movies and listen to music. ShowMango goes after the live shows with a similar concept and promises to grow revenue for all promoters and venues it partners with. We caught up with CEO James Kay to find out more about the new platform..
Hi, can you tell us a little about yourself, your team and your backgrounds…
I’m James Kay, (CEO) and have founded ShowMango with Alexis Robert (CTO) and Ben Hacking (CMO). We are all “under-30” entrepreneurs with experience in both the events and the technology industries. We started working together a few years ago with another startup where we provided cashless payment systems to music festivals. We then founded Fluttr together, a music events discovery platform which give personal recommendations based on the music tastes of each users. In 2014, we had the chance to be backed by Seedcamp, the Europe’s leading seed stage acceleration fund.
In terms of background, I’ve promoted and produced events for over 6 years in the US, UK and France. Alexis has developed hardware and software for multiple companies and organisations including the European Spatial Agency and Ben has experience in digital marketing campaigns for large clients such as MTV, Nike, Sony and Disney.
We’ve spent the last few months looking for new ways to improve the events discovery. We’ve always been fascinated by the way Netflix and Spotify disrupted the entertainment industry. Because live music is outperforming sales of recorded music, we just thought it made sense to apply a similar subscription model to our market. Our target customers already use this method to stream music and videos which strongly facilitates the adoption of our product. It first started as a side project but we received interest from so many people that it quickly became our main focus.
Why is a subscription model the way forward for gig and event tickets?
For event goers, a subscription model eliminates the inconvenience of having to buy tickets over and over again with the additional ticketing fees associated. It comes with obvious cost-saving advantages as they prefer the low upfront expenses rather than paying fees for every purchase. The experience is also very appealing for those who love discovering music and artists as they can attend several gigs per week and explore new territories. The subscription provide a direct incentive to go out more which directly benefit artists, promoters, venues and record labels.
Will this go some way to eliminating touts, do you think? Has that been part of the mission?
We are indeed completely eliminating touts as every pass we allocate to our subscribers is nominative. We are actually removing the simple concept of tickets. Our subscribers join a guest list that we send to event organisers and they simply have to show their ID and mention that they are on the ShowMango list on the door to gain entry. Our mission is larger than that but this is a clear advantage for our partners and the entire industry.
What was early reception like, what barriers were there to you getting off the ground?
We’ve received a lot of pre registrations before we launched, which was extremely encouraging. The first legitimate question people asked us was about the shows available on our platform. Some of our subscribers are asking for indie gigs in Camden, some for underground nights in Brixton. Our biggest focus now is to meet everyone’s expectations through the choice of events we offer.
Who have you got signed up so far as part of the deal? Will you always be adding people?
We have exclusive partnerships with multiple venues and promoters. In April only, we will offer events at the Barfly, Jazz café, Notting hill Arts Club, fabric, Village Underground, Proud Gallery, the Enterprise, Electric Brixton, Basing House, and the Garage. We are constantly adding great partners on board.
From this side it seems someone is losing out here – £25 a month only covers one or two shows (going on approximate face value of club/gig tickets to non members), so if someone goes to more, how does that work? Are you hoping people don’t go to more than two a month?
We encourage our subscribers to go out a lot. This is why we created ShowMango. Our revenue are split between several actors in the event organisation. We re-distribute most of our profits to our partners, including artists, record labels, promoters and venues. There is an excess capacity problem in this market and we specifically address this issue on a large scale. We help our partners increase revenue by selling out all their events.
How have you managed to convince venues to sign up – what is in it for them? Again, from this side, at this point, it seems they might have to turn full paying customers away cause they are full of ShowMango members who are paying a reduced fee, no?
Our partners allocates us a specific amount of entries for each of their events and our subscribers can grab their pass on a first come first served basis. This means that the split between standard customers and ShowMango subscribers is at the full discretion of our partners.
Will you expand around the UK and EU? If so when, and how, do you plan to do so?
Yes, we are already working on our international expansion and new cities will be open in the coming weeks. A detailed road map will be announced on our website very soon.
*Showmango is offering a one month complimentary trial, so head of to their website at www.showmango.com to try it out for free.https://readymag.com/57226