Dan Mangan is a Vancouver-based singer-songwriter with two Juno Awards to his name and he’s in the process of adding a startup as well.
Mangan’s rise in the music ranks was not overnight. It was slow and hard and he’s no stranger to the tiny venues that struggling musicians are resigned to play until they make it—Jimmy Kimmel Live—or die trying.
Mangan and Laura Simpson recently co-founded Side Door in hopes of changing that and creating a thriving middle class of musician in the process.
Side Door is an online platform that matches artists with spaces to create shows anytime, anywhere.
According to Mangan, in its simplest form it’s like Airbnb but for shows. “Any space is a venue, this room is a venue, your living room, your backyard, bookstore, warehouse, juice factory, any space”.
“In my world 97 per cent of touring acts are unrepresented by an agent, so they’re finding themselves gigs any way they can. Even within that 3 per cent that are represented by an agent, most of them could use some extra work and are looking for it,” Mangan explained during a recent Q&A at Eventbrite Vancouver.
Side Door does is remove the barriers to entry to this world on both sides— venues and musicians.
“If you’re a homeowner and you live in Coquitlam, to come into Vancouver and experience a show is expensive. Maybe you have kids and need babysitters, designated drivers, its a big ordeal and you’re only going to do it a couple times a year. If you could bring culture to Coquitlam, that’s a new touring market that no band ever goes to”.
Side Door matches artists with hosts, builds direct connections, and simplifies the show-booking process with easy and transparent digital tools.
The artist makes more money while gaining dedicated fans, the host gains the pride of having curated something special for their community, and the audience enjoys a unique and intimate experience.
Side Door has been busy building out features and functionality in preparation for their biggest campaign to date. The startup has partnered with SXSW to book curated tours for select SXSW artists. It’s an opportunity for 8 artists to crack into one of the biggest music festivals in the world.
The Side Door to SXSW campaign will route artists from their hometowns, culminating with an official Side Door to SXSW Showcase in Austin, Texas.
Since its launch, more than 2,200 artists and nearly 900 venues have signed up to be part of the platform, resulting in nearly 700 Side Door bookings throughout North America.
With partnerships like Side Door to SXSW, Side Door is looking to help reimagine the touring world for the better.