Live performance has been an interesting topic.
One hand, as the middle class arises, the consumption trend also becomes invincible. As iDaolue reveals, live show industry acquired a scale of RMB4.857billion ($700million) revenue in 2017 in China, while mature markets like the United States actually make much more than the emerging ones. Behind the glamorous statistics, however, is the reality with which independent artists still struggling to make a living on their own. By the perfect example of China, the middle market which targets on consumers who prefer going to small and medium venues to watch live shows, has only taken up an income of RMB125 million ($18million) in the past year. On its bright side, that was a great breakthrough since it’s actually the first 100 million earning for Chinese practitioners.
In fact, live business in other emerging markets has also been growing greatly, India is one of them. According to Hindu Times, the growth rate of live show business in India would reach to around 30% by 2020. The market size, on the other hand, would break above $800 million. For that reason, startups like StarClinch headed to this business.
Varun Agrawal & Abhishek Singh, co-founders of StarClinch
Before the company’s launch in 2015, Varun Agrawal, the co-founder, was working as a senior manager at ICICI, which is the second largest commercial bank of that country. Varun, who thinks himself of being passionate in music and art, also is well-connected with the professionals in the industry. With his engineering education background and deep considerations added up, Varun eventually quitted his 9-to-5 financial job, and jumped out of the comfort zone, wholly devoted himself into the show business.
By that time, companies like Flipkart and Snapdeal were reshaping the traditional retail industry, and capitals were flocking wildly. Apparently, the e-commerce business in India was in boom.
Before StarClinch, Bombay-based Gigstart had already found its way to help independent musicians, and attracted attention from Kunal Bahl, who is known as co-founder of Snapdeal, the top 3 e-commerce businesses in India. Later, Kunal invested $200k as the seed funding into Gigstart. So far, the number of artists and performers who signed up on Gigstart has reached around 5000. In contrast, StarClinch now has more than 17000 affiliated artists.
Besides the number, StarClinch also offers more diversified options and business models.
Generally speaking, most of traditional artists booking agencies provide very limited options. Thus, if a client has more demands but less budgets, the agents may not have the best plan. StarClinch, yet has differentiated itself from the rest. On StarClinch, it’s extremely easy to find whatever you need, based on the event type, scale and budget. The options are various too, from singers to live bands or DJs, magicians and even stand-up comedians. For customers, StarClinch is an Amazon-alike site when it comes to organizing events.
On the artists side, StarClinch helps them make more while equalizes the opportunities to each artist. Speaking to ChinaMusicBusinessNews, Varun underlines that StarClinch is more of artists discovery platform. “StarClinch wants to help artists all along. We would tell them that we would love to help him or her from the beginning to the peak, as long as he or she is standing together with us.” Varun revealed, the most well-paid artists could easily make 3 million Indian Rupees ($40k) a month. On the other hand, the overall average share to artists is around 100K Indian Rupees ($1500). Among the artists who associate with StarClinch, 20% to 25% of them get shows every month. “Some of them even quitted their full-time jobs as technicians or lawyers, just to focus on performing.”
For StarClinch, it charges some artists an annual membership fee between 2550 Indian Ruppes to 32500 Indian Rupees. Artists who pay 32500 Indian Rupees , for example, wouldn’t only have a higher chance to be discovered by organizers, also get recommendations from the StarClinch staff. Moreover, artists who pay annual fees would be split less when StarClinch deducts the revenue sharing.
Despite its great growth, StarClinch has never seized any funding from outside investors, and more incredible thing is that it’s already in profit.
Meanwhile, there’s other competitors like Bombay-based startup GetGigSet and Hyderabad-based JilMore, which have also been digging more opportunities. Considering what it’s coming is probably going to be tougher, StarClinch could now need to slow down and make itself more helpful to the artists.
Written by Curtis Li
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