Entrepreneur David Baird rocks a badass axe, a vintage Gibson L-5 or a 1954 Strat, depending on the day. He’s also the founder and CEO of Santa Monica-based Gigmor.com, which he identifies as the leading social network for musicians, bands and industry talent buyers. “Our goal is to revolutionize how live music is booked,” he says.
The international network utilizes Baird’s proprietary algorithm, matching musicians and bands with other suitable players, showcases, open mic nights, jams, gigs and industry pros. Until now, this kinda thing has typically happened via Craigslist, or more usually a few bleary numerals scrawled on a cocktail napkin in a parking lot in Sylmar around 4 a.m.
Baird is a former AOL technology executive and semi-pro musician who is well-versed in translating opportunity into web-based products. He says, “We have a robust search engine used by professional talent bookers to find bands that meet their criteria. Musicians register online, identify their skills, background, interests, musical genres and location so they can be easily matched with compatible players and industry professionals. And our unique social media features allow them to engage with the community as well as posting music, photos and videos.”
He reports that the site currently reaches 40,000 registered users worldwide, and has generated more than 150,000 matches connecting musicians, bands, talent buyers and concert bookers. Coming June 20: “Off the Grid”, a free public event, 9 pm, at The Mint in Los Angeles (mid-city, 6010 West Pico). The event will be LA’s first-ever jam sesh booked entirely via the Gigmor Jams event platform. Top session players will serve as a backing band for emerging artists.
I just sound-checked the Gigmor concept with a few players I know, and was met with curiosity, receptivity and skepticism:
Kurt Jensen of Northridge, composer, bassist and Swans aficionado, opines,“It could work. In my experience, I can remember a lot of people misrepresenting their abilities and experience. Their ads were bullshit, and they lied on the phone. There’s just a whole hell of a lot of flakey people out there claiming to be musicians, so the bottom line is that with any prospective player, at some point, you still have to get together in the same room and play, regardless of how you connected.” He adds, “I can see Gigmor being a real handy thing to have for commercial players, especially with a friendly iPhone app.”
The hypnotic 21-year old Soraya Sebghati sings in an alternative-rock band in LA called Night Talks. She comments, “I did some research on it and it seems like a really cool idea! I like that it’s more musician-based than other websites like Craigslist, and it certainly seems more secure, safe, and, well, honest. It seems like a great idea for bands that are new or in a new location, as it could help them find other bands to play shows with or additional musicians to add to their lineups. I don’t currently use it because my band has a manager that does a pretty good job getting us a lot of good gigs. But it definitely seems like a cool network that does good things for people in all arenas of the music scene.”
Kelly Harriger is an acoustic jam player who plays fiddle, mandolin, guitar and Irish tenor banjo in a small Irish group and monthly jams. Kelly says,”I can use this website. I currently use Facebook, and some local musician exchanges, but it seems like everyone on them is looking to start a metal band. I also belong to some websites catering to fiddle and mandolin players, but I’ve had no luck whatsoever making any playing connections on them. I play Irish, folk and Old Time, and it’s tough if you don’t already have a network, or know of anyone in one. With this, I can target the people I’m trying to reach. I know there are lots of players out there, but trying to find them in rural western Pennsylvania isn’t easy. I look to online connections more than ever, because what used to take months and years by word of mouth now can happen in weeks.”
LA-based Nino Del Pesco, Bass Player for The Black Tongued Bells, adds, “When I was coming up back in the day, I used to make all my contacts through the Reader, The Recycler, and to a much lesser extent Music Connection. Today, I find the online services to be lacking in having the same impact as any of those publications did regarding finding musicians. The landscape seems sorely lacking to me, and if there were an online presence that actually worked regarding musicians or gigs, musicians looking for a band or bands looking to play, I would certainly utilize it! “
Baird claims that “Gigmor does all the heavy lifting”—although having carried a few amps myself, this remains a metaphoric promise. Besides, somebody’s gotta make the beer run for the band.
“Off the Grid ” at The Mint will be hosted by Jake Najor and Lauren Scheff, who will invite players up onstage for some deep funk and soul cuts, offering a good time for all. Register to jam at www.gigmor.com.