Journey Into The Unknown
My Story has being quite an interesting journey into the unknown. It’s hard to believe how far I have come since I had the idea to change the Music Industry in Ireland.
I could never quite get my head around why so many talented Artists were simply not getting any opportunities to progress in their Careers? I had worked and managed Bars and venues most of my life and had the pleasure of booking 1000s of Bands and performers in that time.
Cover Bands were all the rage and original bands were never considered unless they had a huge following. It made no sense for any Venue to have any unknown band that people never heard off and the added risk of driving all the good customers out the door if the act wasn’t up to scratch. Original Music was simply a huge risk.
It was no surprise to me that many of the Big cover bands had been down the Original Music Route and went Cover band to Survive at something they loved.
So my story started out in 2005 when I was working in Galway as the music hall Manager in the Quays. Some of the biggest Cover Bands performed there but very few Original Bands graced that stage. It just wasn’t viable unless you were a band like Aslan who did play there regularly.
On my days off I would walk Shop Street and listen to all the buskers. The hope of getting spotted by a big label or manager is low but it does happen. and the money is fairly good from the passers-by on a busy day. I think busking is a brilliant Idea for anyone who wants their music heard and to start building a following.
So on occasion, I would ask one of those buskers to play in the quays. It was a small part. I would have them play two of three Original Tracks before the big event and they would introduce the main act onto the stage. This was my way to help the Original players get a little more exposure and they were paid a few bob too.
So I continued to do that for a while but became frustrated that I couldn’t do more and eventually left the Quays to go on this mad journey into the Music Industry.
I came up with the Idea of LiveMicsWorld in 2006. It started off as a social network for Independent Artists. The idea was to help them build a bigger fanbase so they could have a better chance of playing in Better Venues in Ireland
To be honest, I hadn’t a clue what I was at, At the start. I had to learn all about the internet as I could barely turn a computer on and no idea how websites worked. I found a company that set up the social network for you and I paid a monthly fee.
That was fine for a while but soon because very expensive with very few Joining up to my new network.
Myspace was a big player that time and I remember spending years talking to every artist I could to support what I was doing at that time. I thought I could convince them to move away from myspace and build an Irish network. The majority of them were focused on all the main networks and simple didn’t have time to be bothering with yet another one like mind. Who could blame them I suppose but I did manage to get to know some of them and their Music.
So I tried something else so Artists would take me seriously and see that I was someone trying to help. I created a competition Called ‘LiveMicsWorld International Artist ‘. The idea behind this was to create a yearly event that would support artists each year and award the best ones.
I never really liked the idea of Competitions in Music and the long term Idea was Awards for those artists that were recognised for the work they were doing throughout the year. I said I would take a chance with the competition the first year to draw attention and create some excitement and a bit of hope that someone was actually taking an interest in Original music and promoting it with this competition.
I thought the concept was a no brainer but for some reason, it just didnt work. They were very entertaining with a whole range of Singers, Singer-songwriters, Soloists and comedians. A brilliant Variety shows that many people would thoroughly enjoy. Empty hall most nights which was disappointing for the acts and totally embarrassing for me.
This was a big learning for me. I presumed too much and it cost me big time. The positives were the quality of Artists that came to these events were exceptional. There was a hunger for such a competition or award and it brought quality acts to it. I would have to rethink this again and see how to attract people to these events.
The Simon Gigs
The Simon Gigs came into reality in 2014 after I had being to Dublin and Couldn’t get over all the homeless people laying around all over the city. It was shocking to see and I wanted to bring awareness to this huge problem.
At that time I had built up quite a following on Facebook with lots of musicians and asked them to get involved with this campaign.
I thought is would be a very good opportunity also to have some great acts seen by more people and also raise money for the homeless community.
My first event was held in the Quays in Galway. As I had worked there in earlier years, I believed that this would be the perfect starting point and a great experience for everyone performing in the big stage.
I held these events right up to 2019 and the last one was held in Mullingar. I thought this was the right place to end this Charity Journey in my hometown.
I have to say that the Simon Gigs is were I had some of my best memories. I met countless people from all walks of life and talents who came down and supported me and the homeless community of their own backs. They came from every corner of the the country and for that I will always be grateful.
Like everything, it ran its course and we managed to raise many thousands for the Simon Communities and Dublin City Helping Homeless.
I’ve worked in bars all my life and ran them for other people. I never got the chance to Run my own until 2015. It was a massive risk as I didn’t have a whole lot of money to lease a Bar.
Anyway, I went with it and took my chance. I found a place in Sligo that I liked. It was a little bit off the beaten track but it had all the things I needed. A place upstairs to stay, A stage for music and a big sized Bar.
It was a terrifying experience to think that if it didn’t work straight off them I would be broke in a matter of months. On top of that I was a stranger to the town and didn’t know how the locals would take to me. MusiBar would be a Bar and Music Venue for independent artists. This was my first opportunity to really support the artists the way I had always wanted. I really felt that this was the next progressive step towards a better future for my Campaigns and the artists that I represented.
I had big Ideas, Lots of them but like I said, It needed the support of the local community and especially the Music community. It was a huge battle to get the idea out there about what I was doing. I wanted it to be the Music base, The meeting place to all the artists locally.
I wanted Musibar to be that place where they could launch themselves and build their fan base and move up in the world. To use the venue the way a proper venue it was meant to be used but I didn’t realise that my idea were a bit ahead of the way artists were thinking at the time. Here was I presuming again and not doing my homework again. I was only opened a few weeks when the dread of what I have just done was sinking in.
They had never experienced a venue thinking this way before. For them it was a place to get paid and hope to be called back for another date. The idea of building from my Venue was unheard of somewhat. I hadn’t advertised, Marketed or branded it this way. This was mostly down to Finances. I know this was going to be a battle of survival so I dug in as best I could.
I stuffed nights with all kinds of Music and brought artists from all around Ireland to play. I wanted Musibar known as a Venue that Artists from all over Ireland and outside could approach when going on Tour. I had lots of room upstairs and bands could stay if they wanted to save them money while on tour.
I lasted 15 months. It was the most head wrecking but enjoyable experience I ever had. It was finally paying off towards the end but by the time I was completely broke and a physical wreck. I met some wonderful people during that time and I will not rule out a second attempt at doing this all over again. I learned a lot about myself during that time and have more knowledge of what to do the next time if the opportunity arises again.
Musibiz was created In 2014 Just before my Simon Gigs Campaigns. I had this site in mind when I was thinking about leasing my new venue. MusiBar would be the venue hosting Artists and Musibiz would be the website hosting them online.
I wanted to give full support to independent artists by giving them a live stage and also a strong presence online. I believed that these two entities were critical when building an artist’s presence and a fanbase. Artists for the first time had both areas covered. A live venue where they could play and build a following and the official website where they could showcase those events to an even bigger audience.
I also used the Simon gigs to help build that presence by introducing potential fans that would be attending these events and also supporting the Homeless Charities that I was trying to help.
Well as you have read above, this type of new approach obviously takes time to work and I didn’t have the funds or energy to keep that going. Running the website, The venue 7 days a week took its toll and this project just had to go on hold till I recovered. Everything I had done, I had done on my own and this was just too big for one person.
So where is Musibiz going now? Well after a couple of years off I have decided to go at this again but in a different way for now. All these years have given me many insights into the way the Music industry works and what needed to be done. I have being working on new ideas but progressive ideas from my past experiences.
I have become a very good Marketer quite by accident with all the messing around with various websites and social media platforms. At the moment I just feature artists on my website. I create what I would call on online press pack for artists and its always live for people to see. I get a bit of traffic from all over the world so artists do get seen more.
They can also send their live link off to their potential Label , radio station etc and show that there is a buzz around their featured page. I encourage artists to share their page and ask fans to make a comment so people in the business can see that people actually like their Music. Social proof is everything and especially on an online press pack.
Big Plans for 2021
I have some really exciting new things coming up in 2021. I can’t really say a whole lot as there are those who would gladly Copy what I am doing as some have tried to do in the past. They can copy all they like when I am finished and established in my own Idea.
I will say that the new ideas I have will help Artists progress more through the website and in their careers. I will be putting together a natural step by step progression for artists within the Musibiz.
The progression will be based on the work the artists puts into their own act. I will put the tools in there and it is up to the artist to use them. I cant do it for them but I can certainly create lots of opportunities and it is up to them to take them or not.
You get out what you put in as they say and I am willing to put my every effort into this so you the artist can see the benefits by your own efforts.
Please don’t be shy and let me know if there is something you would like to share with me in regards to help Artists more. What would you like on this website that would help you? Let me know as I start rebuilding. Tell what’s missing for you and in this industry. You are the Artists and it’s your industry so be heard. Not too many out there listening but I am since 2005 so let’s be having you.
Please follow this website over the next few months for changes because they are coming and in stages. As I build and grow I want you to do the same within this website. I want this to be a community effort and not a lone Journey like is was in previous years. I am only one man trying to make things better. I need help from the Music community so all this has the energy to move forward.
Send me an email if any of the above resonates. As you see I have worked very hard for you all and it was all done for free. I’ve spent over a decade and a half of my life to this so make yourselves known to me and let’s do something together. I encourage Artists to spread this site, this page to everyone in the business so they can get involved and actually build something for the future.
Many thanks for reading my story and managing to get this far. I didn’t want it to be a boring about page but something you could follow and understand the man behind this whole thing. It’s a passion I have to help and solve some problems in the industry. It hasn’t been easy but it certainly has being interesting. Here’s to the Next Decade and a half.