By Dave Turnbull Veteran Songwriter & Star Connector

More Than A Location
When people are looking to set up shop, location is a key factor. You want a place that’s easy to get to and around other things that’ll draw people your way.

That’s just the start of it though. Plenty of restaurants and bars will come and go if they lack that certain something that brings people back week after week. There are a lot of words for it: vibe, aesthetic, mood. All I know is that it’s a conscious effort to make a space that feels both exciting and familiar.

Live music venues are the perfect example. There are a lot of places to perform so if a venue is going to carve a name for itself it has to have character.

An app can’t change the appeal of a location or the character that defines a venue. What it can do is solve the problems of the people running it.

The Venue’s (Many) Dilemmas
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen a lot of improvements in the over 20 years that I’ve been writing and performing songs. Bookkeeping has gotten cleaner with useful management apps, there are more payment options than ever, and social media has provided new opportunities for promotion.

The challenge now is that there are too many tools for a venue to schedule and market their events, sell house merchandise, keep track of 1099s with all their employees and performers and pay out at the end of the night especially if they have to split the door with members of a band or multiple singer/songwriters. Running a business is already a headache. Now you look at a manager’s screen and they’ve got a bunch of windows open and four programs running to make sure the bills get paid.

Not to mention that most of these apps are for general use and were not specifically designed with musicians, venue owners, and fans in mind.

If You Build It, They Will Run
Staks first caught my attention when I was looking for a solution to the problem of too many tools. With their two apps, StaksMusician for performers and StaksPay for fans and venues, I saw the tools built from the ground up with these groups and their needs as the focus.

Recently I was down in Florida for a large four day songwriting festival with many of Nashville’s biggest names on the bill. The turnout was amazing and everyone had a blast but man did I feel bad for the organizer of the event.

After months of emails back and forth with 60+ performers he then had to hand write each performer a check distributed at three different venues, pay the lighting crews, the sound crews, and collect and distribute money received from auctioned items to several different charities. I started a conversation with him about Staks and what it would be like for him to simply send an email to all the performers months ahead of time saying scan this QR code to download StaksPay to get paid for this festival. You can imagine his excitement at the prospect.

All the little details that complicate a smooth operation now have an easy and accessible solution that doesn’t require a bunch of subscriptions to run and all of the people involved instantly have their money in their accounts without having to run around looking for their envelope holding a paper check.

A Vision Worth Celebratin’
I’ve seen the difference these apps make firsthand and it has me excited for what’s to come. Musicians get paid automatically and have their tips divided between them and their bandmates or other singer/songwriters at a writer’s night based on an easy ratio they can set in the StaksMusician app. They can also sell their merchandise and their music, post their bios, schedule upcoming shows and connect with their fans on the same application. With StaksPay, the fans can keep track of their favorite musicians, buy their merch and music, and actually interact with them when they tip.

I’m blown away by what Staks has been able to accomplish so far and I’m even more excited for everything that’s to come. There’s something indescribable about when it all comes together and there’s that warm buzz in the air during a live show. I’m in talks with different venue owners and operators about these new tools and they’re as excited as I am. After all, wherever you enter the equation, we’re all just looking to come together and enjoy some live music and I believe StaksPay and StaksMusician will make that as easy as it gets in the near future.