By Caleb Hsu
You’ve seen our previous reviews of music-related apps, which are progressively shaping the way musicians interact with technology. However, none of the apps we’ve addressed prior deal with artist managers or attempt to mitigate voids in the industry’s financial accounting area—that is, until now. Nashville-based singer/songwriter and data analyst Matt Urmy is the brain behind the creation of Artist Growth (AG), the only mobile platform for music business management currently available.
The conceptualization of this app was initially born out of the frustration Matt faced while touring without an inkling of how to manage his finances. With the influx of countless software developments and incompatible programs all fighting to resolve the issue of keeping track of where your money goes while you’re on the road, he quickly realized that a better, simpler solution was needed. Matt mentioned that “the biggest inspiration [in creating the AG] platform was that every artist and industry veteran [he] showed the concept to responded with overwhelming confirmation that it was a need across the industry.” He continued, “once I realized we had an opportunity to create a piece of technology that could help to stabilize an industry that had been so disrupted, it was hard to consider not doing it.”
What Artist Growth sets out to accomplish for musicians and their respective managers is to streamline the way finances and spending are accounted for, tours are booked, and earnings are tracked. With AG, you can organize all of the daily business tasks associated with an active music career from managing gigs, merch inventory, industry contacts, social media, and PROs (performing rights organizations). This app eliminates the frustration of trying to sync multiple platforms such as Google calendar with Excel documents, transferring extensive contact databases from Outlook to Apple Contacts, and cross-referencing inventory and expenses on the go. Matt added that “Artist Growth is a system by which [users] can centralize all of these moving pieces so they can spend their time being strategic, not chasing down information all day from multiple sources.”
We asked Matt what some of the challenges were in creating such a robust platform that covers so many bases within the music business. Here’s what he said:
“Making the leap from touring songwriter to tech entrepreneur didn’t happen overnight…”
“…There were many iterations of the vision that were discarded before anything actually got started,” Matt explained. “The other big challenge was designing the system in a way that would meet needs across career levels. A professional artist manager has a different set of needs than a college band. But our vision was to create an operating system that could serve both. It’s a challenge we live with everyday.”
Matt further explained that, “today, fans are engaging with music and artist brands at the speed of silicon, and the old tools used to track market activity – as well as plan and manage business initiatives – no longer get the job done.” Artist Growth exists to provide the industry an operating system that can centralize business data, scheduling workflow, and team project management. Independent artists are struggling to do everything themselves. So, through AG, managers can easily document every sale, show, expense, and online engagement — essentially building a career portfolio that’s based on real-world data. This gives them something to show potential partners like managers, agents, labels, publicists, promoters and angel investors. Matt stated that “artists shouldn’t have to be on their computer all day in order to start building a career.”
“Artists shouldn’t have to be on their computer all day in order to start building a career.”
Artist Growth was named “Best Music App of 2012” by MTV, beating hugely successful apps such as Spotify. Since its creation, AG has raised over $2 million in investments, as well as gained usage by over 9,000 indie artists and big names in the business (e.g. Ke$ha and Kings of Leon). Matt said that the response has been overwhelmingly positive. “We are constantly inundated with feature requests from our clients begging us to add new integrations and functions everyday. The exciting part is the level of feedback and engagement we get—and, that just about every suggestion we’ve received in terms of functionality is already on our roadmap [for implementation] in one way or another.”
For all you entrepreneurs out there looking to establish a startup initiative yourselves, Matt offered some great advice.
“If you want to start your own company, the first thing I advise anyone to do is to build a small and brilliant team of advisors…”
“…Find people that are way smarter than you, and who won’t hesitate to burn your ideas to the ground (in a loving way). This will save you making huge mistakes, and help insure that when you do launch your company, that you are starting on a track to success. Be ready to work harder than you ever have in your life.” It’s no wonder why Artist Growth has taken off and will undoubtedly continue to rapidly expand. It goes to show that taking the initiative to solve the problems musicians face everyday is not a pursuit made in vain. Feel free to comment below with any similar platforms you’ve come across—We love finding new developments that reshape the way the music industry thrives!
Get all the details of Artist Growth here.
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