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Interview: Holly Hagerman, founder at AmptUp.com
Episode 2020th July 2022 • PowerPivot • Leela Sinha
00:00:00 00:56:15

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Join Leela for a conversation with Holly Hagerman, founder at AmptUp.com, an online marketplace to connect venues and musicians through a lens of equity, fair pay and contract usage. Holly shares stories about the founding of the company and talks about AmptUp's mission-based objectives of making it easier for music and venues to make a living; increasing equity, both in pay and representation, for people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ commuities; and making any city a Music City. All while using booking fees to create a steady stream of grants.

Links!

AmtUp website: https://www.amptup.com/

Find AmptUp on Instagram and Facebook.

Find NIVA (the National Independent Venue Association): https://www.nivassoc.org/

and information about the Save Our Stages Act: https://www.saveourstages.com/

Transcripts

Leela Sinha:

Hi everyone and welcome to Power Pivot, where we

Leela Sinha:

talk about power, community, leadership, and ethics. I'm your

Leela Sinha:

host, Leela Sinha. Today I am so pleased to have Holly Hagerman

Leela Sinha:

here with me. She is the founder of AmptUp.com, an online

Leela Sinha:

marketplace that connects musicians and venues in ways

Leela Sinha:

that cut booking time in half, and is dedicated to

Leela Sinha:

transparency, equity and fair pay. So you can see why I was

Leela Sinha:

interested in having her on. She is a Texas native and a two-time

Leela Sinha:

founder. Her first company was an award-winning B Corp

Leela Sinha:

certified boutique marketing agency serving socially

Leela Sinha:

conscious and environmentally friendly businesses. So she's

Leela Sinha:

been at this ethics thing a while. At AmptUp, together with

Leela Sinha:

her co-founder, Frederic Rouault, a musician and venue

Leela Sinha:

production professional, she brings digital marketing

Leela Sinha:

know-how ,insider industry knowledge, and, most

Leela Sinha:

importantly, passion to her work. Her goal is not just to

Leela Sinha:

reopen live music, but to reconstruct and democratize it.

Leela Sinha:

Welcome, Holly, thank you so much for being here.

Holly Hargerman:

Thank you so much for having me. I'm really

Holly Hargerman:

delighted.

Leela Sinha:

I am so excited for our conversation, I was telling

Leela Sinha:

my assistant earlier that you've got this incredible business

Leela Sinha:

plan that you're just you're, you're fixing such an important

Leela Sinha:

problem. And I'm I'm just I'm delighted to begin to dig into

Leela Sinha:

it with you. So. So let's start with your own description of

Leela Sinha:

what your business does, because I want people to have context

Leela Sinha:

for when we start talking about why you're doing it.

Leela Sinha:

than we understand theoretical explanations: I'm a musician and

Leela Sinha:

I want to use your service, how does it work?

Leela Sinha:

create your profile, and then, well, on a lot of musician

Leela Sinha:

websites, and there are plenty of them out there, you then just

Leela Sinha:

sit and wait, you build a profile and you sit and wait

Leela Sinha:

until you're found. On AmptUp, you don't have to do that. This

Leela Sinha:

is actually a tool that allows you to streamline your booking

Leela Sinha:

from the musician's side, allowing them to build their

Leela Sinha:

career. So you can create that profile. And then you can

Leela Sinha:

immediately jump into our venue search and tour routing tool to

Leela Sinha:

either do a local search of venues or to do searches for

Leela Sinha:

venues in other locations that you want to tour to. So you can

Leela Sinha:

put points on a map, and you can receive 1000s of contacts for

Leela Sinha:

venues in those locations. Right now, we're in Texas, Louisiana,

Leela Sinha:

Arkansas, Tennessee, and Oregon and Washington. And so we have a

Leela Sinha:

contact database that's free, it's public, our goal is to have

Leela Sinha:

the world's largest free public database of contact information

Leela Sinha:

so that musicians can more easily route their tours. So

Leela Sinha:

they put points on a map, they get all of that contact

Leela Sinha:

information back based on the filters they put in for the

Leela Sinha:

venues they want to play in that will fit their audience, and

Leela Sinha:

they start pitching. And even if the venues are not on our

Leela Sinha:

platform, because we're just starting out. So just in the

Leela Sinha:

last couple of weeks have we started even communicating with

Leela Sinha:

the venues and trying to get them to join our platform. But

Leela Sinha:

we've designed this so that musicians don't have to wait. We

Leela Sinha:

have an enormous database, the most robust for our areas so

Leela Sinha:

far, so that they can start pitching exactly as they

Leela Sinha:

normally would via email via phone. Because they're going to

Leela Sinha:

get all of that contact information and can broker those

Leela Sinha:

deals directly themselves. And if they would like they can then

Leela Sinha:

send them their booking link and say booked me on AmptUp. They'll

Leela Sinha:

get fast digital payments immediately after the show, and

Leela Sinha:

they'll get a contract every time. They'll get all of the

Leela Sinha:

details. The advanced details of the show, the backline of the

Leela Sinha:

venue, all in their contract for easy viewing.

Leela Sinha:

Okay, so, in short, if I'm a musician, I can go into

Leela Sinha:

AmptUp.com, I can put in where I am or where I'm expecting to be.

Leela Sinha:

And I will get contact information for venues in those

Leela Sinha:

places. And then I can do my regular routine, just pitch them

Leela Sinha:

directly. And then if they say, Yes, I have the option, I don't

Leela Sinha:

have to, but I have the option of using your service to get the

Leela Sinha:

contract, to get the payment, to do the booking. And then you

Leela Sinha:

streamline that process for me.

Holly Hargerman:

You got it. You nailed it.

Leela Sinha:

Awesome. Awesome. I am not a performing musician,

Leela Sinha:

myself. But you know that that old adage, don't date the

Leela Sinha:

drummer, I didn't get the drummer, but I did date the

Leela Sinha:

singer-songwriter for a while, so I have some sense of what

Leela Sinha:

that might be like. And from a venue's perspective, like, Okay,

Leela Sinha:

I'm a venue owner, and I have some empty spots. What can I do?

Holly Hargerman:

So similar to the musicians, there's really

Holly Hargerman:

two sides to this platform for both sides. One is the

Holly Hargerman:

discovery. So they can actually go on there and find musicians,

Holly Hargerman:

right on our homepage, I can do that. And we have some really

Holly Hargerman:

unique filters that don't exist anywhere else in the world. For

Holly Hargerman:

example, because the musician has just gone in and put the

Holly Hargerman:

points on the map of where they wanted to go. And then receive

Holly Hargerman:

those venue contacts back, the venue can actually then search

Holly Hargerman:

that through the back end, and find all the musicians that are

Holly Hargerman:

going to be touring in their area. So they can search local,

Holly Hargerman:

they can search touring nearby, they can also search in a way

Holly Hargerman:

that they can infuse a little bit more diversity. If the

Holly Hargerman:

musician self-identifies by certain historically

Holly Hargerman:

marginalized communities, they can also search by independent

Holly Hargerman:

or agent-represented for the representation. So they can do

Holly Hargerman:

all of these different searches, find the musicians listen to

Holly Hargerman:

their music, and see all of the information, who's in their

Holly Hargerman:

band, watch videos on how they perform live, and make a

Holly Hargerman:

decision. So that's the discovery element. But like the

Holly Hargerman:

musicians, there's this whole streamlining side of things

Holly Hargerman:

where there's a contract, every time, the payments are handled

Holly Hargerman:

digitally, the W-9s are handled by our system, you don't ever

Holly Hargerman:

have to look at them again. And so it's very organized and easy.

Holly Hargerman:

So if they choose to not discover musicians on our

Holly Hargerman:

platform, they can allow musicians to pitch them by

Holly Hargerman:

putting their profile link on their website and say, pitch us

Holly Hargerman:

through AmptUp. And they can organize all of their pitches

Holly Hargerman:

through there as well.

Leela Sinha:

Wow. I don't know about owning a venue. But I know

Leela Sinha:

that if I were, if such a tool existed for hiring contractors

Leela Sinha:

for my business, I'd be all over it. So this is a really kind of

Leela Sinha:

innovative approach, isn't it? Do you have a lot of

Leela Sinha:

competition? So Holly Hargerman: So it's a

Leela Sinha:

response to that, in one sense, you could say yes, there's tons

Leela Sinha:

of competition. I mean, you know, you just can't walk five

Leela Sinha:

steps without tripping over another musician-oriented

Leela Sinha:

website. The problem is, or maybe the benefit is, that none

Leela Sinha:

of them do even half of the things that we do. I actually

Leela Sinha:

created just for my team in the last month, I can't believe it

Leela Sinha:

took me so long, but I created one of those competitor charts.

Leela Sinha:

And I marked down all of the things that we do, and then all

Leela Sinha:

the things that competitors do and in a chart, and it's just

Leela Sinha:

this sea of red x's, there's only like, in fact, our greatest

Leela Sinha:

competitors is Google, Gmail, and G calendar, those are our

Leela Sinha:

greatest competitors. Because they do those two things very

Leela Sinha:

well. And that's really one of the biggest jobs of booking. But

Leela Sinha:

it's very hard to find any other website that will allow you to

Leela Sinha:

actually broker a deal online that allow you to actually get

Leela Sinha:

paid online, they really mimic the old standards of you know,

Leela Sinha:

the the grind and showing up and get getting paid in cash and

Leela Sinha:

waiting until 2am and talking to the bar manager after

Leela Sinha:

everybody's left to get your money or, you know, coming back

Leela Sinha:

driving across town to get your check. So I would say that it is

Leela Sinha:

very difficult for us to find a direct competitor. But there are

Leela Sinha:

a few. Gig Salad, for example, does help you find musicians,

Leela Sinha:

but they don't allow professionals, industry

Leela Sinha:

professionals, to really broker a deal. So for example, you

Leela Sinha:

can't be paid based on ticket sales. And I'm not sure that you

Leela Sinha:

can even be paid online all of the time. It's not a requirement

Leela Sinha:

there, you can get paid in cash. And they don't have any of the

Leela Sinha:

streamlining tools. So it's not really our market. But most

Leela Sinha:

importantly, there're really hefty subscription fees. So

Leela Sinha:

that's something, you know, we've just done a lot of deep

Leela Sinha:

listening, hundreds of hours of deep listening, and while I

Leela Sinha:

don't think anything we're doing is a surprise. I think it's kind

Leela Sinha:

of like putting wheels on luggage. All you had to do is

Leela Sinha:

listen to the audience and and they would have told you exactly

Leela Sinha:

how to build what we've built. It's not a secret. Its actually

Leela Sinha:

it exists in all of the minds of all the venues and musicians

Leela Sinha:

that we talk to. We just put it all together.

Leela Sinha:

You know, sometimes I think that that is the genius

Leela Sinha:

of a software company is to put it all together. Because so

Leela Sinha:

often somebody is sitting at their computer and going, why

Leela Sinha:

doesn't this program that everybody use, do this thing

Leela Sinha:

that everybody needs?

Holly Hargerman:

Exactly.

Leela Sinha:

Like, the number of times I've gone into a Google

Leela Sinha:

tool, it's not like Google is underfunded, the number of times

Leela Sinha:

I've gone into a Google tool and been like, I need to do X, it

Leela Sinha:

must be able to do X, and searched their help forums. And

Leela Sinha:

it's been 10 years of people asking for them to please make

Leela Sinha:

it do X. And they just haven't chosen to make it a priority.

Holly Hargerman:

Yes, yeah. Leela Sinha: And that's the only

Holly Hargerman:

it's not like they can't afford the programmers. Right? We're

Holly Hargerman:

not talking about a little mom and pop shop we're not talking

Holly Hargerman:

about, although I will say that I've just discovered getdex.com

Holly Hargerman:

and I am enthralled with Dex, because it's a Rolodex,

Holly Hargerman:

what's it called?

Leela Sinha:

it's called getdex.com. The name of the tool

Leela Sinha:

is Dex, but their URL is getdex, and I have just discovered them

Leela Sinha:

through a friend, she knew the founder. And so she was like,

Leela Sinha:

you know, this is a new company, but they're doing something

Leela Sinha:

that's very basic, and that nobody else is doing. You know,

Leela Sinha:

it's one thing if you need a CRM, where you need this giant,

Leela Sinha:

you know, pipeline sales tracking system. But what I

Leela Sinha:

needed was a Rolodex that had space for notes and updates, and

Leela Sinha:

would connect with my calendar, because my entire business is

Leela Sinha:

based on relationships. And so out of nowhere comes this

Leela Sinha:

company that's making an online Rolodex.

Holly Hargerman:

Perfect. Well, you know, it's funny, like you

Holly Hargerman:

said, a lot of this is just organizing, and I've always told

Holly Hargerman:

my mom and my friends that, but you know, when I grew up and

Holly Hargerman:

retire, I want to be a professional organizer. Like, I

Holly Hargerman:

just want to go into people's houses and organize their

Holly Hargerman:

closets. And my parents are always like groaning when I come

Holly Hargerman:

home, because I'm like, you know what this country needs, it

Holly Hargerman:

needs a complete reorganization. And then they can't find

Holly Hargerman:

anything, and they're grumbling about how they, they can't find

Holly Hargerman:

that 30 year old aspirin bottle. And so, you know, I realized

Holly Hargerman:

that what I'm doing now is actually the dream, like, I'm

Holly Hargerman:

just organizing information and systems and processes. So it's

Holly Hargerman:

really a happy skill fit for me,

Leela Sinha:

you know, I am an unrepentant at this point,

Leela Sinha:

disorganized person, like, I know where the stuff is that is

Leela Sinha:

important, but everything else, it's gonna take me a minute. If

Leela Sinha:

it's got a place, if everything had a place, that'd be great.

Leela Sinha:

But I'm always acquiring more stuff until I haven't got enough

Leela Sinha:

space for it. I just have too many balls in the air. So I'm

Leela Sinha:

really grateful for people who are doing what you're doing.

Leela Sinha:

Because if I were in the music performance business, I would be

Leela Sinha:

so relieved. I would be so relieved. To have, you know, a

Leela Sinha:

single tool. Every time somebody comes up with a business tool

Leela Sinha:

that's like, okay, we're putting everything in one place, I have

Leela Sinha:

to go research it and I have to take a look and see if it makes

Leela Sinha:

sense for me. Because the amount-- you know, a lot of

Leela Sinha:

people talk about it as the neurodiversity tax. Like, if

Leela Sinha:

you're, if you've got ADHD, or if you're autistic, there's

Leela Sinha:

certain things that are harder to do. And so you just don't do

Leela Sinha:

them. And then you end up paying late fees, you end up you know,

Leela Sinha:

getting fined, you end up getting a ticket on your car,

Leela Sinha:

because you didn't renew your registration. Why? Eh? It fell

Leela Sinha:

off the edge of your plate. And so having anything, especially

Leela Sinha:

when you're dealing with contracts, and making sure

Leela Sinha:

people get paid-- like I when I'm working with small

Leela Sinha:

businesses, especially, I mean, anybody but especially small

Leela Sinha:

businesses, I want to make sure that they get paid, I want to

Leela Sinha:

make sure they get paid on time. And I want to make sure I'm

Leela Sinha:

working with businesses that are going to make the world a better

Leela Sinha:

place in some way. And your business model is so interesting

Leela Sinha:

to me. Go ahead.

Holly Hargerman:

Thank you. Well, you know, you keep talking

Holly Hargerman:

about businesses and business tools. And, and I think what's

Holly Hargerman:

really interesting is, as I started talking to more and more

Holly Hargerman:

musicians, I realized that they are not necessarily using those

Holly Hargerman:

words, but that's exactly what they want to be and what they

Holly Hargerman:

want to do is they want to advance their career. And as I

Holly Hargerman:

started using those words, like we, you know, we want to help

Holly Hargerman:

grow your career, we want to help you, you know, take it to

Holly Hargerman:

another professional level. We, you know, we believe that you

Holly Hargerman:

can't grow as a business person, unless you have this, like a

Holly Hargerman:

contract, and you understand the terms of the deal before you

Holly Hargerman:

drive 30 minutes and set up your gear. And people started

Holly Hargerman:

thanking me and being appreciative of just sort of the

Holly Hargerman:

recognition that they are businesses. and that they

Holly Hargerman:

deserve proper business tools, not just a gimmicky, flashy,

Holly Hargerman:

brightly colored sight. You know, it's funny, because most

Holly Hargerman:

of the time is as I start searching for investors, and

Holly Hargerman:

we're doing a funding round. So many of them asked me if I

Holly Hargerman:

consider myself to be b2b or b2c. And I feel like, what kind

Holly Hargerman:

of question is that? Of course, it's b2b. You know, we're not

Holly Hargerman:

only connecting two different business parties, and we're a

Holly Hargerman:

business and there a business, there's no doubt in my mind,

Holly Hargerman:

it's a b2b model. And they're like, Oh, well just kind of

Holly Hargerman:

seems like it's b2c. And I heard that so many times from

Holly Hargerman:

investors and other people, because the entertainment world

Holly Hargerman:

feels, you know, everybody can instantly connect to

Holly Hargerman:

entertainment in their life. Whereas like health care it, you

Holly Hargerman:

know, that's just, it's very clearly going to be b2b. It's

Holly Hargerman:

dry, maybe it doesn't-- maybe you had some negative

Holly Hargerman:

experiences with it. But with music, everybody can connect on

Holly Hargerman:

a very human consumer level. But the people that we're serving,

Holly Hargerman:

they want, they want to grow, and they want to kind of tap

Holly Hargerman:

into that business side and make things easier, and they want the

Holly Hargerman:

business tools, just like we want business tools in any other

Holly Hargerman:

industry.

Leela Sinha:

Yes, and I think that that's an interesting place

Leela Sinha:

to start digging into the kind of ethical side of what you're

Leela Sinha:

doing. Because what's happening as I'm hearing you describe it.

Leela Sinha:

And I think that that's reflected in my own experience,

Leela Sinha:

is that the musicians, the performers, are themselves often

Leela Sinha:

struggling to see themselves not as hobbyists but as businesses,

Leela Sinha:

at least at the beginning. And so that's a piece of it, but the

Leela Sinha:

bigger piece of it is that they are trying to be seen by the

Leela Sinha:

venues as businesses rather than as, as hobbyists, and to get the

Leela Sinha:

respect that a business should get.

Holly Hargerman:

You know, I actually don't think it's... I

Holly Hargerman:

don't think it starts with the venues. I think it starts with

Holly Hargerman:

society at large, and how we treat people with a musical

Holly Hargerman:

passion and the possibility that it can be a viable career, and a

Holly Hargerman:

viable livelihood. And it is in many other parts of the world,

Holly Hargerman:

where you have more of a kind of a middle class of professional

Holly Hargerman:

musician, whereas in America, it's really like feast or

Holly Hargerman:

famine, like you're the Beyonce's of the world, and

Holly Hargerman:

you've hit it big, or, you know, you're your weekend warrior, and

Holly Hargerman:

you've got your day job. And, and I think that other cultures

Holly Hargerman:

around the world, just appreciate the place that music

Holly Hargerman:

has, and those people's place as artists and the value that that

Holly Hargerman:

brings to our society. And so, you know, if they go to school

Holly Hargerman:

to a conservatory, or for music in some way, there's, there's

Holly Hargerman:

absolutely no concern or stigma around that. And so, you know,

Holly Hargerman:

I, I see that the venues do treat the musicians, as

Holly Hargerman:

professionals, however, we have not equipped musicians with the

Holly Hargerman:

professional training, to understand that they have the

Holly Hargerman:

right to understand the terms of the deal beforehand, that they

Holly Hargerman:

have the right to negotiate, that they have the right to ask

Holly Hargerman:

for payment in certain ways, you know, like, by Pay Pal, or by

Holly Hargerman:

credit card, not by check, not at two in the morning, upfront,

Holly Hargerman:

give me a deposit, these are all things that they can do, but we

Holly Hargerman:

don't have the proper infrastructure and, and

Holly Hargerman:

understanding to funnel musicians into that business

Holly Hargerman:

training. And I think it's evidenced by all the technology

Holly Hargerman:

as well is that, you know, there's just a bunch of consumer

Holly Hargerman:

facing sites, they are not SAAS tools, business tools. And you

Holly Hargerman:

know, when I do see the one or two that do provide serious data

Holly Hargerman:

or analytics for musicians to grow their career and see how

Holly Hargerman:

they're performing on social media and all these other things

Holly Hargerman:

and, and kind of aggregate the data, they're always talking

Holly Hargerman:

about, you know, how they need to make it fun and, and bright

Holly Hargerman:

and beautiful and creative because they're working with

Holly Hargerman:

creatives, they need to make it easier. And I think that that's

Holly Hargerman:

wonderful, you know, because you do have the left and right brain

Holly Hargerman:

merging there. But it's just to say that there aren't a lot of

Holly Hargerman:

tools that focus on the business need and serve the musician and

Holly Hargerman:

treat them as a business professional. Even though

Holly Hargerman:

they're showing up that way and most of them that I am talking

Holly Hargerman:

with are treating their career as you would any, you know, any

Holly Hargerman:

sales job or any job that that you need to go out there you

Holly Hargerman:

need to hustle you need to be organized. You have to have your

Holly Hargerman:

spreadsheets you need to make maintain relationships, you need

Holly Hargerman:

to do your networking, you need to have your business cards, you

Holly Hargerman:

need to have your, your release, you need to do your social media

Holly Hargerman:

and your press relations. They're doing all of these

Holly Hargerman:

things across a really large span of skills. And they're all

Holly Hargerman:

self learning it for the most part.

Leela Sinha:

Yeah, I remember the first time-- I've been, I

Leela Sinha:

started out in the coaching world. And now I do, of course,

Leela Sinha:

more consulting and coaching kind of a mix. But when I

Leela Sinha:

started out in 2009, there were no business tools for coaches.

Leela Sinha:

None. And I remember the first time somebody said, "Hey, yeah,

Leela Sinha:

I'm creating a tool that's going to pull together like the

Leela Sinha:

booking and the contract and the calendar". And I was like, "Tell

Leela Sinha:

me more."

Holly Hargerman:

Right?

Leela Sinha:

Because before that, it was. It was me on my

Leela Sinha:

phone was Google Calendar. That was the only way you could book

Leela Sinha:

me because that was the only tool available. And of course,

Leela Sinha:

that's not the case anymore. So what you're doing is, I think,

Leela Sinha:

really important. And I think your point about the the art, I

Leela Sinha:

would say I would even say it's the arts in general, is well

Leela Sinha:

taken, that we in this country, in the United States especially,

Leela Sinha:

don't respect the decision to make the arts a career because

Leela Sinha:

we don't respect the arts the way we need to.

Holly Hargerman:

Yeah, and that's a really kind of big and

Holly Hargerman:

multi pronged conversation. And I think part of it, you know, we

Holly Hargerman:

as consumers must examine our consumption habits. So for

Holly Hargerman:

example, if you pay $10 a month, for all-you-can-eat music,

Holly Hargerman:

essentially, you have to then wonder how are you compensating

Holly Hargerman:

the people who are feeding you this constant creativity. And

Holly Hargerman:

they're, they're probably not getting compensated

Holly Hargerman:

appropriately based on the consumption that we're doing.

Holly Hargerman:

And so that feeds into as well, that difficulty of elevating the

Holly Hargerman:

musician, and the venue as well, to these, these professionals,

Holly Hargerman:

that professional level. And, you know, the third part of our

Holly Hargerman:

mission is to make any city a Music City. And within that, if

Holly Hargerman:

we can percolate music into every corner of America, which

Holly Hargerman:

it is already there, I mean, I used to live on an Indian

Holly Hargerman:

reservation. And, you know, they might not have had lawyers or

Holly Hargerman:

accountants, or even a decent grocery store within 30 minutes.

Holly Hargerman:

But they did have really great live music, they had several

Holly Hargerman:

stages nearby. They also had a really great medical facility,

Holly Hargerman:

fortunately. So you know, I think that we underestimate

Holly Hargerman:

where music is, and how it fits into our lives. And now we just

Holly Hargerman:

need to add a little bit more structure to, sort of rising

Holly Hargerman:

tide floats all boats, spread that music inventory out and

Holly Hargerman:

make sure that musicians have access to it, that they can,

Holly Hargerman:

they can get into venues wherever they need to go on the

Holly Hargerman:

way on the route to wherever they're headed next.

Leela Sinha:

So let's talk more about the ethics. Why did you

Leela Sinha:

decide that this was important? Like yes, there's a gap in the

Leela Sinha:

market. And that's absolutely important. But why-- I know that

Leela Sinha:

we talked a little bit when we we talked before the interview

Leela Sinha:

about the the equity piece, the diversity piece, can you talk a

Leela Sinha:

little bit about why that's so important to you?

Holly Hargerman:

Well, you know, it kind of goes back a few steps

Holly Hargerman:

and I'm sort of wondering where to start. So I started this with

Holly Hargerman:

my husband, we were originally planning to create a rehearsal

Holly Hargerman:

studio space with a cafe and a bar, like the one he had grown

Holly Hargerman:

up with in France. And we had been working on it for several

Holly Hargerman:

years, I was working on the business plan when the whole

Holly Hargerman:

world shut down for lockdown. And it was April 2, I remember

Holly Hargerman:

because it was my birthday and just turned over to midnight.

Holly Hargerman:

And I just kept thinking and thinking, it's not enough, it's

Holly Hargerman:

not enough, it just, it feels like it falls flat, it'll be

Holly Hargerman:

fine. But by the time we get this thing launched, it'll be

Holly Hargerman:

fine. People will be ready to go out again and all that but it

Holly Hargerman:

just doesn't seem like it's going to be helping enough

Holly Hargerman:

people. And so then I had this lightbulb moment where I

Holly Hargerman:

realized, you know, I have been in the position of a big talent

Holly Hargerman:

buyer for various events for my previous company, and always

Holly Hargerman:

really had to do a lot of legwork to find musicians. And

Holly Hargerman:

so the light bulb went off and I realized, hey, there's not

Holly Hargerman:

really a good place to find them. So that's kind of that the

Holly Hargerman:

founding story now how that relates to the diversity and

Holly Hargerman:

equity piece is that I didn't know a lot about the industry

Holly Hargerman:

because I'm not a musician, even though I'm married to a

Holly Hargerman:

musician. And when I told him that he said, Oh, this is so

Holly Hargerman:

needed, you know, musicians just really need help. And he started

Holly Hargerman:

telling me all about his friends and the issues that they were

Holly Hargerman:

having Whereas I would just came at it from solving, you know,

Holly Hargerman:

maybe my own problem of trying to find musicians. So I really

Holly Hargerman:

had to do lots of deep listening. And fortunately for

Holly Hargerman:

my previous business, that was something that I had trained in.

Holly Hargerman:

And so I sat and I listened. And I called one person who I knew

Holly Hargerman:

who had a lot of creative people in her life. And she connected

Holly Hargerman:

me to some musicians. And then those people, they talked to me

Holly Hargerman:

and I listened, and they connected me to other people.

Holly Hargerman:

And I, they talked, and I listened. And I just pummeled

Holly Hargerman:

them with questions. And one of the things that I kept hearing

Holly Hargerman:

over and over again, between April and June-ish was this,

Holly Hargerman:

sometimes overt, and sometimes subtle, racism and sexism that

Holly Hargerman:

seemed to be pervasive for any of the people I spoke to that

Holly Hargerman:

were not white males. And, and that really struck me, it made

Holly Hargerman:

me it made me really sad. Because I knew that they just

Holly Hargerman:

felt that they weren't really able to fully achieve their

Holly Hargerman:

dream through no fault of their own. And then, of course, at

Holly Hargerman:

that same time, there was the murder of George Floyd, which

Holly Hargerman:

touched me deeply, and changed my life and my understanding of

Holly Hargerman:

my place in it and, and how we all fit together. And at that

Holly Hargerman:

point, I decided that this had to be a core function, not just

Holly Hargerman:

a mission or a nice idea, it had to be embedded in the

Holly Hargerman:

functionality and the leadership of the team. And so first, I set

Holly Hargerman:

out to make sure that we were providing financial

Holly Hargerman:

opportunities to people of color, women, LGBTQ communities,

Holly Hargerman:

so that we could start there, because I think that that is one

Holly Hargerman:

of the best places,

Leela Sinha:

opportunities within your company.

Holly Hargerman:

That's right, yeah, to make

Holly Hargerman:

this, but that the ideas inside those brains were, were bringing

Holly Hargerman:

more diverse perspectives. And so that, you know, others could

Holly Hargerman:

see these people in a leadership position and either, you know,

Holly Hargerman:

feel inspired by that, or start to create new normals. So that

Holly Hargerman:

was part one of it. But part two of it was to ensure that it was

Holly Hargerman:

embedded in the functionality. So in my previous studies, in

Holly Hargerman:

marketing, for my previous business, you know, I just

Holly Hargerman:

consumed social science, social psychology studies, I loved

Holly Hargerman:

that. And one of the studies that I read, it's pretty well

Holly Hargerman:

known, is that when people, you're trying to get people to

Holly Hargerman:

do behavior change for marketing, or anything, could be

Holly Hargerman:

for charity, they did three different steps. So first, they

Holly Hargerman:

gave out awareness, they went door to door, and they handed

Holly Hargerman:

out educational information. The second is that they, you know,

Holly Hargerman:

it was for an electrical company, for example, they would

Holly Hargerman:

show you your past usage, and give you all the educational

Holly Hargerman:

material. And then the third group, they would give them the

Holly Hargerman:

educational material, show them their past usage, and then show

Holly Hargerman:

their usage compared to their peers in the neighborhood, their

Holly Hargerman:

neighbors. And the third group was the one that had a

Holly Hargerman:

significantly greater behavior change. And so I took that, and

Holly Hargerman:

I said, I bet we could do the same thing with hiring

Holly Hargerman:

practices. Because why is nobody doing this now. And I looked at

Holly Hargerman:

the murder of George Floyd and I looked at, you know, the exact

Holly Hargerman:

same thing that had happened four years previously, you know,

Holly Hargerman:

in broad daylight on video camera, with a neck on a knee

Holly Hargerman:

from an officer. And I thought, why didn't that one make a huge

Holly Hargerman:

splash? There are certainly a lot of, you know,

Holly Hargerman:

socio-political things happening that are different now. But it

Holly Hargerman:

was almost exactly the same. And it occurred to me that awareness

Holly Hargerman:

is just not enough. And I didn't want us to get in the same old

Holly Hargerman:

trap of trying to raise awareness, and not change any

Holly Hargerman:

behavior. So I felt like, let's try to change technology. So

Holly Hargerman:

we're working on the designs, as we speak, I spoke to my designer

Holly Hargerman:

about it today, the designs have always been in my head and the

Holly Hargerman:

functionality has been in place since day one. And now we're

Holly Hargerman:

trying to kind of pull that back in together, which is it will

Holly Hargerman:

show venues, who they're hiring, and how much they're paying and

Holly Hargerman:

the frequency as well and then show it compared to their peers

Holly Hargerman:

based on those historically marginalized communities. So

Holly Hargerman:

they could see for example, okay, I'm paying men, about 20%

Holly Hargerman:

higher than I'm paying women so that they can have awareness

Holly Hargerman:

about their own behavior change. And then they can look at the

Holly Hargerman:

industry standard and say, oh, man, you know, the rest of the

Holly Hargerman:

industry is actually only like two percentage points difference

Holly Hargerman:

like, I'm pretty out of whack here. And then have an

Holly Hargerman:

opportunity to change their behavior. So that's sort of

Holly Hargerman:

where it came from and how it got implemented.

Leela Sinha:

That's so interesting to me because,

Leela Sinha:

because what it means is that-- I am a child of the 80s, I grew

Leela Sinha:

up in, in really like my elementary, middle school years

Leela Sinha:

were entirely in the 1980s. And so I was hammered with the, you

Leela Sinha:

know, the DARE program, the, the "just say no to drugs program,"

Leela Sinha:

right. And all of that is based on peer pressure. And what

Leela Sinha:

you're talking about is really leveraging the subtle social

Leela Sinha:

mechanisms behind peer pressure. Because typically, peer pressure

Leela Sinha:

doesn't come, you know, with a giant hammer and a big sign and

Leela Sinha:

neon. Peer pressure comes when we look around, and everyone

Leela Sinha:

around us is doing something different from what we're doing.

Leela Sinha:

And of course, that's a really interesting conversation right

Leela Sinha:

now with masking. But-- because, you know, in some places like I

Leela Sinha:

live in the Bay Area, masking is still very normal. Most of the

Leela Sinha:

time, if you go out, you'll see people without masks, you'll see

Leela Sinha:

people with masks, you'll see people, if you're walking

Leela Sinha:

outside, you'll see people with masks hanging off their wrists.

Leela Sinha:

And if they go inside a crowded space, or if they even if they

Leela Sinha:

enter a crowded space outdoors, often they'll just pop that mask

Leela Sinha:

on their face, nobody makes a big deal out of it. It's just

Leela Sinha:

normal. I have friends who live in Idaho, let me tell you, that

Leela Sinha:

is not the story. in Idaho. And, and so this is this is a really

Leela Sinha:

interesting place for ethics, because, because on the one

Leela Sinha:

hand, if they can see that they are dramatically out of line in

Leela Sinha:

a direction that they kind of know is ethically untenable,

Leela Sinha:

then it will encourage them to do better. Do you have any

Leela Sinha:

concerns that if they can see that everybody else is being

Leela Sinha:

terrible that they will feel like, oh, I don't have to worry

Leela Sinha:

about doing the right thing?

Holly Hargerman:

Oh, that is a really good question. I think

Holly Hargerman:

that's something that we'll have to give some thought to. I think

Holly Hargerman:

that there might be some room for us to impact that, to create

Holly Hargerman:

notifications, and to maybe add some alerts in. We do have on

Holly Hargerman:

the front side, a little bit of a poll for them. So their

Holly Hargerman:

information will be totally private, and it won't be shared

Holly Hargerman:

with anybody publicly, we will of course be able to aggregate

Holly Hargerman:

that data on the back end. And I think that data is extremely

Holly Hargerman:

powerful, because you can't manage it if you can't measure

Holly Hargerman:

it. And currently, there is almost no data anywhere about

Holly Hargerman:

diversity on the stage. And so we'll at least take that first

Holly Hargerman:

step to understand what it looks like. And then we can put it out

Holly Hargerman:

in front of people and say, women are getting paid 30% less

Holly Hargerman:

or 40% less on the stage, this is unacceptable. And we can

Holly Hargerman:

start to create awareness campaigns around that, while

Holly Hargerman:

combining that with the data right in front of their eyes

Holly Hargerman:

about what their usage is and what others usage is. And then

Holly Hargerman:

highlighting the changes. So maybe it's really terrible in

Holly Hargerman:

one location. And but we can highlight the pay equity has,

Holly Hargerman:

has come $5 closer to equal in the last month. And so we can

Holly Hargerman:

highlight that and start to cheerlead people and encourage

Holly Hargerman:

them, gamify in a little bit of a way in a sense to, to maybe

Holly Hargerman:

add a sense of belonging or competition to it. So for

Holly Hargerman:

example, if you reach certain standards, you will receive a

Holly Hargerman:

badge on your profile. And so that's kind of the pull of this

Holly Hargerman:

as well, is that they'll get that badge on their public

Holly Hargerman:

profile so that musicians can see that they are

Holly Hargerman:

female-friendly, or LGBTQ-friendly, so that they

Holly Hargerman:

know that they're welcome and that they're going to be

Holly Hargerman:

comfortable there. And so if that's important to that venue,

Holly Hargerman:

then then that might be something that would draw them

Holly Hargerman:

in as well.

Leela Sinha:

So they can see that they're friendly, and also

Leela Sinha:

maybe like a pay equity badge. Is that what you're what you're

Leela Sinha:

envisioning?

Holly Hargerman:

Exactly.

Leela Sinha:

this, this organization consistently, pays

Leela Sinha:

equitably, and presumably, hopefully people won't try and

Leela Sinha:

end run around that by you know, paying through your system and

Leela Sinha:

then a little extra on the side for the people that they want to

Leela Sinha:

incentivize.

Holly Hargerman:

I don't think they would go through that much

Holly Hargerman:

trouble. But, so, we're focusing on two elements. One is the pay

Holly Hargerman:

equity and the second is the hiring frequency. So making sure

Holly Hargerman:

that they're being brought onto the stage as often as others and

Holly Hargerman:

being paid equitably as well.

Leela Sinha:

Right? Because if you're not on the stage, you

Leela Sinha:

certainly aren't getting paid.

Holly Hargerman:

Right? Yeah, it doesn't matter if you're getting

Holly Hargerman:

paid the same if you only get on there three times for every

Holly Hargerman:

seven times that someone else does.

Leela Sinha:

Do you envision yourself facilitating

Leela Sinha:

relationship building on either side of this or across even

Leela Sinha:

across that, that fairly sizable gap between venue owners and,

Leela Sinha:

and performers?

Holly Hargerman:

Yes. And here's the reason why. Because as I

Holly Hargerman:

said, everything that we have built is simply a reflection of

Holly Hargerman:

the listening that I did. And that's what people told us is

Holly Hargerman:

that the relationship was the most important thing, it is the

Holly Hargerman:

sole reason that they were in the business that they wanted to

Holly Hargerman:

help musicians grow. And musicians know that being in

Holly Hargerman:

good relationship with the venue, makes their job happy and

Holly Hargerman:

enjoyable. So the relationship has to sit at the center. And

Holly Hargerman:

the way I've looked at it from the beginning, is that what is

Holly Hargerman:

causing poor relationships?And what is causing negative power

Holly Hargerman:

dynamics? And those are, those are two different things,

Holly Hargerman:

really, the first is for the poor relationships, these are

Holly Hargerman:

miscommunications, these are bookings that get double booked,

Holly Hargerman:

they're, you know, information that gets lost; someone that

Holly Hargerman:

gets dropped off an email thread, or they text them and

Holly Hargerman:

then they actually started in an email chain somewhere else, that

Holly Hargerman:

information gets lost. Our system prevents that from

Holly Hargerman:

happening, or at least reduces the likelihood significantly. So

Holly Hargerman:

for example, one of our, one of my favorite musicians on the

Holly Hargerman:

site, who's been with us since the very beginning. And he's a

Holly Hargerman:

really dear person, and a very good, hot, up-and-coming

Holly Hargerman:

musician, really believes in what we're doing. He was telling

Holly Hargerman:

me a story about how he was in a hot music town. And he had

Holly Hargerman:

played in his hometown a few hours away a few weeks prior,

Holly Hargerman:

had a great show, sold it out, and then went back to where he

Holly Hargerman:

was living in this hot music town and continued to play gigs,

Holly Hargerman:

and got a call one night where the venue said, "Where are you?

Holly Hargerman:

we have a line out the door, and you're supposed to go on in 30

Holly Hargerman:

minutes." And he said, "I don't know what you're talking about,

Holly Hargerman:

I don't have anything on my schedule. I don't have any

Holly Hargerman:

recollection of us talking about this. And I'm playing another

Holly Hargerman:

show in half an hour." And that relationship was ruined. And it

Holly Hargerman:

was a really great venue in his hometown. And he also then let

Holly Hargerman:

down fans as well. So that was a real catastrophe. And it was a

Holly Hargerman:

simple scheduling error. And that relationship was ruined. So

Holly Hargerman:

we have the opportunity to build relationships by reducing those

Holly Hargerman:

nagging details and the details that get missed that can that

Holly Hargerman:

can kill a relationship. Now on the other side, you've got the

Holly Hargerman:

power dynamics. Now the interesting thing about the

Holly Hargerman:

power dynamics is that musicians and venues have come together

Holly Hargerman:

like never before, throughout the pandemic in order to survive

Holly Hargerman:

and seek out funding. So you know, you have the Save Our

Holly Hargerman:

Stages Act, you've got NIVA, was formed. And a lot of other

Holly Hargerman:

musician aid organizations throughout the pandemic. And so

Holly Hargerman:

they've really come together, and they've gone through an

Holly Hargerman:

extremely humbling couple of years together. So I think that

Holly Hargerman:

that's a really great basis to reconstruct and democratize live

Holly Hargerman:

music. And so with that, the best way to equalize those power

Holly Hargerman:

dynamics is through transparency, and simplicity.

Holly Hargerman:

And so just simply opening up calendars. So both sides can

Holly Hargerman:

see, hey, I've got this available, I've got this

Holly Hargerman:

available, and then being willing to maybe have that hard

Holly Hargerman:

conversation or message, say, hey, you know, yeah, we do have

Holly Hargerman:

that date available. But it's not really a great fit for your

Holly Hargerman:

band sound right now, or it's not, your band isn't at the

Holly Hargerman:

level that we need it to be, or you don't have the draw that we

Holly Hargerman:

need. And so to be able to have those conversations, but it

Holly Hargerman:

really starts with the transparency first. Also pay

Holly Hargerman:

transparency, what am I going to get paid? I'm going to drive out

Holly Hargerman:

here with five other people and set up all of this gear, and

Holly Hargerman:

we're going to spend three to five hours of our time and

Holly Hargerman:

probably get paid less than we want to get paid. But what is it

Holly Hargerman:

that we're going to get paid? If they get to the end of the

Holly Hargerman:

night, and it's significantly less than what they thought they

Holly Hargerman:

were going to get paid, then you have damaged relationships

Holly Hargerman:

again, and you have power dynamics at play, because the

Holly Hargerman:

venue has total control over that. And the musician, the only

Holly Hargerman:

power they really have is to walk away and not come back

Holly Hargerman:

again. So those are some of the things we're trying to equalize.

Holly Hargerman:

the ways--I'm going back to this this peer pressure thing-- and

Holly Hargerman:

the ways in which venues.... having relationships with other

Holly Hargerman:

venues that aren't purely competitive, or musicians having

Holly Hargerman:

relationships with other musicians that aren't purely

Holly Hargerman:

competitive, but instead are collaborative. So that you know,

Holly Hargerman:

a musician-- and I know this happens in a lot of industries--

Holly Hargerman:

musicians will tell other musicians, "hey, I had a

Holly Hargerman:

terrible experience at that venue, I wouldn't work there if

Holly Hargerman:

I were you." or or a venue sitting down with another venue

Holly Hargerman:

and saying "okay, so we aren't even getting the opportunity to

Holly Hargerman:

book Black musicians because they're not coming to this town.

Holly Hargerman:

What are we going to do about that? You know, how are we going

Holly Hargerman:

to make this a place where we can book, this great act that we

Holly Hargerman:

want to book, but the nearest they ever come on their tours is

Holly Hargerman:

300 miles.

Holly Hargerman:

Yeah, the, and that was, I didn't mention this.

Holly Hargerman:

But in my interviews, venues repeatedly told me that

Holly Hargerman:

diversity was something they would like to improve on their

Holly Hargerman:

stage. And they didn't know how. So the search function where you

Holly Hargerman:

can actually prioritize, or sort for that. It's not going to

Holly Hargerman:

eliminate other options. But it will allow you to infuse that

Holly Hargerman:

into your search results a little bit more, was a direct

Holly Hargerman:

response to venue saying that that was important to them, but

Holly Hargerman:

they didn't know how to do it, and they didn't have a function

Holly Hargerman:

to make it happen.

Leela Sinha:

It'll be interesting to see how that

Leela Sinha:

works. And I'm thinking about the parallels between that and

Leela Sinha:

the startup world where people are forever claiming that the

Leela Sinha:

problem is a pipeline problem. We can't, we can't hire more

Leela Sinha:

diversely, because there's just nobody qualified. And everybody

Leela Sinha:

is looking at them, like, are you kidding me?

Holly Hargerman:

Yeah, you know, it is, it is interesting. So for

Holly Hargerman:

example, I went through great lengths to try to find people

Holly Hargerman:

that were, you know, not just like me, I put on every single

Holly Hargerman:

job posting women, people of color, LGBTQ communities.

Holly Hargerman:

Applications welcome. And put in our mission, I posted it to

Holly Hargerman:

Women Who Code and, and also looking at the results of all of

Holly Hargerman:

the qualified applicants. 80% of them were still white males.

Holly Hargerman:

So-- or from India--, that there is also a lot of that in the

Holly Hargerman:

coding world, but but the majority of them were white

Holly Hargerman:

males. So it is an interesting issue. And one we have to

Holly Hargerman:

some friends that graduated college with me, who went

Holly Hargerman:

directly into tech and have stayed in tech. And they've

Holly Hargerman:

actually said that in the last 10 to 15 years representation of

Holly Hargerman:

women, specifically in tech, has gone down. That they have fewer

Holly Hargerman:

female colleagues than they did when we graduated, which is

Holly Hargerman:

fascinating. My college graduation, my 25th reunion just

Holly Hargerman:

happened. So that's-- I'm old. But but it is interesting to me

Holly Hargerman:

that the amount of trouble getting into and staying in the

Holly Hargerman:

industry, it seems to have actually increased since then.

Holly Hargerman:

So what I'm curious about is what, what's your favorite thing

Holly Hargerman:

about this project? You know, you we've been talking for a

Holly Hargerman:

while now. And, and you, you have all this very carefully

Holly Hargerman:

thought out stuff, but I'm an intensive. And so I want to hear

Holly Hargerman:

what really brings you joy about this.

Holly Hargerman:

Oh, boy. There is just so much.

Leela Sinha:

And I know you're in the middle of a lot in your

Leela Sinha:

life right now. So I get it. But also like, I know that there's a

Leela Sinha:

lot about this that lights you up, and it just gets you

Leela Sinha:

excited.

Holly Hargerman:

Well, my initial response would be the

Holly Hargerman:

diversity piece, because I think it's truly unique. And I've

Holly Hargerman:

never seen any other place doing something like it. And it seems

Holly Hargerman:

like an obvious answer to a very critical problem of the pay gap

Holly Hargerman:

in in our nation for for these historically marginalized

Holly Hargerman:

communities.

Leela Sinha:

Do you think could become a model for other

Leela Sinha:

industries?

Holly Hargerman:

Oh, absolutely.

Leela Sinha:

Like, do you think the tech industry can borrow

Leela Sinha:

your technology or your model or your view or something and

Leela Sinha:

improve their record?

Holly Hargerman:

Yes, absolutely. So in fact, we have

Holly Hargerman:

nine different features on our site that are patent-pending

Holly Hargerman:

right now. And that's one thing that I will never put guardrails

Holly Hargerman:

around. Because as soon as I had the idea, I thought "this needs

Holly Hargerman:

to be shared." So I'd like to share it with as many people as

Holly Hargerman:

possible even if that means, you know, creating a widget or

Holly Hargerman:

actually letting people copy the code. I think that it is

Holly Hargerman:

something that is really vital for the fabric of our society to

Holly Hargerman:

change, is to have a little bit of that structural help. And

Holly Hargerman:

again, that data because once we have the data, we can start to

Holly Hargerman:

respond to it a lot more. So I think that the diversity piece

Holly Hargerman:

is, is one of the most exciting pieces of this for me, in terms

Holly Hargerman:

of the potential it could have to go into other industries and

Holly Hargerman:

make change. And it will be so quantifiable and trackable that

Holly Hargerman:

we'll really be able to see the impact that it's having. I think

Holly Hargerman:

that the second piece would be the tour routing tool. It is

Holly Hargerman:

the-- it's like an entire site on its own. And there's nothing

Holly Hargerman:

like it that currently exists. So I think that that would be

Holly Hargerman:

the the second most exciting piece on this site.

Leela Sinha:

If you imagine yourself, you know, this

Leela Sinha:

business, five years, 10 years out, and like Oprah-level, like,

Leela Sinha:

"you get a car and you get a car" kind of impact on not just

Leela Sinha:

the music industry but more more broadly than that, what's the

Leela Sinha:

biggest level of impact you can dream of for this business right

Leela Sinha:

now?

Holly Hargerman:

I think the biggest level of impact, in my

Holly Hargerman:

mind that this business could have, is that like Airbnb, or

Holly Hargerman:

Uber, that it would completely change how we think about

Holly Hargerman:

accessing a certain element in our life. And one that is, in

Holly Hargerman:

particular, extremely important to our well being. Which is

Holly Hargerman:

music and arts. Getting a taxi, it definitely does improve your

Holly Hargerman:

life, if you're trying to get from point A to point B, and,

Holly Hargerman:

you know, it's raining out. But music has a way to transform

Holly Hargerman:

communities and cultures and, and an experience and a memory.

Holly Hargerman:

And so I would love if, if this tool allowed people to say,

Holly Hargerman:

"live music is completely accessible to me, I can just go

Holly Hargerman:

on the site and find the live music. That's the right fit for

Holly Hargerman:

my venue, my event, my corporate event, my wedding, my birthday

Holly Hargerman:

party, my kids' party." And so that we now create, and again,

Holly Hargerman:

this goes back to the third part of our mission, which is to make

Holly Hargerman:

any city a Music City, do we start to percolate music through

Holly Hargerman:

our life in a way that it was originally intended to be. I

Holly Hargerman:

mean, when when you go to other cultures, live music is a part

Holly Hargerman:

of people's everyday life, or at least their weekly life, it's

Holly Hargerman:

not necessarily an expensive thing that you have to be, you

Holly Hargerman:

know, kind of like a foodie type person for food or like a, I

Holly Hargerman:

don't know what the equivalent would be for music, a music-y

Holly Hargerman:

kind of person to go out and have those connections. The

Holly Hargerman:

original mission statement was to ensure that the soul-fueling,

Holly Hargerman:

people-connecting power of live sound can thrive, not just

Holly Hargerman:

survive, post-pandemic. And those words, to me, really speak

Holly Hargerman:

to what live music is. Because I never considered myself, you

Holly Hargerman:

know, like a live music junkie, I don't know the names of all of

Holly Hargerman:

the greatest bands, or the indie bands, or the niche bands. And

Holly Hargerman:

I've never been one of those people that's like, "Oh, I knew

Holly Hargerman:

that band back before they sold out or before they got everybody

Holly Hargerman:

loved them." I just love music. And I always felt a little

Holly Hargerman:

self-conscious about that, like, I wasn't really cool enough,

Holly Hargerman:

because I didn't know the names of bands, I didn't spend my last

Holly Hargerman:

dollar going out to live music on the weekends. But when you

Holly Hargerman:

interact in other cultures, whether it's a tribe in Africa,

Holly Hargerman:

and they're, they're singing in the complete pitch black with

Holly Hargerman:

their kids at night under the stars, or they-- or, you're at a

Holly Hargerman:

dinner party with four people around a French dinner table,

Holly Hargerman:

and somebody breaks out a guitar and they just start playing and

Holly Hargerman:

and then everybody's singing and dancing by the end of a four

Holly Hargerman:

person dinner. Those things don't happen as often in

Holly Hargerman:

America, and I think that they can and I would like that to be

Holly Hargerman:

the impact of this, that live music is really accessible. And,

Holly Hargerman:

embedded in our culture in a different way. In a way that is

Holly Hargerman:

more natural to human beings. You know, I am married to a

Holly Hargerman:

musician and we've been married for 10 years. And all of his

Holly Hargerman:

friends, he even has a lot of French musician friends where we

Holly Hargerman:

live in America. And and we still don't have the same level

Holly Hargerman:

of break out your guitar, break out your music, start singing

Holly Hargerman:

and dancing, like we do when we are in France and we are not

Holly Hargerman:

around professional musicians. And I think that that's a really

Holly Hargerman:

interesting dichotomy that I'd like to get to the bottom of. So

Holly Hargerman:

that's the impact I would be honored to say came from this

Holly Hargerman:

business.

Leela Sinha:

I love that vision. I'm reminded of being in India

Leela Sinha:

with my father's family, and we were all sitting around it was

Leela Sinha:

my father's mother's hundred and... I think it was her

Leela Sinha:

hundred and first birthday, right around then... and the

Leela Sinha:

whole family was gathered. And it just sort of turned into a

Leela Sinha:

talent show? Like everybody had a thing that they did, they got

Leela Sinha:

up and danced for a half a song or they danced and someone else

Leela Sinha:

played the drums and somebody else sang. And like, that kind

Leela Sinha:

of thing is a thing that I don't experience here. Well, I want to

Leela Sinha:

say I did when I was embedded in folk music culture,

Leela Sinha:

specifically, but not otherwise.

Holly Hargerman:

Well, you know, this story that really drove me

Holly Hargerman:

at the beginning of this was sort of a connection between a

Holly Hargerman:

story from a venue that I was speaking with, who had traveled

Holly Hargerman:

internationally, toured in Europe, and I told him that, you

Holly Hargerman:

kow, I had gotten stuck in France, and I was married to a

Holly Hargerman:

French musician, and all of that throughout the pandemic, and,

Holly Hargerman:

and the story that really drove me was I was in Ireland with my

Holly Hargerman:

mother, and we were out in Dublin at a pub. And there was a

Holly Hargerman:

group of men of all different ages, just a lot more

Holly Hargerman:

intergenerational, a guy, must have been 80 years old, and he

Holly Hargerman:

just stands up, and he puts his arm in the air, and he starts

Holly Hargerman:

singing this Irish ballad. And then all of the young men they

Holly Hargerman:

join in. I mean, it was just so chilling, to see the way they

Holly Hargerman:

connected young and old, and who knows what the occasion was. But

Holly Hargerman:

it was so powerful. And they were not shy or timid about

Holly Hargerman:

sharing that with the rest of the bar. And I thought, that is

Holly Hargerman:

what I would love for my community. I'd love to be able

Holly Hargerman:

to go out my door, and go down to the local bar, and have

Holly Hargerman:

people break into song. And I mentioned that to the venue,

Holly Hargerman:

that I was speaking with, and he had toured through Europe

Holly Hargerman:

extensively. And he said, the culture is completely different

Holly Hargerman:

around music there, it is much more like a family, even when

Holly Hargerman:

you're professional music going and playing at a professional

Holly Hargerman:

venue. He said, they welcome you in, they offer you a sandwich as

Holly Hargerman:

soon as you walk in the door. And it's really just intertwined

Holly Hargerman:

and interconnected. And I think that we have a lot of space that

Holly Hargerman:

we could fill with something like that.

Leela Sinha:

It really is all about the relationship.

Leela Sinha:

on time, and I want to bring us to a close. But thank you,

Leela Sinha:

again, for taking the time, for spending the time to tell us

Leela Sinha:

about about who you are and what you're doing and why you're

Leela Sinha:

doing it and how you're doing it. Because my hope is that with

Leela Sinha:

the interview episodes of this podcast, that we're really able

Leela Sinha:

to talk about who has the power, and how to shift the power, so

Leela Sinha:

that, so that more people, more people can get their needs met,

Leela Sinha:

more people can get what they want, more people can get what

Leela Sinha:

they need, and there's more joy and pleasure in the world.

Leela Sinha:

That's, that's the bottom line goal of this whole entire

Leela Sinha:

enterprise. So if people want to want to find you, want to engage

Leela Sinha:

with your work in some way, where can they find you?

Holly Hargerman:

So first, I would go to AmptUp.com. And

Holly Hargerman:

that's a-m-p-t-u-p dot com. And fill out a profile. Right now

Holly Hargerman:

we're focused in the Austin and the three city area around that,

Holly Hargerman:

and then Portland and Seattle, but you can join and you can

Holly Hargerman:

book a tour into those areas. And then when we come to your

Holly Hargerman:

area, then we'll be able to connect with you. And you can be

Holly Hargerman:

our VIP launch group for that area. And then second would be

Holly Hargerman:

on Instagram, at AmptUp Music on Instagram or Facebook, you can

Holly Hargerman:

join the conversation there.

Leela Sinha:

Excellent. Do you know where your next couple of

Leela Sinha:

launch cities are so people can start to get excited?

Leela Sinha:

Austin. And then we're going to be moving out to Dallas,

Leela Sinha:

Houston, San Antonio, and then over towards New Orleans. And

Leela Sinha:

we're going to head up towards Nashville and up that Eastern

Leela Sinha:

Seaboard. And then on the West Coast side from Portland and

Leela Sinha:

Seattle, will start heading kind of down and up, we might touch

Leela Sinha:

up to Vancouver BC. We already have a musician there who is

Leela Sinha:

actually from Austin. So we might take that opportunity to

Leela Sinha:

connect with that really cool town, and then travel all the

Leela Sinha:

way down the west coast as well.

Leela Sinha:

Okay. All right, I guess the Upper Midwest, will

Leela Sinha:

just have to wait a little bit longer. But I'm sure you'll get

Leela Sinha:

there.

Holly Hargerman:

Well, I will say that that we will go where

Holly Hargerman:

the people want us to go. So if there is a large group of people

Holly Hargerman:

already in one area, then we'll prioritize that area because,

Holly Hargerman:

like you said, it's all about relationships. And our community

Holly Hargerman:

is the most important thing to us. So if we have people that

Holly Hargerman:

are there, ready to champion this and make it a reality, then

Holly Hargerman:

we'll go there.

Leela Sinha:

So it sounds like if people are excited about you

Leela Sinha:

and what you're doing and your project and they are either a

Leela Sinha:

musician or a venue, they should go to your website and sign up

Leela Sinha:

already so that you can start to see those data points pop up.

Holly Hargerman:

You bet and reach out to me as well. Just

Holly Hargerman:

let me know. And I'll keep an eye out for it.

Holly Hargerman:

really a joy to talk with you. You always have such stimulating

Holly Hargerman:

conversation. So I really enjoy where you take the conversation.

Leela Sinha:

Thank you so much. Bye.

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