Nuevostage

A GROUPON FOR CONCERTS

There's a reason that one club in Central Square doesn't want to book a gig for your new band. It's nothing personal. They like your mp3s. It's just that you've never played there before, and they're not entirely sure anyone will show up.

Enter Maxwell Wessel. He spends his days at Harvard Business School, and believe it or not, he understands the nature of this problem. He's also got a solution, borrowed loosely from the idea of group-buying platforms like Groupon. Wessel's creation, NUEVOSTAGE, aims to give up-and-coming acts the opportunity to play shows at established venues by making it less risky for those venues to book them.

Here's how it works: Some venues won't take a chance on a band that doesn't have a known draw — even if that means the club's stage stays dark some nights as a result. With NuevoStage, if a band can get enough fans to commit to coming to a show on an open night, the venue will book it.

Provided the clubs buy in, the idea has real merit. Wessel studied his target audience — show-goers between the ages of 14 and 25 — and noticed that social media has an almost universal adoption rate within it. The same demographic is plainly comfortable with both social buying, and for offering support for causes and bands and brands they like — especially if it's as easy as clicking a few buttons to "Like" a page or "Share" a message.

For bands, NuevoStage hopes to be a platform to create events and share those events — hard — with their fans. If enough fans respond, the show goes on. And because there's an audience-friendly imperative, Wessel aims to make it easy to buy in. For instance, users don't have to create an account, as with LivingSocial or Groupon. As Wessel says, he isn't interested in your data. When a user buys in, she gets a one-time guest checkout — not a lifetime's worth of daily emails.

And because he isn't selling your data, Wessel freely admits that — small processing fee aside — he won't get rich doing this.

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