Hello Stage: a social network dedicated to classical music
Opera-digital.com had met Bernhard KERRES two years ago in the Web Summit in Dublin. Since then, Hello Stage has turned 3 year-old and has strongly developed ! Opera-digital.com has had a chance to meet him during a trip in Vienna ! A good opportunity that we seized to take the stock about this flagship of classical music start-ups !
2 years after, interview of Bernhard KERRES, founder of Hello Stage
Opera-digital.com: Hello Bernhard ! Thanx so much to welcome here in Vienna Opera-digital.com ! We have met 2 years ago in Dublin during the Web Summit ! Could you rapidly explain what is HelloStage to those readers that are not familiarwiththe service ?
Hello Stage is a platform aiming at building online community dedicated to the classical music. HelloStage serves to connect musicians, ensembles, groups with managers and promoters. Artists can create personalised web pages on Hello Stage, featuring details of both their repertoire and calendar, while artist managers are able to do the same for their roster.
Opera-digital.com: In Dublin, you talked about your international development ? Have you made the progress you expected ?
Yes ! We have been progressing regarding internationalisation : our team is now spread out over Istanbul, Berlin, Vienna, San Francisco, New-York and Boston. I spent a entire year in 2015 working in San Francisco and I keep travelling overthere regularly for the development of Hello Stage. HelloStage has now 30 000 users throughout more than 100 different countries.
Opera-digital.com: since then, I guess the service has evolved, what’s new in the HelloStage proposition ?
We have developed the features of helloStage during the last three years. We have launched 3 new features. Firstly, Hello Stage has launched its own music label. Young musicians today need more and more a recording to introduce themselves, but it has become more difficult for them to do because even the mid-sized labels will not often consider working with young artists. There are some companies out there that offer CD production and distribution but they ask for a lot of money. We thought we need to start something that is fair to the musicians, with a very good distribution network, at reasonable costs, where they keep all of the rights and get the majority of the revenue. The first recording is by the trombonist Peter Steiner (precision of Opera-digital Peter Steiner is a musician of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra), playing works by Debussy, Bach, Puccini, Piazzola and the Todd Goodman concerto. Mr Kerres said several other musicians were in discussions about recording. The Hello Stage label has distribution agreements with circa 150 digital channels as well as physical distributors covering North America, the European Union and other territories, as well as physical sales through Amazon.
Opera-digital.com: Exciting! What’s about the two other new features you have evoked ?
Hello Stage has also launched a kind of on line training program. On Thursdays at 6 PM (Vienna Hours) a live video of about 30 minutes is proposed to all visitors (either they are registred on HelloStage or not). On each session, a member of the team or a guest talks about a specific topic which young musician are concerned about. For instance, we have tackled the following topics : how to negotiate a contrat ? How to network ? How to provide relevant publicity materials, how to build an audience, how to build a business plan, how to audition ?etc…
Most of artists and specially classical musicians have no notion of management, finance or economics and of digital even in the English-speaking world. After graduation, they are often alone and all these knowledge could help them. They need to progress and thus we have thought these sessions could be usefull for training them. Every Thursday at 6 PM, about 1000 persons attend to the live video from all over the world.
We have seen that this has become such an important issue that we are now writing a book about it which will be published in Spring 2017.
Opera-digital.com: and what’s about the last new feature ?
It’s a new module called fans.hellostage.com. It provides registered artists with automated services such as a monthly newsletter. Visitors of HelloStage can register, define their musical preferences (favorite instruments, prefered composers, favorite masterpieces).
It enables to receive an information feed adapted to what they like. By using a search engine with key words, visitors can find and discover new artits. A visitor wishing to follow an artist can become a fan and benefit from all the information related to this artist.
Thanks to this preference, HelloStage will generate automatically a monthly newsletter on the behalf of registered artists that have a fan community. These newsletters will be sent to all the fans of a given artist. It enables to receive upcoming news and events regardless if the visitors go to artist page often or not. All the artists have to do is to update regularly their page by indicating the forthcoming events, the dates and the venues.
This site is available for any kinf of screens because it has been developed in responsive design. For the moment the sole language available is English.
opera-digital.com: what are your next steps for 2017 ?
There are a lot ! I guess that service localisation will be at stake and will keep the team busy for the next months. Translate the site and the proposed services is key specially for Asia !
opera-digital.com: thank you so much for this update about your exciting start-up !!
“ Hello Stage : users now in more than 100 different countries ” by Bernhard KERRES and Ramzi SAIDANI and is under the conditions of licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 France