Bandwagon: Live music at your fingertips

Bandwagon highlights live music acts at hotspots like TAB, which recently showcased rock band The Cab from the US (Photo credit: Dawn Chua for TAB)Bandwagon highlights live music acts at hotspots like TAB, which recently showcased rock band The Cab from the …

If you are a live music buff and are on the constant hunt for gigs in and around Singapore, the search for your favourite act’s next performance has been made that much easier with a timely website called Bandwagon.

On the site you will find information on everything from the regular names on the scene – both local and foreign – to the details about gigs that are often common knowledge only to music enthusiasts and industry insiders.

The young man behind this is a music aficionado himself. His name, Clarence Chan, and his aim: to open up the floodgates to live music for Singaporeans. He does this by bringing the facts to your very fingertips; on the website www.bandwagon.sg, information is just a few clicks away.

Importance of being earnest

Chan is an earnest, open sort of fellow. Engaging and enterprising, the 26-year-old has come up with a rather unique business model that caters to fans of music here. Easy to navigate and up-to-date, the site is a breeze to use. It is a work in progress, given how new it is – the site went live in September last year – and he will be the first to candidly tell you that.

Chan says Bandwagon aims to cater to the audience as much as possible. To do this, he liaises closely with beta-testers in order to be tapped into the feedback loop. He is already working on taking it to the region, and while he is not a technophile in the most obvious sense of the word, he is clearly the man to carry out this plan, on gumption alone.

When he talks about his brainchild for the local live music aggregator, you can see the motivation behind bringing this niche idea to fruition. It is a valid idea, and a relevant one – but the real promise lies in Chan’s delivery. His sheer belief and enthusiasm for his business is apparent. This is a common thread with the varying points he makes over the course of the interview – and for the business-degree holder, there is no wonder then that it is all in the sell.

A first in Asia

Bandwagon is doubtless a unique idea in the local context – you get to find your favourite live gigs at the touch of a button and with just a couple of keystrokes. While it is not the first of its kind worldwide, it is ahead of the curve as a frontrunner in Singapore and Asia.

“The real story is that I wanted to study music after I graduated from university here. I wanted to go to NYU and do a Masters in music technology. I felt I had the business acumen and skill sets, I wanted to pair it with something more technical. So this would allow me to understand how to build instruments. But things didn’t really work out with preparing my portfolio, as a lot of things were just in the way. It’s like something was preparing me from going, almost.”

Clarence Chan is the brainchild behind Bandwagon, a live music aggregator site (Photo credit: Shaun Tan)Clarence Chan is the brainchild behind Bandwagon, a live music aggregator site (Photo credit: Shaun Tan)

But rather than giving up, he decided to go where the tide would take him instead. His adaptability and perseverance stand out, likely common traits with those who aim to chart their own course successfully. Setting aside previous ideals, he threw himself into making a germ (and potentially, a gem) of an idea into a reality.

In keeping the site current, Chan also interacts with industry representatives and artists themselves. He says he soaks up the lessons offered by these critical players, and applies them to bettering the site and the idea behind it. Always keeping a keen eye out for pointers on making the site more user-friendly, he reveals that some thought-provoking advice came from music-heavyweights, Earth, Wind and Fire.

“When I spoke to Earth, Wind and Fire, they talked about having an identity. From day one, they knew what they were going to sound like. Kind of a funky baseline, lots of slapping, lots of movement in the base, high vocals. They had this whole vision and they already knew what they wanted to do. So when you hear a song on the radio, you know that’s Earth, Wind and Fire, you know? Knowing the direction you want to hit is important," he said.

Striking the right note

Finding the direction that will help the site make the most significant impact with the market is important to Chan and his team, but as things are, Bandwagon is already finding resonance with fans. And for those who wish to build their own businesses, he says his own experience has taught him it is important to take things one step at a time.

“We started by building in small batches. Just start with one feature, the killer feature that makes you different. I didn’t have much contact with the music industry so I went online, and if venues had a live music schedule, I put it in a spreadsheet. Then people said maybe I should put it on the web because they wanted to interact more dynamically with it. So that’s what I did. I didn’t have to have $50,000 to invest in ten people to build this thing that I envisioned, you see? I built it first and then I realised that hey, this works. So let’s add this and let’s add that.”

Proving you don’t have to reinvent the wheel – you really just need to find a way to make it spin a little faster – innovation over invention has done well by Chan. Left to his own devices, he has made a strong case for the young, innovative Singaporean entrepreneur, creating a niche site that is gaining traction with users. And maybe he has got it right, after all. With Bandwagon, you can jump on board and get the lowdown on what is happening in your neck of the woods and elsewhere, making it that much easier to get your music fix.

Check out Bandwagon at www.bandwagon.sg for more on your favourite live music acts today.

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