For many musicians, it’s difficult to imagine being able to quit your day job, play music as your full-time gig, and still be able to live in Seattle. But thanks to Gigs4U, that dream is becoming a reality for hundreds of rising and established local musicians in the area.
“We’ve paid out over $1 million to local musicians,” says owner Ed Beeson, who started Gigs4U in 2013 after presenting music for over 35 years. What started as an idea sparked by the buskers in Pike Place Market became an interesting – if not unusual – opportunity through SeaTac Airport.
Have you been to the airport lately? Have you walked through the terminal, and realized that what you were hearing coming from up ahead wasn’t hasty announcements, grumbling travelers, and rollerbags click-clacking on the tile? Have you noticed the strumming, humming sounds of music, only to turn a corner and find that a real, live musician is playing in the hall? If you have, you’d also remember that you and all of the nearby travelers seem to have a spring in your step, a smile on your face, and an ounce of travel weariness lifted from your shoulders. That’s all thanks to Gigs4U.
Now in its 2nd year of its 2nd 3-year contract with SeaTac, Gigs4U started when it offered paid opportunities for musicians to play live music in the airport terminals. Through the program, the company started offering online scheduling to 100’s of musicians so that travelers could enjoy 2 musicians a day, 5 days a week while they travel in and out of Seattle by plane.
Today, Gigs4U has expanded to schedule musicians in paid gigs all around the Seattle area beyond just the airport; to local corporations, the city of Seattle, and public organizations thanks in part to a loan from Business Impact NW. “I loved working with Roland,” says Ed. “He found a loan package that would work for our situation, and also gave feedback and advice. It was invaluable.” One of the biggest challenges faced by a booking company is cash flow: musicians need to be paid for their performance long before most large corporations or organizations remit payment to Gigs4U. A cash flow loan was the perfect solution so that Ed could fulfill his dedication to finding paying gigs for musician performers of all genres.
“We’ve been able to really make a difference in peoples’ lives.” Local musicians get more gigs thanks to Gigs4U. More gigs means more word of mouth, more social media, more credibility…and even more tips and merchandise sales. And the best part? “All that money generated stays right here in the community,” says Ed proudly of the musicians who live, work, and stay here in Seattle, which makes our local economy stronger. Musicians have even shared that Gigs4U has made them better musicians, because working at SeaTac allows them to test out new material, work great hours during the daytime rather than late at night, and get in front of a brand new audience. Even Ed, who stays out of the spotlight, shares that owning Gigs4U “is the best gig I’ve ever had.”