Muso Founders_Jeremiah, Alan, Brandon at the Espy.

Melbourne-based hospitality group Sand Hill Road has owned and operated a dozen different hotels over the years. Four years ago, it relaunched St Kilda’s iconic Hotel Esplanade, fondly known as The Espy.

The iconic live music venue hosts comedy shows, live music and DJ sets across three stages.

Operating a jam-packed line-up of gigs and shows is a complex operation, and one that has been revolutionised by live entertainment startup Muso, according to the group’s co-founder, Andy Mullins.

So impressed by Muso’s entertainment management platform was Sand Hill Road that it pitched in on Muso’s recent seed funding round and now owns a stake in the company.

The $2m seed funding round will enable Muso – which has several other hospitality groups as clients including Solotel, Funlab, The Sydney Collective, Oscars, Kickon Group, and Australian Venue Co. – to expand into the UK and NZ this year.

The capital will also fund a string of strong new hires to help the business scale quickly.

“The first time we met, Muso was an online marketplace,” Mullins says. “The second time we met, they showed us the full platform, and that was a lightbulb moment.”

In addition to a marketplace with over 5000 artists, the suite of tools includes a central calendar, payments capability, a booking mechanism, and real-time automated promotion to a venue’s website and Facebook.

The platform has been designed to allow venues to book a month’s worth of entertainment in minutes. With most new venue managers having little experience when it comes to managing live entertainment, the importance of this can’t be underestimated, Mullins says.

“I immediately got the partners together to discuss it, we brought in key managers to meet the founders, and we said, ‘sign us up.’

“This one platform can do several different jobs. The managers can book the band, agree on the rates, manage approvals and payments, and even the marketing is integrated. That was a game-changer for us.”

Want to keep reading? Read the rest of the article below in the December-January issue of Australian Hotelier.

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