Thanks to local startup Bandhappy, show-goers to this year’s Warped Tour can receive one-on-one lessons from musicians in touring bands, including Yellowcard, Bayside, Anti-Flag and a slew of other Warped Tour bands.
Launched in January, Bandhappy facilitates music lessons over the Internet through video chats between professional musicians and students. More than 15,000 students take lessons from nearly 450 teachers in more than 100 countries, says co-founder (and drummer with the Bethesda, Md., band Periphery) Matt Halpern.
“It’s really amazing connecting somebody in Australia to somebody in Finland,” says Halpern. “It makes the world a lot smaller.”
A TEDCO grant of $75,000 helped Halpern and co-founders Jonathan Rivlin and Andy Meister build the website. Bandhappy takes a 15 percent cut of the price of each lesson conducted through the site.
The partnership with Warped Tour stemmed from several conversations Halpern had with 4Fini, the event production company that puts on the Warped Tour, after fellow musicians and Bandhappy teachers passed word to the tour about Halpern’s site.
“[Warped Tour is] a lot about the hustle,” Halpern says. “So they approached me just interested in support of what we were doing.”
Bandhappy isn’t broadcasting lessons live at Warped Tour. Instead, Halpern and his crew have set up a Bandhappy tent where musicians come to give lessons in-person.
“We got about 15 bands who are on the tour who were interested in teaching,” he says. “We basically set up a bunch of lessons for them and sold well over a hundred pre-sale lessons even before the tour started.”
Other musicians on the Warped Tour have since approached Bandhappy to sign up to be teachers, while fans with cash or credit card can pay for a lesson at the tent and, in minutes, be learning from some of their favorite tour musicians.
“It’s a great marketing opportunity for us, and it’s a great way for us to work with new artists,” says Halpern. “So far it’s been very, very successful.”
Soon Bandhappy will integrate into its site the ability for live group chats and group lessons, with multiple teachers and students participating.
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