If We Can You Can: Stewart Platt of Music Monstro North East CIC

If We Can You Can: Stewart Platt of Music Monstro North East CIC

The If We Can You Can Challenge is a competition that recognises and celebrates the best of the North East’s 0-3 year old businesses. Stewart Platt entered the competition with his business Music Monstro North East CIC, which creates a central hub for music events in Newcastle. BQ caught up with Stewart to talk inspiration, what makes his business different, and where he sees it in the future...

What inspired you to set up your business?

After organising events in Newcastle I felt that there wasn’t really a central hub or a home for all the amazing events taking place in Newcastle. After talking to John-Michael Hedley who runs Leave Me Here we thought about how we could create a new home for live music in Newcastle. We applied to The Digital City Fellowship scheme based in Teesside University and they mentored us and gave us priceless information that enabled us to progress from our initial idea into a fully operational business.


What did you do before setting up your business?

Before setting up Music Monstro I owned another business called R House, which specialised in artist management, events management and it later evolved into a digital record label. The philosophy behind R House was to help nurture new DJs and help them progress with their career. We did this by creating a club night called ‘Future Proof’ where artists with little to no experience could perform and we would record their performances so they could send their recordings to other promoters to get booked for more events. Before this I also studied Managing a Music Business Enterprise and Events Management.


What makes this business different?

I think we differ from other websites because we are exclusive to Newcastle and Gateshead and we only focus on music. Newcastle has so many amazing events taking place, but by only covering the music scene it gives us the opportunity to cover each aspect of it from the smaller events to the psychedelic, metal, dance music and everything in between.

We want to cover not only just the big events but the whole community and shed a spotlight on the new artists that we feel are more in need of the attention and praise. Our comprehensive events listings, which are searchable by date, price, genre and location are also a huge part of our site. We hope this will raise awareness of some of the fantastic events taking place and our recommended section will introduce people to other events they might not be aware of.


What inspired you to enter the If We Can You Can Challenge?

As a new business I am always on the look-out for any opportunities that might help me spread the word about The Newcastle Gig Guide and The Challenge sounded like a great chance to get some advice on how to market our idea.

Where do you see your business in three years’ time?

In the future I would love see more Gig Guides in other cities so we can benefit musicians, venues and music enthusiasts across the UK. We would also like to start offering training, advice sessions and work-shops to musicians and people considering a career in music. Our biggest aspiration is to own our own venue so we can fully support local musicians by offering them a physical location to perform and practice. A venue run by musicians for the benefit of other local musicians as a community interest company could really help the talent in the area thrive and offer many brilliant opportunities.


What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?

The most rewarding part of our journey has been meeting people and hearing how much they love the site and how often they use it to plan nights out. It was also very rewarding enabling our team of journalists and photographers to gain some valuable experience working in their chosen field to help them with their university courses.


What has been your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge has been the event listings for our website. When we first set up the site in May 2015 we entered all the event information manually. Date, time, genre, band name, location etc. all had to be typed in by hand and it was taking us all day every day. By Christmas time there were so many events taking place that we couldn’t keep up and had to close the site. After searching for a solution to this problem for almost a year we are very pleased to be back.


Whowhat gave you support or advice?

We have received a huge amount of help from many people and organisations including Generator, NBSL, Digital City, Thrive Marketing, Raw Marketing, Sunderland Software City and Sustainable Enterprise Strategies for whom we are eternally grateful because without them we couldn’t have created The Gig Guide.


What advice would you give to someone looking to set up their own business?

My advice to someone looking to set up their own business would be to research it as thoroughly as possible, talk to as many people as you can and spend as little money as possible.


The competition is now open to all pre-start business ideas or start-ups established in the North East within the last 3 years, regardless of the business leader’s age or experience.

For information on how to apply, the competition and its benefits please visitwww.ifwecanyoucan.co.uk Deadline for entries is 16th of October 2016.