Culture Contour: Beatmap Seeks To Connect Artists And Venues
The paucity of performance venues led entrepreneur Harisankar P. S. to conceptualise Beatmap, a soon-to-be-launched website and app that will connect artists with places interested in hosting cultural events in the city. The idea behind the venture is that “anything could be a stage”, said Harisankar, who co-owns Beatmap with Kommune, a platform for the performing arts founded by TV hosts Roshan Abbas and Gaurav Kapur and singer-songwriter Ankur Tewari, which is best known for its series of storytelling sessions.
Beatmap aims to be the middleman for singers, comedians, poets, spoken word artists, dancers, theatre groups and storytellers and also hopes to expand the definition of a gig. “We want to change the way people think about performance,” said Harisankar. For instance, he said, jam sessions and rehearsals could also be considered ‘shows’ for major fans of a band or a comedian wanting to test new material.
Simultaneously, Beatmap will widen the spectrum of venues to include cafes, fitness studios and stores as well as homes, offices and schools. Among the spots that have signed up so far are graphic design products showroom Kulture Shop in Bandra and Abbas’s office Encompass and the Leaping Windows comic book library, both of which are in Andheri. Venues will be able to specify the kind of events they want to host keeping in mind their individual noise and capacity-related restrictions. For instance, a school can state that it’s only open to staging Indian classical dance recitals, said Harisankar.
Here’s how it will work: Once artists seeking an audience or a venue willing to host performances register on the site, they get their own page on the platform. The venues and artists will be able to contact each either through their respective pages and negotiate terms between themselves. When a venue books an artist, Beatmap gets a convenience fee based on the amount being paid to the performer. If you’re neither an artist nor a venue but want to organise an event with them, you can register as a guest and book either the act or the establishment.
Harisankar envisions that Beatmap, which will initially operate only in Mumbai, will eventually resemble nation-wide ticketing sites like Bookmyshow.com and will generate revenues by taking a commission from the sale proceeds. Though it’s only slated to be launched at the end of November, it’s already conducting Spotlight Sessions, which help put a focus on both emerging artists and unconventional venues. The first such session, a poetry reading evening at Kulture Shop, drew 70 people. The next event will be either a storytelling or stand-up comedy sometime in November, said Harisankar.