At Low-Fi we believe in building a community around live music in intimate settings. We believe that musicians should get paid. We know that they have spent years honing their craft, money buying equipment and studio time, and countless hours trying to reach their fans by any means possible. We also want to create goosebumps.
The process isn’t as effortless as it might seem, as there’s a lot of peer-to-peer work involved. As much as we’d like to keep the platform free and open for anyone who wants to put their artistry into the world, we encountered certain challenges along the way that made us introduce a curating phase in the process.
Early in 2016, I remember I was having dinner and the person sitting next to me was scrolling on his phone, probably reading an article, and suddenly said “What, do you have balloon animals now?”. I thought he was referring to someone bringing balloon animals at the Low-Fi office. But apparently, someone who makes balloon animals at parties signed up on the platform. That’s when I realized that we need to create some sort of curation process. (Anne Dvinge, Low-Fi CEO & Founder)
Why are we curating?
Trust. Helping trust grow. Delivering on the goosebumps promise. We love giving people goosebumps and we want to make sure that happens. Curating helps us do that and also keeps a balance across all parties involved in the Low-Fi community. When one is looking for something on the platform they know it’s good because it’s been verified by another person. So, they know they’re not gonna have someone come around and not deliver.
And it works both ways because, for example, some musicians have been contacted to play background music at events. Some of them are not ok with that and it’s totally fine to say ‘no’. It’s crucial that everyone has a good experience all around. We verify the hosts because it’s important that they understand the concept and that the musicians are not asked to play for free.
Actually, it’s not only about musicians or hosts, it’s the whole process. We have the peer review process and the audience that gives feedback. The beautiful thing about reviews is that most of them don’t even know that they’re being reviewed and they are naturally doing an amazing job.
What are we looking for?
We don’t have a rigid set of rules, but a few guidelines should be in place. First of all, we’re not looking for a specific music genre, but we get excited when we meet musicians who can bring something of their own: identity and voice. If they do something where they have their own identity and voice, it really shows in their work.
There’s no home concerts experience needed, but we do look for people who would be comfortable playing home concerts. It’s either they’ve done it before or we can see from the material that they’re perfectly comfortable with playing live while being very close to the audience. They just need to like the format and be excited about or interested in the concept. It’s very personal and naked. People are gonna look at their feet because they’re right there.
It’s like having a conversation and people need to be ready for that. As long as they think that they’ll be comfortable. Musicians don’t have to be a rolling ball of emotion or constantly be entertaining. They need to be ok with having people close, kinda in their faces and need to be alright with making mistakes. The beautiful thing about making mistakes is that the audience gets a snippet from the music-making engine room. That’s very human and very beautiful.