How One Student is Revolutionizing the Concert Booking Process

Ben Melman is the co-founder of Booksmart, a concert-booking app.
Ben Melman is the co-founder of Booksmart, a concert-booking app.

For the audience, going to a live show can be as easy as purchasing a ticket and simply showing up at a venue. But for tour managers and agents, there is so much more work going on behind the scenes. Now, after building his chops booking concerts for major Drexel University events, Ben Melman, a senior in the Drexel’s LeBow College of Business, has launched a platform that will make the concert booking process so much easier for everyone involved.

The name says it all: Booksmart has the potential to be the first total management platform for processing live performances and tours. The game-changing app takes all of the information typically collected and shared through emails, phone calls and spreadsheets and puts it in an app that can be shared with everyone involved, from the tour manger to the crew to the artist. It’s one of those things where the clichéd “There’s an app for that” really means something. 

“Booksmart automates almost every single process that tour managers do,” Melman said.  “Through the concerts and all of my co-ops that I’ve done in the music industry I realized that the booking process was totally inefficient.”

With Booksmart, users can add shows, performance times, contact information, hotel or dinner reservations, flight information, and even browse local weather and Yelp reviews. And after every concert, users can do settlements and record how many tickets were sold or how much money was generated, in comparison to the contract to determine how much money the artist needs.

Having recently launched the web platform and iOS version of Booksmart, Melman already has clients like 2 Chainz, Dada Life and Capitol Cities, among some 40 others.

The senior entrepreneurship major came up with the idea in 2013 after booking major artists like Snoop Dogg, Waka Flocka Flame and 2 Chainz for various Drexel concerts. Eschewing the traditional model of pitching one’s idea or product, Melman has perfected the art of the “concert pitch” by promoting Booksmart at local concerts to tour managers and agents, and reflecting on their advice.

Booksmart, as displayed in the iOS format.

After partnering with cofounder Dylan Pierce, a recent Drexel graduate, Melman has built up the company on campus: writing the business plan during a course at LeBow, winning second place at the Business Incubator Competition held by Drexel’s Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship, and later working on the company for a six-month co-op with the Close School’s Entrepreneurship Co-op.  Students who qualify for the co-op can use their own company as their co-op experience and receive $15,000 in support of their ventures.

Now that the website and app are up and running, clients can try Booksmart for free for one month, and sign up for 15 shows and five users for $50 a month. Additional users and shows will cost additional fees. Next up for Booksmart is developing an Android app for the tour manager platform, and releasing a platform for agents in the next couple months.

Melman hopes to expand his clientele and raise $250,000 for the startup. He recently traveled to Los Angeles this winter to meet with potential clients and promote Booksmart on the West Coast.