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XLIVE Interview Series

XLIVE Interview Series - Steve Sternschein & Matt Ford - Prism.fm

This week on the XLIVE Interview Series, we sat down with Steve Sternschein & Matt Ford, Co-Founders of Prism.fm.

Prism.fm is a talent buying and venue management software designed to manage calendars, build offers, track revenue and expenses, advance and settle shows, and more.  Read the interview below!

Prism FM - home-features-screen1

Prism is revolutionizing how live music events are managed

Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us today. For those who don’t already know, can you give us a brief overview of Prism.fm and tell the readers how Prism fits into the live event landscape?

Prism’s sole mission is to remove every last bit of friction and pain from the booking and venue management process and replace it with insight and empowerment.

Steve, you have experience as a concert promoter & venue operator in Austin, Texas. How does this experience help you and the Prism team, and what were some the pain points you noticed as a promoter and venue operator which Prism is now helping with?

As a venue owner and promoter I literally used every productivity tool out there from google sheets to salesforce to streamline our processes.  While each tool I tried offered a partial solution, and could be hacked together (ie google calender for holds and scheduling, sheets for projections and settlement, asana for project management, slack for communication) I spent a ton of my time getting these systems to talk to each other, to move details from one to the other at the right time so that my team could do their jobs effectively.  I found that more often than not, the inefficiency in communicating details cost me not just time, but money, for example, when we neglected to charge a client for a last minute cost or a night manager copy-pasted a settlement sheet with an error resulting in overpaying an artist.  Having data in a dozen different places also created accounting nightmares, and made it difficult and time consuming to generate and pull insights out of reports.  I had a dream with my partner Matt of a unified system of management and reporting for the business…and we built it!

Matt, your background is in technology. Can you tell us about your time before Prism, and how you made the transition to running a talent buying and venue management software solution?

I have been a tech entrepreneur since I was in college, and my first serious project in college was an online marketing tool for festival promoters, so I guess you could say that running a software company catering to the needs of the live music professional is nothing new for me!  I have always had a passion for music and a great respect and interest in the people behind the curtain so to speak making it all happen for the fans and the artists.  I have produced hard ticket shows and a small music festival, so I also know exactly how difficult it is to pull off, and to make it look effortless.  Wouldn’t it be great if it actually was effortless?  Or just a little easier ha ha?  I believe we are making a positive impact on a large and traditionally underserved group of people, solving a serious problem elegantly, and there is nothing more exciting or fulfilling for an entrepreneur than that.

With regards to other talent buying and venue management solutions for event organizers, what makes prism different and what are some of the unique features which event organizers get with prism?

Well, we’ve already mentioned that it is an end-to-end solution, so we’ve got calendar management, offer generation, cost and revenue tracking, settlement, reporting, and task management all in one place.  So being able to do everything you need to with your team in the same environment is definitely a critical feature for us.  On top of that, we’ve not really seen anything yet that comes close to our offer generator, expense tracking, settlement and reporting tools… folks have made some attempts at each of these things but our growing list of customers would probably agree that Prism is the only tool that really nails it.  One of the coolest new features we’ve launched is a Eventbrite integration that allows EB users to export their confirmed offers from Prism into EB, so instead of having to re-enter ticket scaling and other event details, all this happens in one click…and then when the show is onsale, EB automatically sends Prism up-to-the minute ticket sale data, so our clients can see where they are at with their show effortlessly.

Image of a Prism.fm dashboard

What’s on the roadmap for Prism? What new features can users be on the lookout for, and what are some of your teams’ goals for 2019?

Well, we are very excited to launch our first set of network features – which address some of the inefficiencies we’ve seen at the top of the funnel so to speak when promoters and venues are sorting thru avails and holds.  We are going to save calendar managers an incredible amount of time and headaches very very soon!  We are also developing some more advanced reporting and analytics features such as module that helps with taxes and contracting , and an entry point in our system for artist representatives (agents, managers, etc) to further streamline communication and collaboration in the event production process.  We are also working on a ton of third party integrations (eg – quickbooks!) to automate moving details into and out of the Prism system.

Who is a typical client for Prism?  Is there a vertical within the live event industry which you work with most?

Independent regional and national concert promoters and small to mid-sized venues.  Teams of one to teams of 1,000 and everything in between.

What’s the best part of your jobs, and what aspects keep you up at night or give you the most challenge?

Well, we see our job as helping our clients to sleep at night, so when we get calls from promoters just gushing over how much time and stress they are saving once they’ve fully onboarded, that is the best for sure.  On the flip side, all that stress and responsibility has to go somewhere, and we certainly feel responsible as caretakers for critical information and process, so we have to execute perfectly.  I (Steve) would accept nothing less from my team as a concert promoter, so I expect the same from my technology partner.  We offer 24-7-365 customer support so literally if a customer has a problem, it keeps us up at night while we sort it!!

Can you give us a bold prediction for the venue management and talent buying space in the next 5 or so years?

In five years, every show in every room around the world will be powered by Prism, promoters and venue operators will be sleeping soundly in their beds or maybe in their self-driving electric cars every night, free from the endless cycle of calls, texts, and emails that used to fill their every waking moment before they saw the clarifying light of organized data through our Prism :).

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