Unveiling mySet with Sam Miller - Elevating Live Music Experience

Unveiling mySet with Sam Miller - Elevating Live Music Experience


I am thrilled to introduce a visionary guest who is making waves in the music industry. Meet Sam Miller, the founder and CEO of mySet. Sam's passion for music and innovative spirit have positioned him at the forefront of revolutionizing the live music experience. His platform, mySet, is designed to empower musicians and engage audiences like never before.

Sam's journey in creating mySet was fueled by his desire to bridge the gap between artists and their fans, making live music more interactive and enjoyable. As a leader and entrepreneur, Sam's dedication to enhancing the live music scene has made a significant impact on the industry.

What is MySet?

I asked Sam to explain what the app is all about, who it's for, and what problems it addresses. Sam recounted the moment of inspiration in 2017 at a bar in New Orleans. He and his co-founder noticed the inconvenience of traditional tip jars and the hassle of cash transactions for both musicians and audience members. Musicians were walking around with tip jars, and people were often asked to go to the ATM, disrupting the flow of the live music experience.

Recognizing the need for a better solution, they combined their expertise—Sam in technology and his co-founder in analytics—to create mySet. This mobile app is designed for musicians, performers, cover bands, and anyone who interacts with their audience. It allows fans to send song requests, leave tips, and make special comments, such as birthday shout-outs, all via their smartphones. Performers receive notifications directly on their phones, making the process seamless. For example, a notification might say, "Hey, John requested this song for $10," allowing the musician to instantly acknowledge and fulfill the request.

mySet addresses a long-standing challenge in the music space by helping audience members, who might be too timid to approach the stage, engage with performers. This engagement creates a unique, interactive experience. Sam emphasized that there's nothing worse than performing to a silent room, so mySet fosters a fun, engaging atmosphere where fans can scan a code, see all the songs the musician knows, and even request new ones. This two-way connection brings the focus back to the live music, enhancing the overall experience for both performers and fans, especially in bustling tourist markets where distractions are plentiful.

Challenges and Adaptations During COVID-19

Sam shared the journey of launching mySet in January 2020, just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, they built a robust set of features, attempting to predict what users would love. However, it was challenging to narrow down the most crucial features. Their launch in Nashville, a city renowned for its vibrant live music scene, seemed perfectly timed. They quickly began gathering feedback, forming partnerships with venues, and integrating their app into the local music culture. But then, the pandemic hit, forcing them to pivot.

With live shows on hold, mySet needed to adapt. Originally, the app required users to download it to request songs in person, a task unappealing after a few drinks. Recognizing the need for a more flexible solution, Sam and his team developed a web-based platform that eliminated the need for an app download. This adaptation allowed users to interact with performers through live streams on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

Despite the challenges, this pivot proved successful. mySet helped musicians continue earning during the lockdown, with many expressing gratitude for the financial support it provided. Stories of artists paying their rent thanks to mySet highlighted the app's impact. Moving to Nashville, Sam and his co-founder Logan immersed themselves in the heart of the music industry, gaining valuable insights into how performers used their product. This experience underscored Nashville’s unique energy and solidified their commitment to supporting the live music community through innovative technology.

Promoting mySet

In the early days of promoting mySet, Sam and his team got creative with their marketing strategies. They printed business card-sized flyers, each attached with a $10 bill, and handed these out as tips to musicians. This approach not only provided a tangible incentive but also introduced performers to a better tipping solution with all the relevant information on the card. This unique tactic helped them get face-to-face time with artists and generated curiosity every time musicians checked their tip jars.

Sam also shared how they capitalized on Nashville’s unique music scene, particularly during shift changes that occur every four hours in local venues. They approached musicians and audience members during these transitions, seizing the opportunity to talk about mySet when people were heading to their cars or just arriving. This on-the-ground promotion, combined with their shared passion for music and development expertise, played a crucial role in getting mySet into the hands of users.

Sam and his co-founder’s deep-rooted love for music and their backgrounds in technology made them the perfect team to tackle the problem they identified. Their hands-on, creative marketing efforts and genuine connection to the live music scene were instrumental in the initial success of mySet, helping them learn valuable lessons about product development and market introduction.

Enhancing Fan Interactions with mySet

A key feature of mySet is its ability to enhance fan interaction during live shows. Sam emphasized the importance of making it easy for fans to engage with performers through QR codes. Upon signing up, artists can receive customized design services to create banners, business cards, or flyers featuring a QR code that fans can scan. This approach ensures fans can easily access the mySet platform during performances.

Once fans scan the QR code, they are directed to a web page with the artist’s profile, featuring a request a song button. Artists can upload their setlist, including covers and original songs. Fans can then request songs and even pool their money to boost the priority of their requests, creating a dynamic and interactive environment. For instance, multiple fans can contribute to a song like "Sweet Home Alabama" until it reaches a specified amount, incentivizing collaboration among audience members.

The artist side of the app provides a comprehensive view of song requests, including details such as the requester’s name, the amount tipped, and any additional comments like birthday shout-outs. This system not only streamlines song requests and tips but also fosters a deeper connection between the artist and their audience.

Moreover, mySet supports international users, allowing artists worldwide to benefit from its features. Artists can also opt to receive an export CSV of all their interactions for integration into mailing lists or use a live dashboard that updates with show data. This feature includes phone numbers, facilitating text message marketing for new singles or announcements, thereby maintaining an ongoing relationship with fans beyond the live show.

One of the standout features of mySet is its ability to significantly boost artists' earnings through song requests. According to Sam, the average song request price is around $19, with some areas like Florida, Texas, and Nashville seeing requests as high as $20 to $30. Artists can set minimum prices for their songs, ensuring they are adequately compensated for their performances. This flexibility allows musicians to set higher prices for songs they play frequently or prefer not to perform as often.

mySet also offers a unique pooling feature where fans can collectively contribute to the cost of a song request. For example, one person can start a request for $10, and others can add to it until it reaches a desired amount, making the experience more interactive and engaging. This system not only increases the potential earnings for artists but also enhances the overall fan experience by creating a collaborative atmosphere.

Artists can manage song requests through the app by approving or denying them with a simple checkbox system. If a song is not played, the requester is not charged, and they receive a message encouraging them to request another song. This approach helps maintain a positive relationship with fans and keeps the interaction flowing smoothly.

Earnings from mySet can vary widely depending on how integrated the platform is into an artist’s performance. Top users have reported earning over $50,000 in song requests annually, while many others make an additional $100 to $300 per night. This significant income boost is coupled with the benefit of fans feeling more engaged and satisfied compared to traditional tipping methods like Venmo, as they perceive they are receiving a more tangible experience in return for their money.

Engage Fans with QR Codes

Engaging fans through QR codes is essential for maximizing the benefits of mySet, and there are various effective methods to do so. The approach can vary significantly based on the artist's style and personality. For instance, some performers, like a musician in New Orleans, successfully use simple white sheets of paper with large QR codes placed strategically around the venue, such as on stage monitors or by the entrance. By frequently reminding the audience to scan the code, he managed to drive a high volume of song requests.

On the other hand, larger banners with prominent QR codes can also be effective, especially for artists who might not engage as directly with the audience. These banners can be a focal point in the venue, making it easy for fans to participate without needing constant prompts. The key is to ensure fans understand the purpose of the QR code and the fun, interactive experience it offers. Clear communication about how to use the system and what it entails can significantly boost engagement.

Ultimately, whether using a single large banner or multiple smaller QR codes, the goal is to make the process visible and intuitive. Fans are more likely to participate if they are aware of the interactive opportunities and understand how the QR codes enhance their experience at the show. This approach not only increases song requests but also deepens the connection between the artist and the audience, creating a memorable and engaging live music experience.

About The Author

reuben avery bandleader and musician

Reuben Avery

Reuben is one of the co-founders at Back On Stage and is also a bandleader and musician. When he's not busy dreaming up ways to streamline the live music industry's inner workings, he enjoys performing with his 9-piece event band, practicing his trumpet and spending quality time with his wife and cat.


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