MARIA HAYDEN – COO of Headliner

Tell us a bit about Headliner – what do you guys do and what is your role specifically?
Headliner is an online marketplace bringing world-class artists together with anyone that needs them for their event. Think Airbnb for music bookings. We have made it effortless to book live entertainment whilst helping artists earn a sustainable living doing what they do best. We’re also currently developing additional technologies to continue to raise the bar further for artists to manage their own careers.

Officially, I’m the COO. But in a startup environment, I’m pretty much a jack-of-all-trades. From making sure there is coffee stocked, to speaking at international forums like Future Music Forum in Barcelona, to representing Headliner in AllBright community, everyday I find myself tackling something new.

How did you lift the idea off the ground?
I began managing bands leading them from small local outfits to national tours and major label offers. I also worked as a promoter in top London music venues. Whilst promoting together with my partner, Stan McLeod, it became apparent that the live music industry required more transparency and sustainability. We created BandWagon. We started BandWagon as a way to connect emerging artists with venues and festivals. We worked brilliantly together. In fact, so well that we got married! Trying to book a band for our wedding, we found the process cumbersome and fragmented. This spurred us on to take what we had learned from BandWagon.

What makes Headliner different?
Headliner merges forward thinking technology with a customer centric approach, Headliner is changing the way we book music as well as how artists are paid in the current music economy. Our technology allows artists to manage their bookings giving complete control over their careers.

What is your favourite thing about working in the music industry?
First and foremost, I love music. Being around creatives and discovering new artists and music will never get old. What’s great about working with music technology, however, is that I am constantly able to disrupt the current industry and make it better for the artists.

Top tips for someone who wants to enter music in the same way you have?
1) Be brave. try and find one that aligns with your beliefs. If you can’t find that, then start your own.
2)There are loads of talks and workshops that you can get involved in, i.e. Shesaidso, GeekGirl Meetup and SheSays.