Remember the first time you heard of MySpace? If you’re like me, a friend of a friend’s band was on it, and you wanted to hear what they sounded like before dropping the prerequisite $5 at the barroom door. For all the ribbing we love to give MySpace, its original intention, as a platform for musicians, artists, actors, etc. was sound in principle. It seems as though others have taken notice of the void, and are now bringing sexy back.
Just out of alpha, Stagee.com is seeking to provide a platform for talent and the entertainment industry to reach new audiences, as well as find new professional outlets. The Stagee team believes that singers, songwriters, dancers, comedians, etc. will warm to the platform, finding it easy to use, and ultimately create a buzz that will connect with fans, directors and producers.
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The site features an interactive voting system that allows true talent to shine, providing would-be fans with a mechanism for voting for a performer, rating said performance, and of course, the obligatory social sharing features. Naturally you can become a fan of any one of Stagee’s talent pool, but the site also offers a handy feature for keeping your fan-love private via a “Peeping” feature. This functionality allows you, the user, to keep an eye on talent; voting, updates, etc. without the talent actually knowing who you are. I could imagine that this would be a very handy feature for talent scouts who don’t quite want to let an artist know that they’ve got their eye on them, but still want to keep tabs on the future Mr. Bieber.
And speaking of talent scouts, therein lies the other side of Stagee. With the ultimate goal of providing a platform for talent to be discovered, Stagee features a unique Agent profile that allows for a simple search and filter tool to be employed, making it easy for casting directors, agents, and the like to find suitable talent for their next project. To keep things simple and transparent, Stagee has set up a number of limitations to both the “Just Looking” and “Agent” accounts, saving all the bells and whistles for where they belong; with the Talent.
Talent accounts are where Stagee truly shines. The company has wisely realized the connection between discoverable talent and YouTube, and has made video integration a snap (copy/paste URL). Likewise, the Talent category is the only account level that has the ability to upload multiple photos and create galleries. Stagee talent account holders will also be keen to keep their eye on their status points. Stagee’s status points are awarded based on users’ activity on the site, the quality of their profile and content, how popular they are across the entire site, and how visible and accessible they are to agents, directors, and producers. Sure, this might seem like a bit of a popularity contest, but in the world of entertainment…isn’t that the case?
Co-Founder and CEO of Stagee, Lior Maimon points out that outside of hard work, the other two things needed to succeed in the entertainment business are a strong fan base, and good contacts (oddly, no mention of actual talent), and this is where Stagee comes in. CTO Ofer Zelig notes that technology decisions were made with talent in mind, and that new users should find a comfortable, easy to use platform waiting for them.
Overall the site looks so-so, and I was hard pressed to find any features that really stopped me in my tracks. Granted, it’s still in an alpha stage, and I’m sure that there’s plenty more development to come, but in its current state…meh. The existing user base does provide for some interesting content, but with only some Google+ esque photo layouts, simple video embeds, and a lack of SoundCloud integration, I’m left with a bit of an “un huh” feeling. Stagee has also fallen victim to blogophilia, as of the top three rated artists on the site, only 1 has a blog entry, and it consists of only 3 words.
Again, Stagee has just been released to the world, and the paint is still wet on the canvas. The idea is sound, but at this point it’s in a bit of a catch 22, as it needs talent to fill store shelves, but can only attract talent if there’s a store to shop at, if you will. Apart from the mission statement of providing a tailored experience for talent and agents, I can’t really find the value in not using an already existing platform. Perhaps the offering can take roots in local communities, but it’ll be mighty hard to challenge Facebook’s dominance on all things social.
Stagee was founded in early 2011 by Lior Maimon, Ofer Zelig, Ran Haiman, and Lilach Yazdi. The company has received an angel investment of $330k and is currently seeking a second round investment.