Sean: We Strive To Create an Ecosystem That Is Equitable, Diverse, and Inclusive

August 24, 2022

We’re helping build a future where live performance is accessible and welcoming to all. We strive to create an ecosystem that is equitable, diverse, and inclusive.

Whether it’s a living room, backyard, office, or storefront, Side Door connects artists and hosts to book memorable shows in any space.

We serve artists’ needs. We champion underserved audiences and underrepresented voices. We value collaboration, transparency, and decentralization.

We use technology to give agency to artists, opportunities to hosts, and access to audiences.

Tell us about yourself?

About our co-founders Dan Mangan and Laura Simpson:

Laura Simpson is a music industry professional, living with her family in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She founded The Syrup Factory, which began hosting house concerts in 2011 and offering strategy and services to artists in 2015.

She has been an organizer in the arts scene since she was 14, going to all-ages shows and then eventually taking live music photography and freelance writing about shows and artists.

That led her to be a journalist for seven years, working for CBC and Rogers Radio. Eventually she found her way back into the music world and worked as Export Development Officer and Communications Manager for Music Nova Scotia.

She has also managed and produced for the Halifax Jazz Festival, CAPACOA, and the East Coast Music Association.

In 2015, Laura mentored with the top-tier music marketing team at Black Box in Los Angeles.

She has juried for Music Nova Scotia, Halifax Pop Explosion, CBC Music Searchlight competition and the JUNOs.

Dan Mangan is a two-time JUNO award winning & two-time Polaris Music Prize listed musician and songwriter. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife and two sons.

He has scored TV shows for Netflix, CBC and AMC, as well as Hector And The Search For Happiness, a feature film starring Simon Pegg. Mangan has released 5 studio LPs, a handful of EPs and has spent more than a decade touring extensively in North America, Europe, the UK and Australia. Dan got his start as a DIY artist playing house concerts and underground arts spaces.

He learned early on the value that this ecosystem can bring to artists and audiences alike. To help acts on his small record label tour, Dan created a spreadsheet-based network of house concert hosts in 2015. The Madic Records House Concert Series caught the imaginations of many and was the blueprint for what has now become Side Door.

What problem does your business solve?

We help people become stakeholders in the world of live entertainment by removing barriers to access.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Side Door’s co-founders witnessed that far too many wonderfully capable and talented artists were burning out – unable to make it through the funnel of industry gatekeepers toward a sustainable career.

They knew from their respective careers in the music industry that intimate, small shows in unusual spaces with low overhead could often be just the perfect storm from which feasible touring budgets and faithful, dedicated fanbases could be born.

There are many internal mottos at Side Door, but the one most quoted is: “If your footprint cannot be wide, let it be deep.”

What is your magic sauce?

We’re a small team of people building an equitable and efficient global ecosystem for the performing arts.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

We believe artists deserve more control and fewer gatekeepers.

We want to support and facilitate an interesting, diverse, and daring ecosystem of expression – one which serves artists at all stages of their careers, and where anyone can find, grow, and connect with their audience.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The global pandemic causing the live performance industry to press pause.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

Artists and Hosts can sign up and create a profile at sidedooraccess.com.

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