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This new Sydney startup is here to change the way event planners work with musicians

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Calling all event, wedding, conference planners, and venue owners nationally – an innovative startup from Sydney is going to change the way you work with musicians.

Featuring a who’s who of up-and-coming Aussie talent (including talent from The Voice and The X Factor), The Hip Stars Band has arrived to deliver professional, online, national access to an array of band configurations and musical genres.

Founded by singer and professional musician Javier Trueba, The Hip Stars Band is a cooperative of national musicians – singers and instrumentalists. As a booking portal, they also make a point of encouraging and fostering original live music talent where possible, offering reduced fees for event planners willing to take a punt with an original play list.

The Hip Stars Bands also offers free monthly showcase events around Australia, where event planners can preview live performances and meet the talent.

What is the inspiration behind The Hip Stars Band?

“I wanted to rebrand the whole notion of a 1980s-style ‘wedding singer’ in event-based musical performances,” said Trueba. “In my professional career I’ve seen and done a lot of corporate gigs, and I knew there was an opportunity to do things differently – for both musicians and event planners. The Hip Stars Band has been nearly a year in the making, but early feedback is showing it’s what the industry has been looking for.

“It is important to bridge the gap between original artists and service industry musicians, acknowledging the talents of unsigned original artists who also play covers passionately,” continued Trueba. “Without original artists there would be no covers, therefore it is essential that we honour these musicians who understand the importance of the service industry by providing them with work opportunities.”

From a Jazz duo, or three-piece hard rock band, to a nine-piece Big Band swing style ensemble, The Hip Stars Band is flexible and diverse with their configurations and cater to any venue or event. For more delicate ceremonies, such as weddings, they are also able to piece together the finest string and orchestral players. The HipStars Band also designs personalised genres and playlists for any targeted audience.

How is The Hip Stars Band doing so far?

Anthill caught up with Javier Trueba, musician and founder of The Hip Stars Band, for an interview about his experience in the startup world so far. Below is what he had to share with us.

What were the main challenges of a creative startup?

After working in the industry for a long time, I was frustrated by the increasing lack of opportunities for passionate and talented musicians to not only work as musicians but be able to perform their original music also. There is an amazing Australian music scene and a lack of accessibility for the everyday person to access it for their events, weddings, corporate functions, and so on.

There are a lot of hard-working, professional service industry musicians that are also wonderful original artists. They know how to be both, so why not make that accessible to everyone who wants to book music? This gap in the market planted the seed of an idea, which grew to be The Hip Stars Band. My business partner Leonel and I had belief in the idea and the connections to make the business model work, but our main challenges, being creatives, were technical.

Another challenge we faced is the same as faced by many other industries: that The Hip Stars Band is operating in a space which is cluttered, and constantly changing. The live music industry in Australia isn’t what it used to be. Unfortunately, there is less original live music being played – there are a host of issues as to why this is, radio quotas in this country for Australian content are not being met, streaming, lock-out laws, a lack of venues; whereas in the 70s, 80s and 90s live music was being played in every pub on most street corners. Also, some musicians see a stigma attached to playing weddings and corporate gigs, which shouldn’t be the case.

What were the challenges you faced as a creative in a very tech-savvy space?

Understanding technical-based matters coming from a creative background, such as web development, was a big challenge. The learning process has been time-consuming for me as I’m not a tech expert, but a muso by trade. I don’t come from a web development or IT background so there was a lot of learning, trial, and error and flow charts galore plus having to do my best to articulate functionality.

Once you’re committed to a business venture you need to deliver, so that’s when perseverance comes into play. The development of the platform has been a long and arduous process. That said, the learning process has been interesting and fun, as well as challenging.

Another learning curve was my leadership skills have also come into play. Just as I lead a musical band, I now lead a team for the company that is The Hip Stars Band and have learnt that directing a band of different musical players is not that different to directing a band of technical experts.

How does The Hip Stars Band actually work?

The Hip Stars Band is a national cooperative of musicians and instrumentalists that acts as a booking platform for the public to access high quality, reliable professional musicians for events, in diverse formats – if they want a jazz trio, a singer/guitarist, a nine-piece band, we can arrange it.

We give event planners and venues incentives to allow the artists to include original content on the set lists as well as old favourites, in an effort to encourage new original content in a live setting. The way the platform works is that there are various packages people can choose from, allowing them to pick the configuration of musicians, and they choose the type of music.

We are one brand but we are made up of individuals so it’s not completely homogenised. Every singer is a personality of their own and every musician has something unique. The Hip Stars Band is dedicated to encouraging live original music in Australia, and we will be introducing a new feature to our website very soon – original tracks from our artists via sound clouds so people can listen to individual artists before coming to a showcase or booking through the portal.

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