Booking software built for agencies. By agencies: a faster path to success for Atlas Touring
Make do. Or do something.
As a newly formed, Charleston-based agency for independent musicians, Atlas Touring did what many startup agencies do: use business systems they’d heard of and internal tools they maybe used in their previous jobs. For Matt Washburn and Caleb Coker, Altas Touring founders, that meant using a basic booking software application, spreadsheets and Google Docs. Their mix of tools worked okay, but they felt it was archaic with too many redundancies and steps to get the needed data and take any action.
Sure, it provided the ability to create a contact database, contracts and invoices, but it was “buggy,” outdated with limited features and reporting, and lots of errors that had to be manually spotted and corrected. They realized the system, although commonly used in the live music industry, wasn’t built for agencies. It was just the two of them building their business, so they made do, but they had bigger aspirations they intended to tackle when the chaos of building a business settled down. Little did they know the opportunity was right around the corner.
Reimagining the live music industry
As luck would have it Washburn and Coker met Matt Ford, founder of Prism Software, at a Pollstar conference, becoming fast friends. Shortly thereafter, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the Atlas founders decided that without shows to book, they could finally focus on upgrading their systems.
“There was a renaissance during the pandemic, where we and others in the business had the time to reimagine how things could be in an industry that is often slow to change,” says Washburn. “We knew if we were going to grow and be a legitimate agency, we needed software geared for agencies. We reunited with Matt at Prism to see if Prism could replace what we were using, but we thought we’d likely find yet another generalized software product we would end up settling for.”
Ford didn’t overpromise or suggest the existing Prism software would solve all of their problems and fit every need. Washburn and Coker were surprised to see how well the software worked already and to learn that the Prism team was not only open to suggestions to make it more agency-friendly but encouraged them. “Prism is always asking us how they can be better, and they take our feedback and deliver something to us within months,” says Coker. “With any other software I’ve used, I’ve never had someone I can speak to directly on how I think it could be improved and then it actually happens. They are constantly working to make our lives easier, even when we aren’t asking. We feel like we are working alongside Prism to build something great, and it’s truly next-level when it comes to booking software. ”
Admin tasks in minutes not hours
By working hand-in-hand with its customers, Prism has developed a constant feedback loop that allows a diverse industry to reimagine and build solutions together.. In essence, the agencies that use Prism are the ones that help build it.
Today, Atlas Touring is now leveraging Prism as their source of record and their central workflow system to significantly reduce workloads across the company.
Atlas Touring has all of their contacts in Prism, easily accessible, which is ideal with remote working. Agents can add notes to contacts and details to the contract directly in Prism without having to search for the information. With so many contracts and settlement work to manage, Prism streamlines and organizes everything with a simplified view. Prism’s Deal Tracker also provides one place to track deals, with instant visibility into when contracts are sent, signed and paid, and automated notifications when something is coming due or late.
“Before Prism, our agent assistant had to create an entire Excel doc just on payments and look at each show to see what’s paid and create six status reports for agents,” said Coker. “It took five or more hours per week. Now with Deal Tracker in Prism, it takes him less than 45 minutes to create six reports, and agents have a reference point at the beginning of the week. Instead of spending so much time on admin work, he now spends those extra hours on providing greater value to the agents, even booking talent himself because Prism makes it so easy.”
Intuitive and easy to use
The ease of use is something the founders both say is a game changer, not just in its convenience, but because of the snowball effect of that convenience. Atlas Touring trains assistants on Prism so they can be more self-sufficient and have a faster path to becoming an agent. Washburn says it this way:
“With Prism, we don’t have to worry about admin shit. If you don’t have good systems for the humans that do the admin, the whole thing doesn’t work the way it should. We have great humans with great systems, and that makes our agents able to work for our artists at the highest level possible.
“Using Prism, I can forward a contract to my assistant, they contract it, and they know exactly what to do. The data and functionality are in Prism without them having to dig for it or constantly come to me to answer questions, so I can be more productive, too. You start people off in their 20s with a great system and they become great agents sooner versus having them spend all their time in Excel.”
Live music industry wants vs needs
Altas Touring started small, but it now has seven agents and several assistants representing 40 artists across various genres, either on the booking or management side and sometimes both. The agency has gone from using an antiquated platform to a robust CRM built for how they do business.
And now with the entire ecosystem in one place, Atlas Touring believes Prism is not a “like to have” but a need for agencies who are likely still using a system that works but doesn’t add much room for growth.
“If you’re serious about working in the music industry, and you’ve persevered through COVID, you should be focused on making your processes as fast and efficient as possible, and Prism will be a major player in helping facilitate that,” says Coker. “It’s worth the cost because it's a great tool to have in your arsenal in this cloud-based industry that’s also heavily focused on relationships.”