Expanding client base hits the right notes

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Bg - sb - travelled music - from left to right - alan thompson - kyle wilson - ian thompson - small

A love of music has helped two brothers establish a leading tour and artist management company in the Borders whose clients are booked to perform at 40 European festivals over the coming months. 

Travelled Music, which has been helped by Business Gateway Scottish Borders, was set up in Berwick-Upon-Tweed in 2008 by Alan Thompson after he took on the management of his brother’s band. 

As his reputation grew, other artists joined the company and the part-time occupation turned into a full-time business with his sibling, Ian, joining the company in 2016.

Having benefitted from a package of support from Business Gateway Scottish Borders, including successfully applying for a Scottish Borders Business Fund grant to buy equipment, the company has grown further and has 15 artists and bands on its books.

A further two bands, including one from Canada, are poised to sign with them while Ian is set to jet off to Croatia with electronic artist, Proc Fiskal, who will play at Outlook, Europe’s leading dance festival that takes place in Croatia this September.

Ian said: “We work with Indie bands and artists who stay on the cusp of selling out and whose fan base grows organically like Caribou, a Canadian band who have a strong enough following to see them headline at Glastonbury. 

“Because a lot of the artists we work with come from abroad they don’t want to take their own equipment with them so we provide them with everything they need to tour. Last year, we had a tour on the horizon and the artist needed specific equipment we needed to buy. That’s when we approached Business Gateway Scottish Borders.

“Our adviser not only gave us help with our marketing, he highlighted DigitalBoost workshops that are really thorough and helped me understand how we could use social media to grow the business. His advice also helped us successfully apply for a Scottish Borders Business Fund grant that allowed us to buy the niche equipment to fulfil the tour. Without that money, we’d not have been able to afford it.”

Chris Trotman, Business Gateway, said: “Alan and Ian have carved a niche for themselves within the Indie music scene, offering musician’s services they need to establish and grow their fan base in the UK and across Europe. By working with us, they’ve not only secured an essential grant, they’ve build their marketing and social media knowledge that will help them gain more exposure and highlight that great management and tour support isn’t just provided by companies based in London.”

Alan and Ian’s love of music is hereditary, with their parents instilling the joy that you get from playing as well as listening to it in them from a young age. Both brothers play various instruments and discovered how the music industry worked by immersing themselves in the gig scene in their late teens. 

Now, the duo has created a part-time position to help them increase online engagement and hope to make the position permanent in the near future. 

Ian said: “We’d love to organise more tours and work with more artists, but the older we get the more we value our time at home so the plan is to take on more staff as we grow who will take over the running of the tours, allowing us to focus on the management of our artists.”

Find out how Business Gateway Scottish Borders can help your business by visiting their local pages or call 01835 818315.

Outwith the area? Find your local Business Gateway office or call 0300 013 4753.

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