Atlanta’s most famous homegrown musicians are household names, and the music industry as a whole is gaining recognition as one of the top scenes in the world. But behind every top hit is not just one artist, but a whole team that made it happen. And for individual musicians, producers, and other music-related professionals searching for those team members or partners, it can be hard to find others in the scene that exactly match your style.
“For a creator, finding your collaborator or your team is the best thing in the world,” says Elmo Lovano, a career drummer and musical director who has worked with artists like Skrillex, Miley Cyrus and Christina Perri. “But there was no database for this — creatives don’t use LinkedIn, and we don’t have an IMDb for music.”
“We needed a social database for the music industry.” To put his theory into practice, in 2017 Lovano launched Jammcard, a Los Angeles-based music professionals network that he describes as a curated LinkedIn meets IMDb meets Instagram, specifically for the music industry.
The app saw success immediately upon launching in LA, with Lovano using his professional network to encourage his first users to sign up and spread the word. Lovano says they are facilitating “bookings for some of the biggest tours in the world.”
And this summer, Jammcard chose its first city outside of LA to launch in: the hip-hop capital of Atlanta. Officially open for sign-ups at the end of June, Lovano says he would estimate that half of Atlanta’s music industry is already on the app.
Lovano, who is only 33 but has been touring professionally as a drummer since the age of 15, says the primary draw of Jammcard is the community it builds around it. He began to conceive of the idea in his early days on tour, when he saw even professional musicians having a tough time finding team members.
“I’ve always been about community, connecting people, shining lights on people,” Lovano says.
The invite-only app, which is vetted by a panel of industry veterans, allows members to create a profile — their ‘card’ — which displays their skills. The community can upvote those skills, similarly to a LinkedIn endorsement, as well as see an individual’s booked tour dates, photos and videos. The app has the Soundcloud and YouTube API’s baked in to get a full picture of an artist’s talents, and allows in-app messaging when you think you’ve found your perfect musical match.
“People also really like our search,” explains Lovano. “There’s a search by people, or you can do an advanced search that can be like, a drummer that’s also a bass player that plays hip-hop and lives in Atlanta. So you can go really deep in the search to find specific people.”
“You can build your studio team, your tour team, your artist management team.”
Jammcard showed their community aspect during the Atlanta launch with its signature ‘JammJam’ event, a members-only gathering of hundreds of musical professionals. In LA, Jammcard’s events have featured artists from the bands of Prince, Stevie Wonder, Justin Bieber, Beyoncé, Michael Jackson and many more.
500 members showed up for the Atlanta kickoff event.
Lovano shares that the JammJams are not only a guerrilla marketing strategy and a networking event, but also a source of content for the startup. Jammcard also has five original content series, once of which, “How I Got the Gig,” was licensed by the Grammy’s.
In fact, it is only through content from these series and YouTube videos of events that Jammcard currently has monetized. Everything within the app is entirely free at this point.
“Right now our focus is to build the brand and make our users super happy. We want to be hitting our members over the head with value.”
Beyond focusing on their expansion in Atlanta, Jammcard plans to launch in one other as-yet-unannounced market this summer. They hope to hire an ambassador on the ground in Atlanta, where Lovano says they have been very well-received.
“Everyone was wondering when and where we were going to launch our first city, and everyone just assumed it was going to be Nashville or New York. But I was really happy with our decision to do Atlanta as our first city out of LA.”
“To me, Atlanta is a fast-growing entertainment city and I wanted to show that hey, we acknowledge Atlanta. I feel that we embraced Atlanta and they embraced us back.”