Harrison and I had a meeting with the CEO of SESAC and while we were biting our nails in the platinum album-lined waiting room, we saw a postcard that caught our eye- Sparkplug. It’s like the AirBnB of band gear!
Sparkplug is a community marketplace connecting musicians so that they can rent instruments, gear, and space from one another. Musicians harness their naturally collaborative community all over the word and rent whatever they need, wherever they need it in one transparent, secure place. And they do so directly from one another, putting money in the hands of peers when they’re between sessions or shows.
I had a chance to talk with Sparkplug CEO and Co-Founder, Jennifer Newman Sharpe, about Sparkplug’s role in the environment.
By using Sparkplug, how are musicians decreasing their environmental impact?
By engaging in the sharing economy as a whole, people can access the things they need by renting them from others, rather than investing in disposable items that ultimately end up in landfills, not to mention supporting that system. On Sparkplug, our members rent instruments and gear for shows, recording sessions, or just to try a new sound by directly connecting with another musician. This process not only saves money for our members over time; it also ultimately contributes to a more efficient use of the goods we already own and reduces the need for people to buy things unnecessarily. Because our owners are earning money on the gear they list, we have also seen that they are more likely to invest in instruments and gear that they plan to own for a long time to come because they know they can offset the cost by renting out on Sparkplug. To take it another step further, when artists rent locally on tour, they need smaller tour busses/vans and don’t need to bring all of their gear on airplanes (which is also a lot more expensive as well). Sparkplug creates a new revenue stream for musicians, producers, and studios, while also providing a more sustainable solution to creating and performing music.
Do you think the music industry is becoming more conscious of how it can be more sustainable?
I do think the music industry is increasingly aware of environmental concerns and there has been a shift towards more DIY, sustainable practices. I think there is a lot more that we can do and having more information available for sustainable ways to tour, record, create, and operate music businesses as well as organizations that focus on this mission, like Sustain, is the best way to continue to increase awareness and impact.
Does Sparkplug have any specific environmental goals for the future?
Sparkplug is very supportive of the sharing economy as a means for a more efficient use of resources overall, and we hope to continue to partner with other companies in this area.
What is the best way for our audiences to get involved in Sparkplug?
Sparkplug is free to join, browse, and list items. If you’re a musician with gear, instruments, or space of your own, consider renting it out to a fellow artist in need. Even if you don’t own anything that you would want to rent out, considering signing up and keeping Sparkplug in mind for your future rental needs. In addition to being a more sustainable use of resources, Sparkplug is generally less expensive than renting from a traditional backline company. Last, we appreciate when our users share Sparkplug with their friends and community. Our largest markets are currently New York and Austin, but we’re growing across the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and much of Europe, and our members’ support is key to help us provide our services globally and to better impact.
Many of our Green Roster bands tour extensively, yet don’t make Beatles bucks, so we wanted to share this with our members. Make some money when you’re off the road, save some money on the road, and go green!
Check out Sparkplug at www.sparkplug.it