Year in Review 2019


Welcome to our year in review! We want to highlight some of the amazing things that have happened with our company and our community this year.

2019 was about laying the groundwork for a platform that simplifies and automates the repeatable tasks involved in booking a show. Now you can find your match, book a show, launch a ticketing page and get paid out, all on your own. 

2020 will be about implementing what we’ve learned: improved designs, expanding our recruitment and support efforts and moving into the United States in a big way with our SXSW project

We are on our way to creating a new status quo for live entertainment: shows… on your own terms.


We’re rather nerdy when it comes to numbers. They tell a story. So in addition to laying the foundation, this year was also about understanding the challenges and struggles. So that we can do better.

  • Hosts 125 –> 786 (+661) +529% increase 

  • Artists 364 –> 2060 (+1696) +466% increase

  • New Shows booked 50 –> 214 –> 500 +134% increase in 2018 (900% increase from 2017)

  • 414 completed shows

  • 1 out of 5 tickets are repeat purchases.

A map of Side Door hosts in North America

A map of Side Door hosts in North America


Featured Reviews

We started publishing reviews on artist and host profiles this year, so you can see what audiences are saying after attending shows. More than 90% of reviews are 4 or 5 out of 5 stars! Here are a few we loved.

Sun Harmonic - artist review
“I want to take a moment to spread the gospel of Side Door. I gave my debut house show with them last night and have another tonight, this will carry on for years I hope. I'm proud to be #BookedwithSideDoor! It's built by artists to give musicians a respectable and enjoyable experience while playing gigs out there in a treacherous and greedy environment. Artists create a profile and pair with Venues (homes, halls, community centres, cafes, etc) If they “match”, Tinder-style, they work together to book a show and make magic happen for one night. The artist is paid to perform! It’s revolutionary! Breaking-Even is rare for many of us, most pay to play, most barely get by or give up because there’s truly cruel treatment out there. I've been blinded and tricked by so many venues and walked away with empty pockets after working for 5-8 hours at a venue, from setup to performance not to mention the years (decades) involved to prepare to play a show of music (especially if it's original). I understand most venues and bartenders and even people don't see musicians as "working", they see them as promoting and gaining "exposure" when they sing. But you know, exposure paid for my first few hours of rent in 2019, and I finance the rest of my career myself. It's hard. And Side Door comes in to change that and put money and true music appreciation at the forefront. Thank you @danmanganmusic for your work to build this, I hope it grows into a mighty empire and I'm very glad to be a small part of it from the beginning. Cheers!”

Audience Reviews

Forward Music Holiday Review at The Syrup Factory “Huddled together in a cozy atmosphere with strangers and friends to hear amazing music on the first weekend of December. I can't think of a better way to spend a chilly Friday night. These are the types of nights that leave you reeling; that find you lying in bed later that same evening thinking of how - for a few seconds, minutes, or hours - nothing else mattered. Everything that whips by you in the blink of an eye, everything that weighs on you longer than it should, everything that feels like it can't or won't relent -- all of this washed away in the glow of white Christmas lights, the careful yet carefree delivery of an earnest musician, and the feeling of knowing that - very likely - someone else in that living room is also feeling the powerful weightlessness of this much-needed levity. This is why we gather.”

Gabrielle Papillon at The Bus Stop Theatre “The show reminded me what I like so much about small venues with local artists. There is a sense of intimacy and familiarity that makes the whole evening as comfortable as your favourite sweater.”


This year was an incredible year for development. It began with the launch of Version 1.0 of our platform - after just over three months in beta, non-stop feature-building, and the realization of our first journey map. At the end of the year, we began work on Version 2.0. After the launch of 1.0, we were able to take a step back and evaluate what we had built. What followed was months of introspection, iteration, and improvement. Our product is no longer “just being updated.” Minor fixes and feature-requests have now been eclipsed by a resounding visual overhaul - a fresh, new look for the brand - coming January 2nd!


Throughout the past year, Side Door CEO Laura Simpson and members of the team travelled to select conferences and festivals in Canada, Europe and the U.S. to promote the company as a leading presenter in tech innovation for the arts. We held workshops and hosted shows, and met with so many amazing artists, hosts and industry folks. Thank you for inviting us to be part of your event! Summit LA19 in Los Angeles (November 2019), Mondo NYC (October 2019), BreakOut West (October 2019), Pop Montreal (September 2019), Reeperbahn in Hamburg Germany (September 2019), San Francisco (twice in the summer), Canadian Music Week (see the pitch here - May 2019), Collision (May 2019), East Coast Music Week (May 2019), SXSW (March 2019) and Folk Alliance International (February 2019). In addition, co-founder Dan Mangan toured all over the world, waving the Side Door flag from the stage, and made appearances on the Comedy Bang! Bang! Podcast and Jimmy Kimmel.

Co-Founders Laura & Dan in San Fransisco

Co-Founders Laura & Dan in San Fransisco



Gianna accepting our award for Impact in Live Music from BreakOut West

Gianna accepting our award for Impact in Live Music from BreakOut West


Thank You

Thank you to all of our employees, contractors, advisors, investors, partners, funders, hosts, artists, and audience members. We simply couldn’t do it without you.

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