Momma Told Me: The "Special Guest" App Connects Modern Consumers With Live Entertainment While Empowering Artists

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The "Special Guest" App Connects Modern Consumers With Live Entertainment While Empowering Artists

This content was compensated, regardless all thoughts contained below are authentic and honest.
In a day and age where you can order just about anything at your fingertips from your smartphone device why is it that booking entertainment for an upcoming event still seems a mysterious feat reserved for professional event planners?

Furthermore, where are all these amazingly talented people we binge on these reality competition shows week in and out and why do they tell stories of fighting to pay their bills despite their clear jaw-dropping talent?

In an industry where success seems measured by awards shows and notoriety we can all clearly agree there is no shortage of entertainment talent out there to be discovered and enjoyed. So why aren't they getting paid to do what they love?

Noted celebrity, actor, and comedian Damon Wayans, Jr and Special Guest app co-founder Kris Jones had the very same question in mind when they stood before the electric cast of Apple TV's "Planet of The Apps" to pitch their unique entertainment and talent booking application. Put most simply, in his own words, here's what Damon had to say when asked about the inspiration behind the app's concept:

---------"I do a lot of stand-up comedy. I travel around the US entertaining people and when I’m not doing that I’m home in LA refining my material. I do a lot of open mics. Open mics are where people who entertain for a living go to practice their material. It’s not just stand-up comedians. There are poets and there are musicians and what have you.

One time I was at this open mic, sitting there waiting my turn. Two comedians go up ahead of me; very funny guys, never heard of them before and they kill it. Then this young lady goes up, she’s a freckle-faced, young, redhead who goes up there with an acoustic guitar. She starts singing her own material and she blows me away.

Everybody in there was like, “Wow, why isn’t this girl famous already?” 

I had goose bumps and I thought to myself that it sucks that so many people who are entertainers will never get the opportunity to be paid for the thing that they love doing the most. They ultimately have to set aside their dreams and get a regular job and it’s because of the way that the entertainment industry is set up.

I have representation; I have a manager; I have agents. A lot of people don’t have that. So I wanted to make a platform for entertainers to make it easier for them to get gigs. One of my good friends put me in contact with Kris Jones and we just hit it off. I pitched him the idea, he loved it, and we just made it real"
The end result of Damon Wayans, Jr.'s appearance on "Planet of The Apps" was an astonishing $1.5 million raised in venture capital led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with participation from notable celebrities, including Kevin Hart (Jumanji; Central Intelligence), Marlon Wayans (Marlon on NBC; Naked on Netflix), Damon Wayans Sr (Lethal Weapon on Fox; In Living Color), and Jake Johnson (New Girl), as well as numerous technology pioneers, including Jack Chou (former head of product at Pinterest), Jimmy Lim (lead product team at Airbnb), and Jeroen Seghers (founder of Zugo; cofounder of Sourcepoint Technologies).

More importantly the following successful launch of the Special Guest application, currently exclusive to the App Store; entirely free to download for all users, talent and consumers alike.

Special Guest initially launched with an open database for Los Angeles area talent to join and list through the app's interactive and easy to navigate marketplace. You'll find skilled talent from DJs and comedians to bands, solo artists, and even videographers with easy to digest profile pages, talent samples, and honest booking reviews.
Imagine a world of live entertainment and talent at your very fingertips- and the potential to have real life talent at your venue, party, home, bar or more in a matter of a few simple taps. View hourly rates up front, search by type of talent, location, rating and more- Land established up-and comers or discover your own hidden gem in an entirely fresh industry newcomer.

As Wayans emphasized when sharing the inspiration behind the Special Guest app:

“A lot of entertainers and musicians do a lot of stuff for free, and they just wait for their big break-This is a great way to make money and take care of yourself. We have a lot of former ‘American Idol’ talent on our app already.”

As someone who has been raised and lived in the Los Angeles area for the majority of her life, many friends and family have arrived here to follow their dreams only to become quickly discouraged by the grueling chore of fighting to be simply seen. How wonderful is it that they can be represented through the Special Guest app and control the potential for their talent to truly shine through gigs of any size; getting paid to hone the craft they really love?
Most importantly, to artists considering using the app, unlike agents and managers, Special Guest does not take any part of their hourly/booking fee. Artists set their rates and they get all of what they charge. The application generates it's profits from simple service charges worked into the booker's total charge, that is to say the client pays the app for the service and the artist nets 100% of their rates as profit. This is the game changer: to democratize the experience of live entertainment and the way that talented people get paid. You do not have to have an agent to get booked.

You'll find the Special Guest app available for download currently on the app store, and can book, or list yourself as an artist, directly through the website today.

Of course, most importantly, for consumers such as myself, I can browse local artists and entertainment knowing I am supporting a passion while finding everything from the freshest to biggest local talent in my area. It's a win/win.