Laura Simpson is one of the Co-founders and CEO of Side Door. She is a living large, DNA music pumping through her veins, music industry professional. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

She also founded The Syrup Factory, which began hosting house concerts in 2011, offering strategies and services to artists in 2015. She’s also been an organizer in the art scene since she was 14 years old going to all ages shows and then eventually taking live music photography and freelancing. She was writing about shows and artists, becoming a journalist for seven years with CBC and Roger’s Radio.

Eventually, she found her way back to the music world and has been involved in numerous initiatives from working as an Expert Development Program Officer and Communication Manager for Music Nova Scotia. She’s also worked with the Halifax Jazz Festival, the CAPACOA, and the East Coast Music Association. In 2015, Laura even mentored with some top-tier music marketing team at Blackbox in LA.

She’s even juried for Music Nova Scotia, The Halifax Pop Explosion, CBC Music Search Light competition and the Juno’s. She’s now one of the co-founders and the CEO of Side Door, where they have a dream of making things better for touring artists and live music fans.

Micro-Gigs. Everywhere. All the time.

Episode Overview:

Side Door Access was started with the welfare of the artists and the fans enjoyment deeply in mind.  The business is built on tech to make it easier for artists who are trying to find places to tour and to have better profit margins. When it started, they located venues that are low overhead, including houses, cafes, bookstores, churches and people who want to offer that space for a show.

The platform offers a split so that the artist gets the majority of the revenue, and a portion is offered to the host to cover costs and then Side Door takes a typical booking fee. Side Door is building the tech so that they can try to create an almost like a Tinder-style match between the host and the artist. Using their preferences, they put in the details and instantly they’re going to get back basically a match for a show they could play at the location at this time.

it’s an automatic contract that’s made and the two parties decide what they want to do with that show and they’re off to the races. Side Door does all the ticketing, helps with the promotion and, supports them with best practices. One of the founders is a host herself.

Laura’s Co-founder is Dan Mangan who is a Juno award-winning artist in Canada and he built his career on doing house concerts and now he’s doing huge concerts. They have seen both sides of that process. They wanted to find a way to make it a little bit easier for artists who are constantly struggling to make a living with all their touring.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • The people are the resources. You don’t think about it unless you talk to those people.
  • A network can give you ways to structure your business or ways to finance the company.
  • The company survives and thrives based on trust by influencers.
  • Not every company wants to be a Unicorn but a zebra which is like the strong and steady
  • Staying true to your personal philosophy and motivation for doing it.
  • Take advantage of scheduling tools to make things easier
  • Walk the dog every single day for an hour keeps clear your head
  • Moving outside and being outside in the fresh air is close to meditation and makes you more productive later during the day.
  • Steadying and maintaining the philosophy and that motivating factor which keeps you going forward.


Resources Mentioned:

Productivity Tool: Podio

Productivity Tool:

Website: Side Door Access

Website: Haligonia

Conference: Dazzle Con

Book: The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

Book: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by by Chris Hadfield

Book: Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

Hotspots: Agricola Street Brasserie

Hotspots: The Seahorse and The Marquee

Hotspots: Seafood at Nova Scotia

Twiter: @novascotiamusic

Company Overview:

Side Door is a startup in BETA phase. We give audiences instant access to intimate and unique events happening right in their own neighborhoods. Artists match with hosts who turn their private homes, businesses or alternative spaces into venues while we manage the ticketing fairly and transparently.

Our goal is to create a direct-to-audience gigging economy, trimming overhead and making touring financially feasible even for emerging acts. We want to foster connective tissue between people in tactile offline shared experiences.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This