Rob Cyrynowski believes that music will play a big role in the COVID-19 healing process.
It’s a scene in which he is no stranger.
Cyrynowski is the founder of Livestar Entertainment. But you might be familiar with some of his other ventures. Perhaps Cowboys Nightclub, the Palace Nightclub or the Whiskey?
He’s been bringing in entertainment talent to help fill those venues with happy patrons since 1991. Cyrynowski has been a part of bringing in big names like the Tragically Hip, KISS, Def Leppard and Bryan Adams.
“I was then able to form Livestar Entertainment, which acted as an independent talent buying service, booking agency, and sometimes promoter,” he said.
Back in 2014, Cyrynowski took a break from Livestar to work with the Invictus Entertainment Group. They work with some of the top names in country music, he said. They parted ways in 2018 and that’s when Cyrynowski saw an opportunity to resurrect Livestar as a booking agency.
“So, as we were putting those components together and working at that we, you know, ran into COVID-19 and we were about to really launch and hit our stride,” he said.
“We found ourselves in a conundrum, where the entire music business, live music business, sort of collapsed and was decimated.”
Back to the drawing board
Like so many other companies, Cyrynowski said Livestar had to pivot, too.
They look at the phenomena of people standing on balconies and listening to music outside their residence. That triggered an idea.
They repurposed existing properties, such as hotels, into live music venues. They collaborated with another Calgary company, Showpass, that allowed the booking of a hotel room. Cyrynowski said it was like having your own VIP box for the show.
In some instances, they were able to get 400 people in a venue to watch a concert.
“We were able to keep live music going, create jobs, hundreds of jobs, not only for artists in the ecosystem, but also for the hotel sector,” he said.
All told, with a number of events under their belt, they sold 3,500 hotel rooms and had 11,000 people enjoy live music – at a time when you couldn’t enjoy live music.
Once the pandemic subsides, however, Cyrynowski wants to continue along the path he originally intended. The hotels live series was a stop-gap solution for a fledgling business.
“My initial mission was to create Calgary’s only national multi-genre booking agency,” he said.
Be a part of reimagining live music booking
What the COVID experience taught him was that it’s possible to come up with an out-of-the-box solution for live music. It forced him to adapt and change.
His participation in Platform Calgary’s Reverb music accelerator program is the magnet to bring together like-minded people. He wants people in the field, but also those in the tech sector looking to break out with something new.
“(The Reverb) program for me was to help uncover those ideas and be around like-minded people in the tech sector so I can help reimagine it with them and come out of this with a new way of doing business, and a new way to promote our artists here in Calgary,” he said.
In 2022, he wants to have a stable of Calgary artists firmly established here. He wants to see national and international exposure for them.
Cyrynowski also wants to expand his initial foray into a booking app. He’d like to tie it into seat reservations, concert requests to build tours around and insight into what people want to listen to.
“That’s what I’m really excited about because I think there’s some innovative minds here that I can help tap into and I feel if I can share some of my business principles and concepts that I have for Livestar,” he said.
“I think we can uncover some new ways and new mindsets as far as how to reimagine the live booking industry.”