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Rehearsal spaces? There’s an app for that!

Finding, booking and managing rehearsal rooms now has a high-tech solution. MUSIC:ED talks to Gabriel Isserlis, founder of Tutti, ‘the Airbnb for creative spaces’.

In this sharing-economy-driven age, no area of activity seems immune from technological ‘disruption’, as cloud-based software systems – and the business ideas driving them – demolish the inefficiencies of the physical world.

Finding, booking and managing rehearsal rooms now has a high-tech solution. MUSIC:ED talks to Gabriel Isserlis, founder of Tutti, ‘the Airbnb for creative spaces’.

Gabriel Isserlis combines an impeccable musical pedigree – his father, mother, two aunts, two uncles, grandmother, and great grandfather worked as professional classical musicians – with a fascination for technology and its applications. It’s perhaps not surprising, therefore, that his start-up, Tutti, aims to solve one of the perennial problems faced by budding performers: finding rehearsal spaces.

Isserlis’ ambition is to build Tutti into the Airbnb for creative spaces.

‘We want to enable artists to find ideal places to practise music, acting, dance, film or photography. Spaces range from homes to churches, along with clubs, gyms, studios, and many more. Our hosts find a creative purpose for their dormant space and resources, and earn money at the same time.’

The Tutti founder noticed the frustration felt by many musicians when unable to practice, either due to their living arrangements, their university facilities being impossible to book, or being in an unfamiliar city with no contacts or knowledge of the area.

Hosts list spaces on the Tutti platform, where they have full control over their profiles and charging rates. Tutti promotes the space to potential customers, and in exchange for successful bookings, receives a 15% commission. The company can also help with photography and fine-tuning the online listings.

Available on Tutti: full theatre in Limehouse © Ian Dingle
Available on Tutti: full theatre in Limehouse. Photo © Ian Dingle

Tutti launched in London at the beginning of 2019 and so far has listed 50 spaces in 35 locations. The next stage is to build up the portfolio significantly to accommodate artist groups of all sizes and disciplines. Most of the performers looking for spaces are pianists and small classical ensembles, though there have been enquiries from bands, choirs and dancers. One customer is a therapist who likes to book theatres and small stages to use with her clients, which is ‘a fantastically creative use’ of the Tutti service.

Currently, Tutti is focusing on the UK market, with plans to expand beyond London within the next 12 months. Isserlis stresses that customer satisfaction is the main goal, and to support this, the company will be launching a dedicated smartphone app by the end of the year.

Tutti also recognises the potential impact on the company’s customers of partnering with other organisations, as Isserlis explains:

‘One of the key reasons we chose the name Tutti is we want to exude a feeling of community and collaboration. We are working on partnerships with a number of other creative tech companies, and we are already corporate members of Making Music and the Incorporated Society of Musicians. We are always open to partnerships with other organisations whose values align with ours.’

Given the nature of Tutti’s users, is noise a problem? According to Isserlis, Tutti takes steps to ensure that when homes are being booked, they are being booked for activities that are ‘appropriate for that space’.

‘We have a filter when searching for Amplified vs Acoustic, and our hosts have three days to accept or reject a booking, in which time they can ask the artist for all details they need to know up front, including what the space will be used for and how many people will be coming. Most of our homes listed are simply sharing their wonderful, underplayed pianos.’

Isserlis has thrown himself into the business full time, and has funded the early stages of development from his own pocket. ‘If Tutti were not my full-time focus, I’m not sure it would ever get off the ground. I am extremely committed to making this succeed as I believe it will help a lot of people, so for the moment, I work on it day and night, seven days a week!’

Visit the Tutti website for further information.