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When Katelyn Silver Howard’s husband, Nick, won Germany’s “The Voice,” his fan base increased as did his touring schedule. Yet somehow, despite packing out venues across Europe, they were barely breaking even. That’s when the pair had the idea for Bookable, a Nashville-based business that connects artists, fans and brands by creating unique and intimate live experiences. Katelyn’s prior career in events and marketing in New York City serves her well in her role as co-founder of this forward-thinking business model, which has already proven that it works for everyone — artists and fans. 

Find out more about this bright entrepreneur and the intriguing path that led the Howards to Nashville. Welcome Katelyn Silver Howard, our newest FACE of Nashville!

Katelyn Howard

Katelyn Silver Howard co-founded Bookable with her husband, Nick. We’re thrilled to feature her as our newest FACE of Nashville!

Where are you from, and what brought you to Nashville?

I’m from Milwaukee, WI, but lived in New York City on and off for 15 years. Nick and I met in New York, and we lived there for about 10 years and then Nick was asked to audition for “The Voice” in Germany in 2012. In a crazy turn of events he ended up winning the show, so we moved to Berlin for a year, and then we lived in London and Los Angeles before we decided to move back to New York City to have our daughter.

In New York, before and after “The Voice,” I was an event planner. I worked for a wide range of companies including Clinique, Tribeca Film Festival, Hearst, Glamour, GQ and a bunch of difference agencies. But my last job in New York I worked for an agency as one of the producers of New York Fashion Week. I loved the event planning world, however we were living in New York, and Nick and I knew we needed a lifestyle change. It’s an incredible city, but having one child there was hard enough, and we were hoping we’d be able to have a second. One of the things we were looking for in a city was finding a real home. We travel a lot, both personally and professionally, and we just needed a wonderful place to come back to. We looked all over the U.S. — Austin, Denver, LA, Chicago — and we felt that Nashville was the perfect place for us, especially 12South. We absolutely fell in love with the neighborhood. We moved here about a year and a half ago not knowing a single person, but we have met incredible people and we’re absolutely obsessed with it — it’s exactly where we want to be.

Katelyn Howard

Katelyn, pictured here with her husband Nick, bring both the event planning and artist experience to the table.

Tell us about Bookable. When and how was the idea conceived?

We were living in Germany at the time, and Nick, having just won the show, was doing incredibly well in his music career. Yet despite selling out 500- to 1,000-person rooms, we were barely breaking even. We were frustrated. Everyone else was making money except us, and it seemed crazy that after paying out musicians, managers, agents, promoters, labels and crew, there was nothing left for the artist. We call it the ‘middle class’ of music — you’re not Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, but you have fans, and they want to see you, but the overheads are so high. Living room concerts had been gaining traction, so Nick posted on social media that he was available for private house concerts. We said let’s try it to see if it works, and the first time around, we booked 50 shows — his fans were over the moon that they could bring him into their living room or backyard. That moment truly opened our eyes to a completely new market in the industry that’s not being utilized.

I am infatuated with NPR’s “How I Built This,” and one of the interesting things that the Airbnb founders had said when they were first developing the platform was that they were having to change people’s mentality about staying in someone’s house or renting a room. I think a lot of what we’re trying to accomplish with Bookable is similar in that we are showing artists that it’s beneficial to give fans a different and more personal type of live experience that can be incredible. The host feels like they’ve won the lottery, bringing a star into their home — they go above and beyond to be hospitable. They’ve rented out lavender fields, put up marquees, built stages, hired caterers and hosted their friends. The sky is the limit, which we think is really cool. For the artist, it’s more intimate, but the fans are super respectful — they’re so thrilled to have an artist in their home, and the artist walks away with the majority of the profit because most of the typical touring costs are eliminated.

House concerts are at the core of Bookable, but they’ve recently begun partnering with big brands, such as Pandora. “We started this to help musicians and to make sure they’re getting paid and that they’re advancing their careers,” she says of the motivation for launching the business.

How does the model work?

We were finding that a lot of fans and artists were trying to do it themselves, but they were worried about being the go between. Bookable creates that buffer that can help to negotiate the price, date, location, booking agreement and payment — it’s all the logistics that neither party wants to worry about.

Describe your typical artist.

The range of artists that we’re seeing really runs that gamut. It’s the super talented newcomer, who is still trying to build a fanbase, all the way to artists who are more established but are frustrated and need additional revenue streams. You can use Bookable to fill in off days when you’re touring — so it’s a fun way to pad out tours and let fans know when they’re going to be in town.

Why was there a need for Bookable?

On the host side, people are looking for one-of-a-kind experiences. Having been in the event world I saw that people craved unique experiential moments. They want the feeling of this is an experience I will never be able to re-create in my life.

From a cost perspective, the host can pay for it outright, or they can sell tickets to their friends. So what may seem like a daunting expense initially, can be much more realistic if everyone chips in $20, which makes bringing that artist to your home a reality.

Katelyn Howard

Katelyn, who lives with her family in 12South, says, “One of the reasons I love Nashville is I feel like it has the Midwest niceness with the Southern charm.”

Does Bookable just do house concerts?

No, we started with music because that’s our expertise, however we are already in talks with and have started to onboard songwriters, inspirational speakers, authors and chefs. We’ve helped clients book everything from having their favorite artist singing the first dance at their wedding, to providing the soundtrack as they got down on one knee and propose to their girlfriend. We have worked with restaurants, coffee shops and retailers to help host different pop-up experiences, and most recently, we have started working with bigger brands. We were hired by Pandora Music to help find an opener for the Zac Brown Band SuperBowl Pre-Party in Atlanta earlier this year. They came to us with specific criteria, and we presented them with the four best options. They chose a wonderful up-and-coming artist named Hunter Callahan, who now can say he’s opened for ZBB. For us, it’s a win-win because, again, we started Bookable to help musicians advance their careers and to make sure they get paid.

How many artists do you have?

We have 35 artists right now that we’re representing and developing. As the company grows, we will expand that. We have taken a range of musicians who are just starting out, to people who have been in the business for 20+ years.

Is your husband a Bookable artist?

He was the first and continues to be our guinea pig for new ideas.

What is the biggest challenge in your work?

I would say knowing how big and exciting this company could be but trying to grow it slowly to make sure we don’t lose control.

What has been the single largest success you have enjoyed?

Seeing the look on Hunter’s face when he got to open for Zac Brown Band and knowing that we helped change the trajectory of his career was a special moment for us. He got to open for ZBB, got paid really well and even got to do a shot of whiskey with Dave Grohl. That was the moment when I thought, Wow, this really works.

When Katelyn’s not working, she’s spending time with friends and family. “Usually after school, there are about 15 little kids on that trampoline,” she says of the family-centric street on which they live.

When you’re not working, how do you enjoy spending your time?

Chasing after my children — we have two incredible spritely daughters, ages 4 and 9 months. We love to walk at Radnor and 12 South, and we love tacos. Tacos and popsicles.

What is the best advice you’ve received and from whom?

Great question. It wasn’t advice, but rather real life experiences that have shaped me over the years. Throughout my career I have been extremely lucky to have several incredible and inspiring bosses who are women, and whether they know it or not, they were extremely instrumental in my development as a business woman.

Dina Wise Shapiro (Wise & Co.), one of my first bosses in NYC and still a very great friend, was really the first person who allowed me to be me in the workplace. It wasn’t necessarily one thing she said to me during my five-year tenure, but at a very young age, she threw me into the fire and gave me the confidence to direct and operate at a much higher level. She ran a small event agency and empowered me to take charge of all the high profile GQ events across the country and even abroad in Italy. Dina constantly reminded me that I was smart enough and very capable, and she was right. I credit her for allowing me to believe in myself and not letting my age be a hindrance.

Aside from faith, family and friends, what are three things you can’t live without?

Music, definitely tacos and sauvignon blanc

Thank you, Katelyn. To learn more about Bookable, visit thisisbookable.com. And thank you to Leila Grossman for the beautiful photos.

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She heads up the TriStar Spring Hill ER, and she absolutely loves her job! Find out why and get to know our newest FACE of TriStar better. Click HERE to meet Keri McKamey.

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