Creating the world's largest music instrument sharing service
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Fretish acquires Sparkplug. Thousands more instruments to rent. Thousands more users to rent instruments to (when everything returns to “normal”).

Boston, MA, April 15, 2020 – Fretish, LLC (“Fretish”), New England’s leading music instrument sharing service, announced today that it has acquired Sparkplug Marketplace, Inc. (“Sparkplug.it”), the original peer-to-peer music instrument rental marketplace and community.

Founded in 2014, Sparkplug introduced the “sharing economy” of music instruments to working musicians. Playing a prominent role at SXSW and other music festivals, Sparkplug quickly became an invaluable resource to musicians needing gear while on tour or heading into the recording studio. Within 5 years Sparkplug grew to several thousand users with an equally impressive number of listed instruments and recording venues.

Fretish was launched in 2017 by serial entrepreneur Sam Tharp. With a strong focus on developing a musical community and instrument sharing service, Fretish quickly became the number one platform for New England musicians – including hobbyists, Berklee students and professionals – to play fine instruments on an as-needed basis. Within 3 years, Fretish participated in the music tech accelerator program Project Music Portfolio at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and has been lauded as the future of MI by some of the biggest musical influencers on YouTube and Instagram, including Paul Davids, Mary Spender, Ryan “Fluff” Bruce and many more.

“We created Sparkplug in order to empower musicians. Building this platform into a thriving community and enabling our thousands of users to earn money on some of their most valuable assets – sometimes to fund a new record or extend a regional tour – has been incredible. Equally amazing has been connecting musicians all over the world with access to instruments and equipment they would otherwise have been unable to afford or find” said Jennifer Newman Sharpe, CEO of Sparkplug. “It is an incredible opportunity for Sparkplug to join forces with Fretish – a company that shares our values, vision, and priorities – to bring instrument and gear sharing to even more musicians.”

“This acquisition was made to bring the two biggest music instrument sharing services together on to one platform,” said Sam Tharp, CEO of Fretish. “By combining our assets – the users, instrument listings and recording studios – under the Fretish brand, we will achieve a critical mass that creates a defensible, unique value proposition no other MI ‘selling’ marketplace can match. If you are a musician that needs to rent a guitar, bass, amp, effect pedal or other quality gear, then Fretish is your go-to resource.”

How Fretish users will benefit from this acquisition:

  • Thousands of additional instruments available to rent – in the US and around the globe.
  • Thousands more prospective customers to rent to.
  • Set rental periods by hour, week or month. Plus, create custom quotes.
  • New mobile app (to be introduced in a few weeks).
  • Improved pricing! Joining the service is free. Listing gear is free. Whenever your gear is rented through the platform there is a 4% transaction fee.

The combined assets will operate under the Fretish® brand at https://fretish.com.

Terms of the deal, which officially closed on January 1, 2020, were not made public.

Remember: Stay safe and healthy. Follow social distancing/isolation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). When the medical community says it’s safe to come back into contact with others, then Fretish will help you get back to the business of making music.

About Fretish

Fretish® is a trusted community and peer-to-peer marketplace for musicians to list,
discover, and book unique guitars and gear for rent. Whether the available instrument is a Martin flat top guitar for a night, a Dunlop Wah pedal for a week, or a Fender Jazz Bass for a month, Fretish is the easiest way for people to showcase their instrument collection to a wide, yet qualified audience. By facilitating bookings and financial transactions, Fretish makes the process of listing or booking musical equipment effortless and efficient. Fretish was founded in July 2017 and is based in Boston, Massachusetts.
About Sparkplug Marketplace, Inc.

Sparkplug Marketplace, Inc. is the first peer-to-peer music instrument and recording studio rental marketplace. For professional musicians, their selection of thousands of instruments in music-centric locations like New York, Los Angeles, Austin and more help players secure their instrument and equipment needs as an alternative to backline services. Recording Studios and instrument owners use the mobile app to monetize their underutilized fixed assets. Sparkplug is trusted by thousands of musicians around the world. The Company is based in Brooklyn, New York.

How To

How To: Find Cool Guitars and Gear for Rent in Locations Beyond New England

A big challenge faced by new marketplaces – like Fretish – is to generate sufficient “supply”, so when consumers arrive at the site they actually have stuff to consider renting or buying.  Supply, in the case of Fretish, equals musical instruments – very nice guitars, basses, amps and more.  Fretish started in the summer of 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts.  And as you would expect, the instruments listed and the visitors to the site are primarily from New England.

We are now faced with an interesting problem – a good problem, really – which is that people from around the world are learning about the first peer-to-peer music instrument rental marketplace.  They want to play cool guitars and gear in the comfort of their own homes – whether that’s in Chicago or the UK, France and New Zealand.  However, they don’t see gear listed in these areas (yet).

So, how to address this challenge?  Increasing the amount of advertising is the most obvious answer.  And that is something we plan to do in the months ahead.  But, to really grow an audience on a sustainable, global level, there needs to be a groundswell of positive word of mouth by musicians.  “Hey, you’ve got to check this out” resonates more when it’s coming from a peer (or multiple peers) than from some TV ad running on the Olympics.

Below are some ways to help grow supply on Fretish.

  1. Tell Your Friends About Fretish – In person and via email*
  2. Contact people who have listed cool instruments (ones that you are interested in playing) on sites like Craigslist – especially, people who have described in their listing that they really don’t want to sell their instrument but need money.  Ask them if they would consider renting the instrument to you through Fretish.  Explain that they can A) join Fretish for free, B) list for free and C) keep the instrument and make money by renting it out.
  3. Follow Fretish on FB/Twitter/IG
  4. Forward the Fretish How It Works video to fellow musicians
  5. Forward the Fretish for Guitar Builders video to luthiers you know
  6. Visit Fretish.com
  7. Like and Tweet Instruments on Fretish to grow visibility on social networks
  8. Register with Fretish (it’s free).
  9. List an instrument for rent.  It’s free too.  Plus, when your peers see that you’ve listed gear, then they will follow suit.
  10. List an instrument for sale.  Ditto.

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* This pre-drafted email below could be used to describe Fretish to your musician friends.  Make sure to BCC all of the people you are sending this to (for privacy and common email etiquette).  And feel free to adjust to your own “voice”.

Proposed subject and body copy:

Subject: Sharing new musical community/marketplace called Fretish.

Body:
Hello.

I’m writing to pass along information on a new guitar community and marketplace that I think you might appreciate.

I recently discovered a peer-to-peer guitar rental marketplace called Fretish at http://fretish.com. It’s a bit like Airbnb, but instead of renting out your extra bedroom or guesthouse, you can list that extra guitar from your collection that regularly goes unplayed. In fact, with the extra cash earned by renting out some of your gear through Fretish, you could add to your guitar collection. You also have the option to list your instruments for sale.

There’s no cost to join Fretish. There’s no cost to post an instrument for rent or sale. You set the price for renting your instrument. You can set dates when your instrument is not available for rent. And you can define the terms of who you will rent to (example: must be smoke-free, climate controlled environment; rental provided only under supervision, etc.). How does Fretish make money? All transactions made through the site have an 11% processing fee, similar to how a consignment shop works.

So, how is Fretish a community? Music brings people together. And that’s what Fretish strives to do. Fretish is a community of, by and for musicians. It is built upon the principles of respect, honesty, encouragement, trust and discovery.

For more details, visit https://fretish.com/en/infos/how_to_use.  Or, watch this How It Works video.  Have additional questions?  You can write to Sam T, founder of Fretish, with questions here: https://fretish.com/user_feedbacks/new.

Thanks,
[Sender Name]

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Finally, the more Fretish knows about where you are located and the type of gear you are interested in playing, the better we can target our marketing efforts.  So, if you have the time and interest, please consider following these additional steps:

  1. Contact us – https://fretish.com/user_feedbacks/new
  2. Tell us:
  • Where you live
  • Which music-oriented YouTube Channels you subscribe to
  • Which music-oriented Facebook/Twitter/Instagram accounts you follow
  • The names of any off or online publications you regularly read/watch/listen to