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M2 Music

Revolutionizing Musician Management with Knack

M2 Music

When enjoying live performances, we’re often impressed by the seamless coordination of vocals, dance, and the orchestra. However, there’s an equally impressive aspect that often goes unnoticed: the coordination of orchestra musicians.

M2 Music specializes in coordinating musicians including resource management, scheduling, and payment processes for a range of events, recording, TV & film, as well as Broadway shows and major concerts and touring orchestras for major artists all over the country.  Their responsibilities encompass managing multiple musicians for various shows, arranging substitutions, handling payroll, scheduling musicians, and more.

For this daunting task, owner Michael Aarons relied on spreadsheets, but that started to get chaotic. The core challenge he faced was the manual and error-prone nature of his spreadsheet-based system, which required constant reinvention of processes for different scenarios. So Michael turned to other options. He explained, “I needed to just have a database of all the current musicians that I know and work with.” 

The problem was, he was a musician, not a coder. 

He looked into various low-code resources, but they still required him to know how to work the back end of the app. He just wanted a solution where he could see the front-end web page and know what to put on it. A musician and music coordinator, Michael was looking for a solution to manage his scheduling, payroll, and hiring processes.

That’s when he found Knack. With Knack, he was able to build a powerful database to coordinate his musicians, without having to type in a single code. </impressive>

Streamlining Data Entry

Before Knack, Michael was inundated with people sending him resumes and video clips of their performances. He would also receive calls from musicians looking for job opportunities. With the help of Knack, he established a simple process where musicians could visit his website, input their details, and all the necessary information would be readily accessible to him.

This innovative system enabled him to efficiently manage a large pool of musicians, categorizing them by their musical skills and contact details. Musicians also had the ability to log in, allowing them to personally manage and update their profiles.

Simplifying Scheduling

M2 Music manages anywhere from half a dozen to a dozen Broadway shows concurrently, each with unique orchestra-scheduling demands. They required a solution to streamline the coordination of these orchestras and find substitutes when needed. 

With the help of Justin Webb and his team at Automated Solutions, they built a solution using Knack that provided a straightforward way for musicians to check their assignments. Since adopting Knack, there haven’t been any instances of musicians failing to show up because it has made it effortless for them to confirm their locations and roles in advance.

Ditching the Spreadsheets

Before implementing Knack, Michael relied on Google Sheets to manage musicians, but this approach presented several challenges. With up to 80 musicians trying to update a single sheet simultaneously, errors became commonplace.

Furthermore, Michael discovered that using spreadsheets was time-consuming and manual. Any deviation in a spreadsheet required starting from scratch for a specific situation.

Knack simplified this process, offering a user-friendly platform to store and organize all data according to his preferences. He could effortlessly generate tables listing performers or via a simple integration, produce professional PDFs for managers requesting information, all with just a few clicks.

Additionally, Knack allowed him to establish rules and conditions for unique scenarios, such as determining pay rates for a 3-hour rehearsal versus a 6-hour rehearsal or for musicians who played an instrument and conducted it simultaneously.

Expanding His Business

Knack has been instrumental in driving significant growth for Michael’s business. Once he adopted Knack and witnessed how effortless it made coordinating various aspects of his operations, he realized the potential for expansion. He likened the app to having a reliable assistant, saving him the trouble of seeking external assistance for tasks like crunching numbers.

In his own words, he recounted, “I thought, ‘Wow, I can actually scale up my business in a huge way, which I have since done.'” As a result, he transitioned from overseeing Broadway musicians to also managing major orchestras in large venues all over the country.

This expansion meant handling a larger orchestra, with up to 4-5 shows daily for seven weeks on one particular production. Knack seamlessly enabled M2 Music to adapt their existing app to accommodate this more intricate and larger orchestration.

“I haven’t found anything yet really that has been impossible with Knack.”


Knack has been a game-changer for M2 Music and its owner, Michael Aarons. It simplified their musician coordination process, replacing chaotic spreadsheets and coding complexities with an intuitive platform and allowed him to centralize and organize his database of musicians, capture new talent, and manage scheduling for multiple Broadway shows. The app has helped him scale up his business and save time on tasks like generating quotes, running payrolls, and sending professional PDFs. He has been able to hire additional staff and delegate tasks, thanks to the efficiency of the app. Overall, Knack’s flexibility and adaptability, particularly in handling complex industry-specific rules and workflows has been a game changer.

As Michael put it, “I haven’t found anything yet really that has been impossible with Knack.”