Sean Moeller (BA ’04)
Founder Daytrotter and Moeller Nights

Sean Moeller knew he wanted to create an original, hybrid career from his passions and skills. When he started the session-based recording studio and independent music website Daytrotter in 2006, he wanted a space to showcase and write freely about bands traveling through Iowa. Then, Moeller stepped away in 2016 to pursue his newest innovation.

Here, Moeller explains what it’s like to be a self-made entrepreneur.

When I was young, I was addicted to newspapers. I was one of those kids who got really excited about the news each day.

I worked at the Quad-City Times since high school. I thought I would work at newspapers my whole life. But I felt a bit stifled—and I was in the newspaper business before all the doom and gloom, before everything shifted to digital.

I started Daytrotter two years after graduation. During my time in Iowa City, it dawned on me how frequently bands traveled through the state.

I started paying attention to tour routes. I wanted to give bands something to do during the day and also create a unique recording session that you couldn’t find anywhere on the internet. There was no Spotify, no iTunes. Bands would come in for a session and I would write about it on my website.

Daytrotter was really a vehicle for writing. I wanted to write the way I wanted to write without the restrictions of a newspaper or magazine. I wanted to write in interesting ways. I wanted to go Beat Poet on it if I wanted to.  The sessions were a nice bonus, and the hook to get people in to read what I wrote about them.

The beauty of the digital age is that no one knows what’s next; there are no experts. You just have to try something new.

I am doing that again. I want to make the Quad Cities a music town that rivals Chicago and other major venues. I started booking shows at Codfish Hollow (a music venue in Maquoketa, Iowa) through my new entertainment venture, Moeller Nights.

I’ve opened the Raccoon Motel, a venue in downtown Davenport, I started the GAS Feed & Seed festival, and I’m currently building a 4,000 capacity venue in East Moline called The Rust Belt. I see a lot of community opportunity, and we’re just creating more.