2 MINUTES ON…ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Issue: 

with
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.