07:43 AM

Songkick: Building A Business Tracking Concerts

Songkick is a rapidly growing music site focused on one simple thing: letting you know when your favorite musicians are playing in your town.

Songkick won't disclose its traffic but says it is second in size to Live Nation/Ticketmaster, which has about 12 million unique visitors per month. It believes that it can easily become a high traffic site with more than 60 million unique visitors per month.

Visitors to the site register the bands that they'd like to see and Songkick sends them an email when their artists are in town, along with venue and ticket information.

I spoke with co-founder and CEO Ian Hogarth. Here are some notes from our meeting:

- The company was founded in late 2007 as part of Y Combinator. We then had an angel round with investors from London, New York and San Francisco. And then we had a Series A in December 2008, raising $4 million from Index Ventures.

- We are located in London but I'm moving to San Francisco very soon. It's important to be here because this is where the major platforms are, and also, there is a higher chance of serendipitous meetings. Every time I come here unexpected good things happen.

- We solve a problem in that about 50% of concert tickets go unsold and that's mostly because people don't know the concert is happening. Our site is built around the music fan.

- Concerts are a $30 billion industry in the US.

- We have built sophisticated crawlers that visit 127 ticket vendors to find out who is playing and in which cities. We try and track every venue, including small ones. We track all types of music except classical. It's difficult to say you are a "Mozart" fan because that can cover a lot of different types of events.

- Our site also collects reviews of concerts plus we have an archive section which carries details of concerts 20 or thirty years ago. People upload photos, video, and setlists.

- At our present rate of expansion of 20% a month, we will be larger than Ticketmaster in about a year.

- We have a deal with Yahoo search where we add value to its music searches.

- We are looking to expand in Asia and in South America. Whenever we open up a new country we try to make sure we have all the concert data in that country. US and UK are our primary markets.

- Two years ago the music industry reached the point where bands were making more money from live concerts than from recorded music sales.

- Live Nation/Ticketmaster has a monopoly on ticket sales in many US venues but that won't last. In the UK, for example, there are many different ticketing services.

- We intend to make money in a variety of ways, some of which we are still exploring such as driving ticket sales, and also working with bands to help them reach fans with messages and with merchandise.

- We don't provide links to band web sites. Usually, band web sites aren't very good.