May 022011


Film buffs have the Internet Movie Database. Music video aficionados have YouTube and Vevo. But what’s the go-to Web site for live music?

The touring market is the fastest growing sector of the music industry, yet when it comes to big-tent sites that represent the experience as a whole — and do more than just sell tickets — there are few contenders. One young company called Songkick is trying to change that by feeding its users personalized news about live shows and creating an extensive Web home where fans can share all their concert memories.

Songkick’s main function is simple on an almost Web 1.0 level. After users sign up to track their favorite bands, the service sends free e-mail notifications when those acts are going to be in town, drawing from its database of more than 100,000 concert listings around the world. To fill in any gaps, it can also scan a user’s playlists on iTunes, Pandora or other digital music services, and recommend relevant events.

“We want to make it as easy to go to a concert as it is to go to the movies on a Friday night,” said Ian Hogarth, the company’s chief executive.

Songkick, which was founded in 2007 and is based in London, has also begun to make noise within the concert industry. According to some counts, as many as 40 percent of all concert tickets go unsold. Songkick’s method of user-sanctioned target marketing helps sell more tickets, said Sarah McGoldrick, marketing manager for C3 Presents, an independent concert promoter in Austin, Tex., which supplies listings data to Songkick.

“They have the right idea,” Ms. McGoldrick said. “They’ve gotten people engaged with the Web site, and that means that when they get e-mail they see it as relevant, and not as spam. And the most crucial step in any live entertainment marketing is, if you’re not relevant then you’re wasting your breath.”

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