Songkick Gets Sequoia Funding, NYT Interview
Man, the live music tech scene has really picked up over the last few weeks. First, Thrillcall launched a mobile app that adds last-minute ticketing offers to its concert database service. Next, Google added concert info to their artist search results. Then, Setlist.fm got bought by Live Nation. A day later, Superglued also got acquired. And the day after that? We’ve got some new info on Songkick, who just got another funding round to the tune of $10 million from Sequoia Capital, the venture capital firm that invested in few tech companies you may have heard of (Google, Apple, Yahoo and LinkedIn).
Ben Sisario of the NYT’s Media Decoder blog has a solid interview with Songkick founder and CEO, Ian Hogarth, which gives us a glimpse of how the site has grown since 2007 and where the plan to go in the years to come. If you follow this space closely, then there isn’t all that much new info here, but Ian does answer some questions on growing concerns over Live Nation’s attempts to expand into this space. Given the concert behemoth’s recent purchases of setlist.fm and BigChampagne along with their gradual evolution of LiveNation.com, it’s clear they’re interested in finding a way to tap the online activity around concerts and the social web in some manner. And with Live Nation’s sheer size and scope, it should certainly be a concern to all the startups in this space.
But Ian hits on an important point about Songkick’s potential advantage as an independent entity, since — unlike Live Nation — it doesn’t have any vested interests in concert fans using specific ticketing services or directing fans to a certain artist’s tour (except, of course, its own site and app). In that sense, Songkick and similar upstarts like Bandsintown, Jambase, and Thrillcall, can at least appear more artist- and fan-friendly compared to the Ticketmaster/Live Nation powerhouse which also has years of pent-up fan frustrations to surmount.
With all that said, the concert industry has always been a complex and interweaving mess of interests that aren’t always in direct competition with each other. As such, an optimist would hope that these players can co-exist in some manner, with the larger shared goal of simply getting more music fans out to more shows. That’s definitely a mission we can all get behind. And Songkick’s now got $10 million banked to give it more time to do just that.
WHITperson -- aka Marc Whitman or simply "Whit" -- is a long-time LMB contributor known for his in-depth posting style and his knack for crafting interesting podcasts. Whit currently resides in Brooklyn, where he's building up his web development chops and hoping to put his technical skills towards something interesting in the music world. Follow his updates over at whitperson.com and on twitter @whitperson.
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