How Songkick is changing the music industry - Technical.ly Brooklyn

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Sep. 2, 2015 9:46 am

How Songkick is changing the music industry

In an era where concerts are the primary moneymaker for musicians, Songkick is building a platform that puts artists in control of their tours.

Songkick co-CEO Ian Hogarth.

(Photo by Tyler Woods)

Songkick wants you to never again miss a concert you wanted to see.

“Most people have busy lives,” Songkick co-CEO Ian Hogarth said in his Dumbo office this week. “I’ve always thought Songkick’s ideal user is a busy young doctor. You don’t have time to be able to browse all the listings and read the magazines.”

What Songkick does is crawl your iTunes, Spotify or Rdio libraries and alert you when any of your artists announce a tour that will bring them to your city. Handy, right?

In June, Songkick merged with music industry startup CrowdSurge, which allows artists to have much more creative control over the marketing, experience and ticketing of their tours.

"I saw all their touring stuff was powered by Songkick and that was such a thrill, to feel like you’re part of an artist's career just as they’re blowing up."
Ian Hogarth, Songkick

Think of the attention to detail that goes into an album and the visuals of tour posters or cover design,” Hogarth said. “I think it’s only natural that goes more and more into the way the tickets are sold.”

So far, so good. At the time of the merger in June, the company also received $16 million in a Series C funding round, bringing its total funding to over $30 million. The company’s clients include no less than Paul McCartney, Childish Gambino, The xx and Ellie Goulding. Hogarth said about 10 million people use the service, globally.

Philadelphia-based rap producer Noah Beresin gave the company his stamp of approval. Beresin has produced for Ellie Goulding, Spank Rock, and Tinie Tempeh and Jeremih . He’s also a wonderfully deep thinker on the topic of the business side of the music industry, if you can get him going.

“They’re legit as fuck,” he texted.

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So there you have it.

Hogarth met his partner, CrowdSurge founder Matt Jones, about five years ago through a mutual friend at Spotify, who insisted the two would hit it off.

We went out and had a beer and then we had some Jägerbombs and talked about how the ticketing world should change,” Hogarth recalled. “Songkick started selling tickets, CrowdSurge started getting into discovery, so we merged.”

Their Dumbo office by the water has everything on the startup checklist: a ping-pong table, an on-brand colored pool table, TVs, a ceiling of exposed ducts, standing desks and, best of all, stationary bike desks. The two split their time between Brooklyn, their London office, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Nashville.

With their growth has come some special moments. Hogarth recently got into a little-known U.K. punk/rap group called Sleaford Mods. He checked out their site to see when they might be playing.

"This is their opportunity to take their brand into the real world. We've created a next-generation ticketing platform."
Ian Hogarth, Songkick

I saw all their touring stuff was powered by Songkick and that was such a thrill, to feel like you’re part of an artist’s career just as they’re blowing up,” he said.

The music industry has changed remarkably in the last decade. Napster, Pandora, Spotify, the slow death of labels, changing means of distribution, etc. Hogarth says touring now accounts for about 80 percent of an artist’s income, which is a near total reversal from how it used to be, when album sales were the moneymaker, and tours were done to support the album.

With so much change, it can be tricky to predict the future, but Hogarth sees one where musicians may eventually have a similar level control over their tours to that which they have on their albums.

“This is their opportunity to take their brand into the real world,” Hogarth said. “We’ve created a next-generation ticketing platform. Traditionally venue has been in control, but we’re creating a way where the artists are in control.”

Songkick co-CEO Ian Hogarth, right, dreamily watches one of his employees work and work out simultaneously.

Songkick co-CEO Ian Hogarth, right, dreamily watches one of his employees work and work out simultaneously. (Photo by Tyler Woods)

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