Sequoia is backing the Songkick mission
We don’t normally brag about funding at Songkick. We’re more likely to be blogging about one of you guys having been to over 500 shows or celebrating the hardest working bands in the world than talking about our investors. It’s not that we’re not proud of them but we know that ultimately what you want to hear about is the next show you’ll love.
We do have some exciting news, however, and I thought it would be a good time to reflect on what’s happened since we were three live music fans huddled around a laptop in my parents’ attic, and where we’re hoping to take concerts next with you.
We started Songkick because we believe that an amazing concert can change your life. Everyone in the Songkick team has that one show that they’re still talking about years later, that makes them believe in the importance of live music.
As you all know concerts are the most intimate connection between an artist and their fans. They’re also an incredible social experience. People meet their partners at concerts, they share life-long memories with friends of being at that unforgettable festival together.
We want everyone to have that experience.
Photo taken by: andrielly
But seeing your favourite artists live has become too niche an activity. The average person goes to one gig a year. That’s pretty crazy when you consider how awesome gigs are and compare it to other forms of entertainment like movies. One of our ticketing partners, Ticketmaster is the biggest brand in concerts, but despite having such a huge slice of the concert industry, my back of the napkin estimate puts them at around 15m monthly unique visitors for concerts . That’s a pretty small sliver of everyone out there connected to the internet.
We started Songkick because we knew some of the things that were causing fans to tune out of concerts. You had to spend too much time searching around to find out what was happening. So our data team has spent the last few years building the most comprehensive database of concerts, everywhere from Beijing to Berlin. We know we’re not perfect yet, but we’re lucky to have an amazing community who continue to tell us how we could do better.
We also saw that with the growth of digital music services like iTunes, Soundcloud, Spotify and YouTube, fans are carrying around a list of the bands they love in their phones and on their computers. So we automatically tell you when your favourite bands announce new shows based on what you listen to. We’ve been militant about only emailing you about shows you’ll want to hear about.
We took our giant database of concerts and started to integrate it wherever you might be finding out about music. We’re now on Foursquare, HypeMachine, MTV, SoundCloud, Spotify, Vevo, YouTube and many more of the sites you love.
And all this is working. When someone starts using Songkick, they go to almost twice as many gigs the year after. That’s twice as many awesome nights out with friends, twice as much money in the pockets of hardworking bands, twice as much footfall for venues and festivals. For artists that’s a big deal. Concerts are where the majority of their income comes from, so this helps more artists make a living from music. We read every piece of feedback you send us, and it’s reading tweets like these that make us feel like we’re making progress.
— Gonzo Torpedo (@GonzoTorpedo) February 13, 2012
I would only go to a couple of concerts every year without @songkick. Thanks for a great service.
— Daniel Källbom (@danielolof) February 11, 2012
waking up to @songkick informing me of new upcoming shows has become my new favorite thing. #<3
— Claire (@cdubs212) December 1, 2011
There’s now a good number of you using our little product. Five million unique fans discover concerts through our web site every month, which is now the second largest concert site after Ticketmaster. When we launched our iPhone app, over 100,000 of you downloaded it in the first 10 days after launch and Apple named it one of the best apps of last year. We recently launched the concerts app for Spotify which we’ll have some exciting news about soon. That’s all progress towards making concerts for everyone. But we’re only just getting started.
We know there’s a huge amount more to do. When you’re standing there watching the band play, it’s an incredibly close connection. But around that you have to deal with randomly timed onsales, opaque pricing, tickets ending up on the secondary market before you even get a chance to buy them and a laundry list of issues that you guys tell us about every day.
Our commitment to you is that we’re going to do everything in our power to innovate further around the concert experience so that one day, concerts really are for everyone.
Photo taken by: loupgarou
We’re working round the clock right now on some big new features that I can’t wait to tell you about. We’ll be available in more places you’ve been telling us we should be. And we’re working on some very special new features to bring you closer still to the artists you love.
And to the artists reading this. We’re going to continue to help you get in front of new fans from Jakarta to San Francisco. We’ll have some news for you too soon.
We’re taking a long term view on this industry, and we know that to truly make concerts for everyone, we have a lot of work ahead of us.
Luckily we have met investors in the past who share our long term vision. People like Saul Klein at Index Ventures and Y Combinator along with our awesome angel investors who have helped us so much. It’s not easy figuring out how to build a company for the first time, and having people around you who’ve done it before is a lifesaver.
Recently, we Met Greg McAdoo from Sequoia Capital and really hit it off. Greg is a former CTO and CEO, with a ton of experience in helping founders turn their passion into enduring companies. He’s on the board of awesome start-ups like Airbnb and Bump, and was on the board of Isilon for over 7 years, from the early days to beyond IPO.
And Sequoia, along with having invested in some of the companies we most admire (like Apple, Dropbox, Google, Paypal, Square, YouTube and Zappos) are also extremely long term thinkers. They still hold some of their Google shares to this day.
As one of the earliest start-ups to be based in East London, this is also really exciting because it’s Sequoia’s first investment in a UK headquartered start-up – but hopefully not the last! Sequoia met Larry and Sergey when they were just PhD students and saw how transformative Google could be. We’re really excited they share our belief that concerts can be for everyone and the importance of that mission.
We’re hiring in both our London office and our SF office, so if you share our dream of making concerts for everyone, we’d love to meet you.
Ian, Michelle & Pete.
 this is a rough estimate based on the assumption that roughly ½ of the 26m monthly uniques LiveNation/Ticketmaster cites
comes from concert tickets (as opposed to sports, theatre etc).