Songkick Aims To Make A Database Of Every Concert Ever — And It's Well On Its Way

picture-72When Songkick was born in 2007, it had an interesting goal: To perfect concert recommendation. Plenty of services do music recommendation, but the idea of recommending concerts you might like based on things like music you’re interested in and you location, was an interesting one. Now, with a few others in the space, including the similarly named Livekick, Songkick is embarking on a new tiny challenge: To create a giant database of every concert ever performed by every band, and to make the entire experience more social.

To be clear, Songkick is still very much focusing on concert recommendation, but its site is now much deeper than that. Beginning today, you will be able to enter in the name of a band and a city in which you’ve seen a show you’ve seen in the past, and Songkick will scan its databases for that show. If it’s there — and there’s a pretty good chance it is, given that the site already has 1 million concerts in its database — you can click on the “I was there” button, and it will be added to your Songkick profile. Each of these concerts has its own Songkick profile page, that acts as a wiki of sorts. Any user can add photos from that show, ticket stubs, set lists, write a review of the show and a host of other things.

And if a show isn’t there, you can add it. That’s a key part to all of this: Songkick wants to have every concert ever performed in its database, and it’s going to need its users to help make that possible. It’s done a huge chunk of the work with a million shows going back to a Bob Dylan show at the home of Karen Wallace in May 1960, but there is more to be done.

The overall idea is to extend the experience of going to a concert beyond the actual show. And to make it more social. Maybe you’ll see that you’ve been to a bunch of the same shows as someone else, and you’ll add them as a friend on Songkick, and you’ll probably run into them in another show. More importantly for the social aspect on the site, Songkick now allows you to track not only bands and venues, but people as well. So if you find someone with similar tastes in music or a friend, you can be alerted when they say they’re going to go to a show. It might also be interesting to track people of influence like music journalists or executives using the site, Songkick co-founder Ian Hogarth tells us.


Obviously, as is the case with any social site these days, Songkick information can be sent out to Twitter and Facebook. And while Songkick doesn’t yet integrate with something like Facebook Connect to port your social graph over, Hogarth envisions something like that happening in short order. Though he warns that you probably won’t want to track everyone you’re friends with on Facebook because Songkick is also about personal music preferences — which is a nice way of saying that a lot of your friends probably have crap music tastes. This is something I know to be true.

Still, the giant concert database is the most interesting element of this update. Hogarth at one point explained it as being like the IMDb (Internet Movie Database) for concerts, but didn’t want to limit it as just that because the service really offers so much more in terms of recommendations and social elements. Still, that’s a pretty good way to describe it as I’m finding myself using the database in a similar way. You know when you look up a movie on the IMDb and then you click on an actor to see what else they’re in, then you click on that movie? The same type of rabbit hole exists on Songkick when you start looking up concerts.

In terms of monetization, the company has some interesting ideas. Right now, the company uses the affiliate model for tickets to upcoming shows it sells through its site. But with this new database, there are some other options including obviously placing advertising on the site, which should happen soon, Hogarth notes. Another more interesting idea is to create a way to sell merchandise from past concerts you were at, or just went to. Imagine being able to buy a recording from last night’s show, for example. Or maybe a t-shirt at a slightly discounted price because no one would buy them for $40. That could be pretty cool.

Songkick was a Y Combinator company and raised an Angel round of funding back in March of 2008 and a Series A in December. The company has 14 people now working for it.