Careers at Songkick
Songkick’s mission is to make every concert show sell out.
Michelle You was studying Mandarin at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China and became friends with fellow student Ian Hogarth. The program ended and she migrated to New York for a job managing a magazine, while he left to work at Bain & Co. in Singapore. He eventually quit his job with the desire to start his own firm, and asked her for ideas. Being a music lover and regular concert-goer, she suggested that he build a website that scanned iTunes libraries for users‘ music preferences. It would then send users an e-mail with concert dates for their favorite artists. Her thoughts arose as a result of her difficulty finding comprehensive and accurate event information.
Hogarth liked the concept, and You joined with him to pitch it to Y Combinator, an initiative that provides funding for startups. The two got accepted into the program but You remained at her employer in New York. She spent much of her free time working on the site, and felt so passionate about it that she ultimately decided to resign her job and commit to it full-time. The site launched in August 2007. Called Songkick, it was co-founded by Hogarth, Matt Jones, Pete Smith, and Adam Schiffe. It received an initial investment from the Y Combinator seed fund in the amount of $15,000.
Songkick is a database and vendor of tickets for concerts. It employs individuals to scan MySpace, Ticketmaster, and other concert-related sources for event information; the details are then aggregated in the database. The other important part of the service is an app that site visitors must download. It scans their phones‘ music libraries in order to determine their music preferences.
Songkick had an auspicious first few years, with many successful rounds of funding. These included $3.5 million in Series A funding in 2008 and $10 million in Series B funding in 2012. The latter was contributed by Sequoia Capital, representing the first investment in a UK startup by the firm. Songkick’s staff grew quickly – by 2008 it had seven workers, which expanded to 23 in 2011. In 2014, the company revealed that it had garnered over 10 million monthly unique users, and had earned $100 million in sales. In 2015, it merged with CrowdSurge, another ticketing firm.
Benefits at Songkick
Business model of Songkick
Songkick has a mass market business model, with little differentiation between customers. It targets any consumer who wants to obtain customized, up-to-date information about concerts.
Songkick offers four primary value propositions: convenience, customization, risk reduction, and brand/status.
The company offers convenience by collecting information about music events as soon as it becomes available and alerting users to their dates and venues.
The company enables customization by personalizing concert alerts based on the artists in a users’ phone music library.
The company reduces risk by curtailing the efforts of scalpers. It operates a “tout-busting” technology that prevents scalpers from purchasing tickets through the site and reselling them. The program is effective – for a British tour by artist Adele, it blocked 18,000 touts from buying tickets, resulting in less than 2% of tickets sold appearing on the secondary market. A study by Media Insight Consulting claimed that the measures saved customers £4.2 million, a figure calculated based on the prices they would have been willing to pay in secondary channels.
The company has established a strong brand in a relatively short time. It bills itself as the world’s largest concert discovery service and the second-largest concert site after Ticketmaster, with 10 million monthly users, more than 100,000 listed events annually, over one million listed artists, and over 100,000 setlists. Beyond Adele, artists who have used the platform for their events include Metallica, Kenny Chesney, J. Cole, and Mumford & Sons. Songkick estimates that it now sells tickets for one of every three concerts in London and has sold tickets in 48 countries worldwide. Finally, the firm has received many honors, including recognition as one of Telegraph’s “Top 100 Startups in Europe” and one of Time magazine’s “50 Best Android Applications for 2013.”
Songkick’s main channel is its website, through which it acquires customers. The company also invites consumers to join through its mobile app.
Songkick’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature. Customers utilize the service through the main platform while having limited interaction with employees. The platform includes its website and mobile app. The company’s website includes a “Support” section with answers to common questions. There is also a community component in the form of a discussion forum where users can communicate with peers and a personal assistance element in the form of e-mail support.
Songkick’s business model entails maintaining and updating its platform for customers.
Songkick offers a public API that enables access to its data and integration with other services. Data provided includes upcoming events, users’ events and trackings, past artist events, venue details, and similar artists. Companies that have integrated their services with the API include YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud, Foursquare, Warner Music Group, Mobile Roadie, Yahoo! Search, BBC, and Vevo.
Songkick’s main resource is its proprietary software platform, which serves over 10 million users monthly. It depends on its engineering staff to keep the platform robust and up-to-date. As a startup, it also relies on funding, and has raised $45.8 million from nine investors as of December 2015.
Songkick has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation and low-price value propositions. Its biggest cost driver is likely transaction expenses, a fixed cost. Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing and customer support/operations.
Songkick has two revenue streams:
Transaction Fees – These are fees charged whenever a customer completes a ticket purchase.
Advertising Fees – These are fees charged to third parties that want to advertise their offerings on Songkick’s platform (website or mobile app).
info: Ian earned a Master’s degree in Machine Learning at the University of Cambridge. Prior to co-founding Songkick, he worked at Bain & Company in Singapore. He is on the Advisory Board of Seedcamp, and has received many honors for his entrepreneurship.
info: Matt earned a diploma from Bishop's Stortford High School. Prior to co-founding Songkick, he served as Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of CrowdSurge, and Founder and Managing Director of SPC Live.
info: Michelle earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Philosophy at Columbia University and a Master’s degree in English at the Univeresity of Cambridge. She previously served as the Managing Editor of Theme magazine.
info: Dan earned a B.Sc in Computer Science and a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Leeds. He previously served as a Tech Lead/Manager at Google, a Co-Founder and CTO of Blurb, a CTO of Qbiquity, and a VP of Engineering at Verb.
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