Summary:

Concert website Songkick is coming out of beta with a social-centric gig database it hopes will make it, for live music experiences, what IM…

imageConcert website Songkick is coming out of beta with a social-centric gig database it hopes will make it, for live music experiences, what IMDB is to movie factoids. Until now, the London-based site has only offered rudimentary gig listings and personalised recommendations. The relaunched site also lets people track gigs coming up in multiple cities, at their favourite venues, festival line-up changes and gigs friends are attending, CEO Ian Hogarth told me

It’s the social data upgrade that’s the biggest. For the relaunch, Songkick is populating its database with basic listings for a million gigs found by crawling the web. Not just upcoming cocnerts but expired ones, too – Hogarth wants gig-goers to fill out each listing by uploading pictures, posters, ticket stubs and discussions, building each out in to a kind of social gig memory…

“Until now, we’d only really addressed the lead-up to an event but, after a concert happened, there was a huge amount of interest online from people who went – pictures on Flickr, videos on YouTube, uploading the setlist on forums or fan sites, reading reviews on NME or Londonist, writing reviews on their own blogs.” As concert-goers share concert memories and media, so they also build social connections – it’s all quite heavy on the in-vogue activity feeds like those found at Facebook and FriendFeed.

Another addition is some fancy-pants data crunching, revealing not just social gig behaviours like a given band’s biggest live fans but also the acts whom bands have toured with most often, a complete historical gigography for each venue and the complete metadata of Radiohead’s 874 career shows, for example.

It will doubtless please techie music junkies with a penchant for structured data. But many of the new features closely resemble some already executed by Gigulate for music news, Dopplr for travel and Last.fm for music listening and live gig sharing (one can’t help but fantasise about them coming together to form a super-site). Hogarth says Songkick’s USP is live: “We’re 100 percent focused on gigs – if users want to listen to bands, they can go to Last.fm or Spotify or wherever else.” But Last.fm’s Events section has had a few years’ headstart building gig-goers’ shared history. By limiting itself to live but not playable music, Songkick is potentially constraining the entirety of a fan’s music experience (which naturally includes both) – but is opening itself to the only part of the music biz that’s increasingly lucrative, the live segment.

The business model remains unchanged for now – it’s an affiliate commerce deal that gives Songkick a cut from tickets sold via 25 ticketing partners, and could extend further: “Poster buying, concert recordings, merchandise – there’s a lot of commerce that happens at live events – it’s $30 billion a year so we’d like to participate in that.” Advertising may get added in the next few months and a third model is also under investigation.

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