February 4, 2011 11:37 pm

Music for a new generation

Songkick is one of several music-technology groups in the Silicon Roundabout area, alongside SoundCloud, 7Digital and Last.fm.

Promising its users it will help them never to miss their favourite bands’ concerts, Songkick was started by Ian Hogarth, Pete Smith, and Michelle You in 2007. It now claims to be the world’s second-largest live music website after the merged Ticketmaster-LiveNation.

London’s record labels, which are based in west London, have faced huge challenges in adapting their businesses to the internet in recent years, providing fertile ground for start-ups with no hangovers from the CD era.

Songkick allows music fans to import a list of their favourite artists from iTunes, Facebook or Last.fm. This information is then used to send personalised e-mail alerts when these bands put tickets on sale in a chosen city. After the gig, the site acts as a historical record of the event, collecting photos and set-lists.

“Our business model is to make money when we help fans find things they are looking for,” says Mr Hogarth, chief executive. The business saw fivefold growth in both users and revenues in 2010.

In spite of its British roots, Songkick got its start in Cambridge, Massachusetts from Y Combinator, a seed investor and incubator. After returning to London it received further funding from Index Ventures.

Mr Hogarth spends half of his time in Silicon Valley and Songkick boasts developers from all over the world. But the company’s home remains London, which has more live music than any other city in the world.

“[Silicon Roundabout] has a really good energy, in terms of other people trying to get companies off the ground,” he says. “I think it’s easier to attract people to an area that has a great social scene.”

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