Songkick closed a $15m venture funding round last week, led by Access Industries, bringing the music start-up’s total investment to date to north of $60m, and more than $29m since a merger with Crowdsurge last year.
The start-up connects hundreds of artists, including Metallica, J.Cole, Mumford & Sons and the Red Hot Chili Peppers to millions of music fans from around the world, helping bands and artists increase their ticket sales and fight scalping, the practice of buying and subsequently reselling concert tickets for inflated prices at the last minute.
Songkick, who are present in more than 60 markets globally and used by more than 12 million music fans every month, has also announced that it will be expanding its offices on the West Coast of the US, as well as making two new major hires; Lydia Goldberg joins as VP of Product, whilst Lee Martin has been appointed VP of Design.
“We’ve always been focused on aligning with artists and connecting them directly with their fans – the biggest myth in live music is that ticket scalping is somehow impossible to prevent, but with the right focus and the right tools, these issues can be solved; Songkick is at the leading edge of solving them”, commented Matt Jones, Songkick’s CEO, about the news.
In 2015 the Songkick merged with CrowdSurge, and over the past year, as well as expanding the ticketing and discovery side of its business, the company has integrated its service platform with major media and streaming services, including Pandora, Spotify, and Soundcloud – and say they intend to announce more partnerships in the coming months.
Songkick was founded in 2007 by Pete Smith, Michelle You and Ian Hogarth, and was one of the “Silicon Roundabout’s” first major success stories, having been based in Shoreditch; You and Smith have both since left the company, whilst Hogarth accepted the role of Chairman a few months ago. The company is now based in Brooklyn, with offices in London, Los Angeles, Nashville and New York.
Current CEO Jones joined Hogarth as co-CEO after its merger, having formerly been CEO at Crowdsurge.
Lee Martin, the new VP of Design, has worked on digital marketing campaigns with the likes of Foo Fighters, Slipknot and Carly Rae Jensen, whilst Lydia Goldberg joins as VP of product from Zoopla, the UK-based prop-tech “unicorn”, where she was Product Director.
Another recent joiner is Nick Fishbaugh, who has joined Songkick’s biz dev team in Los Angeles and will help to expand the company’s West Coast presence alongside Stephen Glicken, the new VP of biz dev, responsible for expanding Songkick’s reach and partnerships at a global level.
Investor Access Industries was founded in 1986 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Len Blavatnik, and has since made investments into the Natural Resources and Chemicals, Media and Telecommunications, Technology and ecommerce and Real Estate Sectors. Notable investments include Deezer and Warner Music Group.
According to Tech Crunch, a major reason behind the decision to merge Songkick with Crowdsurge was to challenge the hegemony of Ticketmaster in the ticket sales market, although a recent legal battle over the right to make presales to artist fan clubs resulted in a victory for Ticketmaster and Live Nation, the concert promoter. Previously the company’s strategy was to direct its users to accredited ticket vendors, but in 2013 it began to sell tickets direct to UK users.
Songkick also launched a campaign with British singer Adele in 2015 to try to eliminate ticket touts, which resulted in the barring of 18,000 plus suspected touts from the platform – the initiative saved fans approximately £4.3m, according to a study from Media Insight Consulting.
Songkick raised a $10m Series A, also from Access Industries, in December last year, and earlier in 2015 raised $19,2 million from Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital.
With backers like that, it seems more than likely that Songkick will come again. The company raised its first ever seed round of £15,000 from Y Combinator, and has also been funded by Jamjar investments, the London based VC started by the founders of Innocent Drinks, Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright, after they sold Innocent to Coca Cola for close to £90m.