If you are fed up with the karaoke way the music industry is heading, with TV programmes such as The Voice and the X Factor promoting second rate acts and taking over UK music charts, you might be interested in a brand new venture called Songkick. This is a new way of ensuring that bands get enough funding to be able to tour, by allowing fans to crowdfund gigs, by pledging to buy enough tickets to cover costs.
It works along a similar strategy as the Kickstarter website does, which lets people fund particular business projects and gives the inventors or entrepreneurs the money required to set up their own businesses or get the company finances they need to move forward.
This service is the brainchild of a London based company called Detour, who started Songkick, to allow fans of bands to club together so that they can play gigs at their request.
The co-founder of Songkick – Ian Hogarth, thinks that this service could persuade bands to play in countries that would otherwise have been impossible.
Hogarth says: “Up until now, if you’re a huge fan of an artist, the only way to influence whether they come to your city is by leaving a comment on their Facebook page, or @replying them on Twitter and that doesn’t really do anything given the heavy financial cost of touring.”
Songkick was launched as a beta version back in November, where a limited number of fans were asked to test the site, and since then, 10 shows have been arranged, including the US emo band Braid, who are set to play a London gig in July after 114 fans backed them.
The way the site works is that fans can suggest a band or artist that they would like to see play and other members can then pledge to buy tickets. Once the target has been reached, Songkick will then work with artists to arrange suitable venues and other logistics. Once all the logistics have been confirmed, the fans are then notified and the tickets are made available to purchase.
Mark Mulligan, who is an analyst from Midia Consulting, thinks it is a good idea: “In the last decade or so you’ve ended up with artists being much more in touch with fans, but it being less straightforward to make money. Many artists on indie labels are now finding that they can create decent livings by using tools like Songkick Detour.”
He added: “If a band was to find out that they had a big pocket of fans in Inverness but no-one in-between – they might consider that one-off trip. It’s a win-win – fans get to see the artists they want to see.”
Songkick could also be a way for older bands to reform and start touring again, if enough of their fans showed interest.
So far, Songkick has generated over $100,000 in ticket sales, which is good news for both bands and their fans, it also provides a much needed income for the acts and promoters, and encourages a more direct and authentic connection between artists and fans.
Songkick is presently only open for fans in the London area, but Hogarth hopes to launch the website UK wide pretty soon. He said: “I’m excited to say that today we are coming out of private beta and opening up to any fan in London. Very soon we’ll launch Detour across the UK and have been thrilled at the emails we’ve been getting from fans and promoters across the world asking when Detour would come to their city.”
And it is not just the fans that are appreciative of Songkick, the bands and artists are also getting a buzz from the new website. As Hogarth explains: “I sat down with an artist the other day and showed them the fans that had pledged to try to bring him to London. He was very moved at the idea that people the other side of the world cared enough about his art to do that, and he felt closer to those fans. I don’t think we’re crazy to hope that that optimism and authentic connection can’t happen for every fan and artist wherever you are.”
Find out more at Songkick.