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Songkick secures more finance, seeks to grow anti-tout business

By | Published on Friday 18 December 2015


Hot on the heels from its work helping Adele keep tickets for her upcoming shows off the resale sites, Songkick has secured another $10 million in funding from Warner Music owner Access Industries which will help grow the anti-touting side of the start-up’s business.

Songkick, of course, is best known for its original business of gig data and recommendations, linking users through to official ticket sellers for listed shows, and taking a commission from those sellers in return. But the firm subsequently moved into ticketing itself, initially on its own, and then in a big way earlier this year when it merged with direct-to-fan platform Crowdsurge.

The Adele project was an innovation. The firm managed pre-sales for the singer’s tour, taking registrations before selling any tickets, and going to some effort to remove all the registrants that it suspected were touts looking to grab tickets to resell at a sizable mark-up on the secondary ticketing sites.

Although the venture was not without its issues – some fans reported problems with the ordering system, and that they were seeing other users’ booking information – it is thought the scheme had some success in reducing the number of Adele tickets that ended up on the resale platforms. And Media Insight Consulting’s Chris Carey estimated that that work could have saved UK Adele fans about £4.2 million by ensuring more tickets were sold at face value rather than with big mark-ups added by the touts.

Discussing the latest investment from Access Industries, an existing backer of CrowdSurge, Songkick founder Ian Hogarth confirmed to Venture Beat that the new finance would in no small part fund the expansion on this new anti-tout offer. “It’s going to be about taking that technology and bringing it to market with other artists next year”, he said.

Online touting has been a big topic of debate again this year, with some regulation of resale sites introduced in the Consumer Rights Act in the UK, but many artists and promoters want stricter rules to be introduced. Though some question how effective such rules really would be, which means that if Songkick can position itself as the expert for tackling touts through technology and other tactics – rather than the law – it could build a lucrative new revenue stream for its business.