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Warner acquires Songkick gig discovery business, but not the ticketing platform

By | Published on Monday 17 July 2017


Warner Music announced on Friday that it had acquired the data and discovery side of the Songkick business. The Songkick ticketing platform – much of which grew out of CrowdSurge – will remain a separate standalone company.

Songkick is still best known for its original service, ie compiling gig listing data and recommending shows to its users. In its original incarnation, the company simply provided links to other ticketing platforms alongside recommended shows, taking an affiliate commission if users clicked and purchased.

The firm subsequently moved into also selling tickets itself, a side of the business that grew significantly when it merged with direct-to-fan ticketing solution CrowdSurge in 2015. Songkick could earn much bigger commissions being the actual ticket seller on some shows, though the shift of emphasis put the start-up into the more conventional ticketing business, a very competitive marketplace still dominated by a small number of major players.

Warner Music owner Access Industries was a backer of CrowdSurge and subsequently pumped more money into the combined Songkick/CrowdSurge business, so there was already a link between the major record company and the ticketing start-up. The merger of the two companies is not, therefore, all that surprising, but the fact that Warner has opted to take the data business but not the ticketing platform is interesting.

Warner also gets the Songkick trademark as part of the deal, while the ticketing business that remains independent gets to keep Songkick’s messy litigation with Live Nation.

As previously reported, Songkick has accused the live music giant of anti-competitive behaviour in the way it allegedly pressures the artists it works with as a promoter, manager and venue owner to work with Ticketmaster rather than other ticketing providers, in particular on fan-club pre-sale promotions – something Songkick has specialised in of late.

Those bits that have been acquired by Warner will now sit within the major’s services division WEA, alongside its distribution, merch, playlisting and direct-to-fan operations.

Confirming the deal from Warner’s side, WEA President Tony Harlow said: “Fans all over the world trust Songkick to help them find events featuring the artists they love. It’s a passionate, highly engaged music community, always on the lookout for new experiences. Bringing together Songkick’s discovery platform and world-class technology with our existing ecommerce expertise and global reach represents a powerful step in strengthening and evolving our direct-to-fan capabilities”.

Meanwhile CrowdSurge founder and Songkick CEO Matt Jones added: “Songkick was founded on the promise of improving the live experience for fans and the artists they love. Over the years, we have helped tens of millions find their next great live experience. And today, I’m excited to pass the baton on the discovery service to the great team at WMG, an ideal organisation to carry on this mission and to take it in new, innovative directions. And, on behalf of the many artists and fans we’ve served over the last decade, we are committed to continuing our litigation against Live Nation and Ticketmaster independently”.