Songkick Proves Live Music's Still Going Strong

British music startup, Songkick, has raised a £6.3m ($10m) funding round led by Sequoia, the US venture capital firm whose previous investments include Apple, Google, YouTube, PayPal and Dropbox.

This is the first time in Sequoia's history that they have invested in a startup headquarters in the UK. According to Songkick's chief executive, Ian Hogarth, the funding will give his company the resources "to continue to innovate" in the coming months. Songkick's existing investors, who include Index Ventures and Y Combinator, also participated in the new round.

Initially set up by Hogarth and two friends, Michelle You and Pete Smith in 2007, their aim was to build a business around their passion for live music. Songkick's services include mantaining global listings for music gigs and alerting fans when their favourite artists announce a concert near them. With a current figure of five million unique monthly visitors, it makes them the second biggest live-music site in the world, behing ticket giant, Ticketmaster. Impressive!

"We set this company up as three friends in an attic with the simple idea that fans would go to more concerts if someone made it really easy, and focused on the bands rather than just the venues," Hogarth said. "We've since gathered proof that it makes a meaningful difference to people's lives: when people start using Songkick, they go to almost twice as many gigs the year after."

"We believe that an amazing concert can change your life. Everyone in the Songkick team has that one show that they’re still talking about years later, that makes them believe in the importance of live music. As you all know concerts are the most intimate connection between an artist and their fans. They’re also an incredible social experience. People meet their partners at concerts, they share life-long memories with friends of being at that unforgettable festival together".

This is a really exciting prospect, especially for other businesses in that area, and it's also proof that the appeal of live music is more popular than ever. Songkick have put huge efforts into making sure they stay neutral and honest - they doen't sell tickets themselves, but direct users towards other companies' sites. This approach is particularly important with regards to the recent public investigation into ticket scandals that have aired all over the press and TV.

There's no doubt that Songkick have been clever in their marketing and choice of partnerships. Having released a hugely popular iPhone app, Songkick were also one of the first launch partners for streaming service, Spotify's desktop app platform in 2001. Of course, there will always be competition for these kinds of businesses; something that Songkick is already experiencing with key partner, Ticketmaster, who have allegedly been working on plans to add more social and editorial features to its service in the last year or two. Ticketmaster also recently launched an iPhone app with a library-scanning feature, similar to Songkick's own app, while its parent company Live Nation has just acquired startup, Setlist.fm, which has built its own database of concerts and set lists.

Whether Ticketmaster will overtake Songkick in the live music stakes or not, Hogarth is positive for other startups in the UK, hoping they can "take heart" from his company's funding round, and what it says about Sequoia's openness to investing in other British companies.