App of the Month: Songkick Concerts
App of the Month: Songkick Concerts

Songkick Announces 100,000 New Users Through Spotify App
There's a common saying in the concert and ticketing businesses that 40% of all tickets go unsold because people weren't aware of the shows. This 40% Rule seems to have come from Live Nation internal research. CEO Michael Rapino was using it as recently as July 2009, and since then the rule has been repeated throughout the music industry.

The implication of the 40% Rule is that a better-informed public will go to more concerts. Whether or not better information will actually lead to more concert ticket sales, more consumers currently have fewer excuses for missing local shows by artists they either like or love. Case in point: Concert listings site Songkick announced Wednesday it has gained over 100,000 new users through the Spotify app it debuted in early December.

Spotify has over 10 million active users and Songkick gets over 5 million unique visitors each month. While 100,000 new users represents just 2% of Songkick's monthly visitors and 1% of Spotify's active user base, Songkick is pleased with the level of activity. "We want more people to experience the thrill of seeing an amazing live show," Songkick CEO Ian Hogarth said in a statement.

The integration of third-party apps into its desktop client adds tremendous value to a music service with few ways to make sense of its huge catalog outside of social cues taken from its Facebook integration. Spotify apps are available for both free and paying users on the Spotify desktop client.

The Songkick app is simple: it scans the user's Spotify library and matches the artists against concerts in its database. If the user has already registered for Songkick and created a profile with artists and preferred venues, the resulting concert listings will be even better.

When a show is selected in the app, Songkick shows all performers on the bill, the name of the venue with its location highlighted in a Google Map, and some songs by the headliner. A button marked "tickets and more" links to the event's page at Songkick. From there the user is linked to the page at the ticketing provider, putting a potential ticket buyer two clicks away from the page that allows the actual ticket purchase.

Songkick does make it easier to learn about local concerts, but ignorance is only part of the problem. It would be great if Spotify had apps to solve all the other reasons people can't go out to more concerts: an app to connect parents with affordable and trustworthy babysitters, an app that magically transforms a concert 45 miles away on a Monday into one around the corner on a Saturday, an app that gives people more disposable income to spend on out-of-home entertainment, an app that lets a person stroll into work at 10am because the headliner didn't get off the stage until 1am, and an app to get tickets to a sold-out show on the secondary market for face value (after all, a more informed public means higher demand, which in turn drives up prices at secondary ticket sites).

Twitter and Facebook have also made it harder to miss local concerts. As Tickets News points out, following the Twitter accounts of local radio stations, local venues and bands will provide plenty of information about local shows. The same goes for Facebook. And with the Facebook apps being rolled out by ticketing companies like Ticketfly and Ticketmaster, a fan can often go from discovery to purchase without leaving Facebook.

Information on concerts is everywhere. In addition to social media and services like Songkick, all promoters, ticketing companies and artists have improved their email marketing over the years. Yet the standard line that "40% of tickets go unsold" has remained unchanged. Maybe the situation is improving, or maybe people won't go out more often no matter how well they're informed. In either case, one thing's for certain: music fans are quickly running out of excuses for not knowing about local concerts. ( Songkick blog)

Newsstand Content Flies Off iPad Shelves
Encouraging news for digital music creators: iPad users seem to be quite willing to pay for newsstand content. A new report by Distimo says the top 100 grossing newsstand applications are taking in $70,000 per day in the U.S. The data in the report covers the Apple App Store for iPad in the U.S. in February 2012. The top grossing iPad apps in February were, in order, The Daily, the NY Times, the New Yorker Magazine, National Geographic Magazine and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

One reason for the purchases is the ease of in-app purchase. Distimo says 10% of iPad apps feature in-app purchases compared to 6% for the Apple App Store (apps for iPhone and iPod Touch) and 2% at Google Play (the new name for Google's download website and app). Seventy-four percent of the top 200 iPad apps offer the ability for in-app purchases. (

Royalty Rates Keeping Pandora Out of U.K., Company Says
Knives are out as royalty rates for Internet services in the U.K. expire in June. The party currently on the attack has proven itself to be incredibly formidable in swaying public opinion during U.S. rate negotations: Pandora.

PRS for Music lowered royalties for non-interactive Internet radio services in 2009 after Pandora fled the market. But the rates still aren't good enough for Pandora (probably a good thing because it let Pandora focus on the U.S. market leading up to its 2011 stock IPO).

"Ultimately it is UK songwriters, artists and consumers that are hurt by PRS' position," founder Tim Westergren told paidContent. "Because these rate demands keep services like Pandora out of the UK, Internet radio listening in the UK has not gained mainstream adoption.

The next part is a bit confusing. Westergren offered some streaming figures by Rajar to prove his point that the U.K. market is being stifled. But Pandora got the figures wrong, Rajar CEO Jerry Hill wrote to paidContent after reading Westergren's statement. Westergren said the U.K. market had just 35 million listener hours of Internet radio in the entire fourth quarter. Hill says the actual number if 35 million listener hours per week, which works out to about 150 million listener hours per month. Even on a per capita basis - the U.S. population is about five times that of the U.K. - 150 million listener hours in a month for the entire market is well below the 975 million listener hours Pandora alone streamed in February.

So is something really holding up growth in the U.K. Internet radio market? U.K.-based Internet radio company We7 also sees a problem. "The reality is that all digital rates are out of kilter with the economics of the digital market, making any [return on investment] minimal," said CEO Steven Purdham. ( paidContent)