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Wednesday
Nov212012

Songkick Detour London

Songkick is one of a handful of services that I use on a daily basis. I started using it a few years back when I was moving house and found a shoe box stuffed full of ticket stubs for gigs that I'd been to over the years. I was trying to downsize and didn't want to take the stubs with me, but I also didn't want to lose the record of the gigs I'd been to. I started adding all the artists and gig dates into a personal wiki. And then someone told me about Songkick.

Over a couple of evenings I added artists and gig attendance to my Songkick account, it probably should've only taken an hour or two but each ticket stub reminded me of the evening which inevitably led to grabbing a record by the artist and reminiscing whilst listening to a few of my favourite tracks. Over the years I've tried to keep my Songkick account up to date with bands I've seen and each morning look forward to the email telling me who is playing in town based on my historic gig attendance and my LastFM listening data.

Last night I went along to the Songkick office in Shoreditch where they launched a new service called Detour. The idea is to bring artists to countries and cities where they'd not normally play by proving demand for tickets up front. The initial trial is for London only but I'd imagine it'll pretty quickly expand to other cities. Michelle You (one of the Songkick founders) talked about how they could see through the Songkick data that there were strong fan bases for artists outside of their hometowns but either the artist, their management or local promoters felt it was too risky to commit to expensive tours.

Michelle cited a conversation in the Songkick office where one of the team was raving about a San Francisco based electronic artist called Tycho, he had a reasonable following in London but hadn't yet made it over. Michelle and the team decided to see whether they could do something about it and contacted all the London based Songkick users who were tracking Tycho asking them whether they'd be willing to commit to buying a ticket and if enough people did then the Songkick team would work their magic and try and put on a show. Well, the fans were willing to commit and the gig happened.

Detour London builds on the Tycho experience. When you log into the site you see a list of artists that you've recently tracked (or alternatively you can search) you can then vote for as many artists as you'd like to see play in London. However your vote only counts once you've pledged to buy a ticket -- for each artist you can say how much you'd be willing to pay and how many tickets you'd buy. Once you've done this your votes are visible to other Songkick users through the artist's page, a leaderboard, and "Hot Artists".

When 50 votes are received the Songkick team will work with local promoters to try and put on the gig. Of course there're no guarantees that the gig will happen but they'll do their best and if it does go ahead then you'll not only get to see one of your favourite bands but also have that warm-fuzzy feeling that you helped make it happen!

Prior to going along to the event last night I was a little dubious about how this might work. I had visions of going along to a gig where an artist had gotten all their mates to vote for them to play and turning up as an outsider would be like gatecrashing a private party. But the fact that this is fan driven opposed to artist driven makes me think this could be a pretty cool idea. Certainly talking to other Songkick users who were at the event there was a good buzz and lots of enthusiastic discussion and debate about who people would like to see.

I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.

At the moment the Detour London is in beta, if you'd like to take a look I've a couple of invite codes to pass on.

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