Bandsintown, an app for Facebook, iOS and Android that tracks your favorite bands’ tours, has crossed the five million user threshold. The company had 3.4 million
users unique visitors and 700,000 registered members when it sold to mobile development firm Cellfish in September 2011. Competitors Songkick and SuperGlued are hot on its heels, but Bandsintown, having started as a Facebook app but expanding quickly to iOS and Android, has amassed a bigger user base, says Bandsintown CEO Julien Mitelberg.
Bandsintown didn’t start out as a consumer-facing app. The company initially built its tools to help the long tail of musical acts — indie artists — better manage their concert listings. But the free tools caught on, and now Bandsintown hosts more than 100,000 acts, including major label stars like Skrillex, LMFAO, and David Guetta.
Bandsintown’s tour management platform costs nothing to the artists or labels, but the company will eventually begin to experiment with paid tools for concert promoters and brands, which actually have money to spend. Promoters are only just beginning to advertise online, Mitelberg says. Relying on affiliate fees from vendors like Ticketmaster and its peers is a much smaller, and therefore less attractive business, he adds.
Once artists began adopting the platform, Bandsintown developed a consumer-facing app on Facebook, then for mobile, then for Spotify. The company tracks social media RSVP’s, processing around half a million each month.
The next step, aside from user acquisition, is to get more social, and then expand into concert-related content. Like Piki, the new music listening app that is intensively focused on building interactions around the music, Bandsintown is working on finding more ways to get music fans to interact within its app. While the name of the app conveys pure function (“tell me which bands are in town, please”), Mitelberg’s vision is to foster interactions between friends about shows, and keep them inside the app.
One way he’ll do that is with an upcoming feature that will track your concert history. The app will start with past concerts, asking users to create a virtual “I was there” map. James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem would no longer have to scream to the kids that he “was there in 1974 at the first Suicide practices in a loft in New York City,” or that he “was there at the first Can show in Cologne”. He can just point to his concert map on Bandsintown. That’s the idea, at least. The app is partnering with the estates of a few major deceased artists to create an online archive of shows, which will integrate with Bandsintown.
The result will be a digital shoebox full of ticket stubs that will self-populate as you RSVP to more shows within Bandsintown. This is cool not just because today’s concert tickets are hideous ad-covered email print-outs that don’t exactly inspire nostalgia in that shoebox, but also because it ties into the sentimental side of that whole “quantified self” thing that was cool a year ago. Sure, Nike Fuel bands can track our every calorie burned, and Lark can track each minute we sleep. But I am not enough of a Chris Traeger type to do anything with this information, and I am guessing many others are like me.
No, I am much more loyal to the data I get from Timehop, the “five year diary” app which shows me the Foursquare check-ins, Tweets and Instagrams I posted each day exactly one, two and three years ago. The longer I use social media, the more years I’ll accumulate. There aren’t any conclusions to be drawn from this data, because the value is not the fact that I went to four coffee shops in a row one week in April 2010. It is in reading between the Tweets and check-ins to remember what your life was like exactly one, two, or three years ago.
This connection over content, if done right, is where Bandsintown has an opportunity. The app’s concert alert function competes for users with Songkick and Superglued on utility alone. With emotional content, Bandsintown has the potential build emotional connections, making its five million users into fans.