Jukely makes concert discovery social by inviting your friends along
With the death of CDs, musicians have increasingly received more of their income from touring than from album sales. Some estimates pit that number at 90 percent of an artist's income. It makes sense, then, that a whole army of apps have launched in recent years to serve that industry. Concert discovery apps like Bandsintown, Superglued, and Songkick, have all sprung up to help us never miss a concert from the bands we love. And to varying degrees of success: Songkick doesn't disclose its users but it's gotten enough traction to attract $10 million in VC funding from Sequoia. Superglued, which sold to Complex Media, is significantly smaller. Bandsintown, which sold to mobile development firm Cellfish, has five million users.
Jukely, a New York startup that's about to graduate from TechStars, is also going after this market, but from a different angle. The company's thesis is that the biggest barrier to getting people to buy tickets to shows is organizing a group of friends to go. So it built social features that make that process as seamless as possible.
With its new feature "Band Together," the company not only suggests upcoming shows for users to attend, it suggests friends to take with you by matching their tastes to yours. There's even a "music soul mate" option in the works that tells you which of your connections have the most similar taste in music to yours.
Jukely designed its app with that whole idea of "engineered serendipity" in mind. The app thus far has solved one of the biggest problems I see with Songkick or Bandsintown, which is noise. I have taken to ignoring the many emails and push notifications from these apps because I simply don't go to that many shows, and when I do, I don't plan that far in advance. Often I'm just looking for a fun show for the weekend. That's where Jukely's founders believe it can delight and engage users better.
Rather than targeting an individual with concert suggestions, who must then to round up a group of his or her friends to buy tickets together, Jukely targets a group. You see a suggestion alongside several friends who also like this band (according to nine different sources including Spotify, Rdio, Last.fm, and Soundcloud). With one button you can invite them to go to the show via Twitter DM, Facebook message or email. You can also buy your tickets within the app.
"Instead of answering the question, 'Who's playing?' our approach is, 'Who's going with me?'" says co-founder and CEO Bora Celik. (Celik spent 10 years working as a concert promoter in the music industry.) Jukely is even experimenting with what Celik calls "the creeps level," which is including potential friends-of-friends in recommendations as a way to potentially forge new friendships over shared interests in a band.
Jukely has direct deals with most networks of venues including LiveNation. The company is also launching on ticket giveaways with artists as a user acquisition tool as it launches in new cities. Currently Jukely is only in New York, with a goal of 10 cities by the end of the year. Jukely has its eye on 200 cities around the world.
The idea is to curate suggestions -- each concert is hand-picked to be recommended on the platform -- rather than bombard users with them. The next step will be to build messaging and group chat into the app.
The biggest drawback I see is that your most music-loving friends might not be the ones you want to go to shows with. Inviting friends to join the app may be a barrier to engineering this serendipity. Same for matches with friends who don't live in your city. However, it may also lead to new friendships around shows. As Celik explained, for casual music fans, shows are often less about the artist than it is about having fun with friends. With that in mind, Jukely hopes to carve out a niche in this crowded market with its friends-first approach.