Bands may think of platforms as stages for their performances. But in the digital world, the platforms themselves are the new rock and roll. Just think -- Android is a platform. Apple's iOS is a platform. And so is Facebook.
Next up: Spotify? Ian Hogarth, the charismatic chief executive of Songkick, certainly thinks so. Last year, when Spotify announced it would welcome music applications on its digital music streaming service, Songkick was among the first to sign on.
The Songkick app clues Spotify listeners when their favorite bands will be in town and hooks them up with ticket vendors. Those who use Songkick end up attending twice as many concerts a year after downloading the app as they did before, leading big investors such as Sequoia Capital to invest $10 million in the London-based company.
What makes platforms so sexy and valuable is their ability to gather big audiences that make purchases by the billion. Android, for example, is embedded in more than 300 million mobile phones and tablets. Apple's iOS is so prevalent that the company recently boasted 25 billion application downloads. And Facebook has 800 million active users.
Hogarth now believes that Spotify is the next big audience aggregator, except in a narrower sense.
"Spotify is the first mainstream vertical platform for music," said the 30-year-old British entrepreneur.
His proof: The Songkick app has been downloaded 100,000 times since it was made available on Spotify late last year, Hogarth announced Wednesday. While that's just a fraction of the 5 million people who use Songkick each month, Hogarth is convinced that it will take off.
Right now, that might seem like a stretch, he admits. Though Spotify counts 10 million active users, 3 million of whom pay for the premium versions, it has just a dozen or so apps on its platform, including ones from Rolling Stone magazine, Def Jam, Warner Music, Tweetvine and others.
Is Hogarth correct? Time will tell.
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-- Alex Pham
Photo: Songkick co-founders Pete Smith, Michelle You and Ian Hogarth. Credit: Songkick.