London-based Michelle You speaks in Austin at SXSW about music and her startup Songkick.
By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)

At the SXSW “Can Social Music Save the Music Industry?” panel, the panel discussed the direct-to-fan relationship with social media.

Michelle You, co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Songkick introduced herself by stating she started Songkick because “we loved going to shows.” She adds, “The average American goes to one concert a year and we think that’s completely atrocious.”

Songkick is the second largest music website behind Livenation, and announced series B funding from Sequoia last week.

The panel unanimously agreed that music artists have incredible opportunity now that a tweet goes to millions of fans. However, “while your hardcore inner circle of fans will be on Facebook, your second tier of fans want to listen to you and go to your concerts – that’s where Songkick comes in,” said You.

“Email is massively underutilized,” said Jason Herskowitz (Chief Product Officer, Official.FM). He points out his friends on Facebook have “horrific” taste in music, so you have to look beyond your existing social network to find the music you want. He recommends looking to labels and music blogs, but adds “there is work in finding people whose taste you trust as a listen and tools that allow you to follow that is extremely important.”

“We were talking earlier about the lost of mix tapes…” remarked You. “The real opportunity with Facebook is how much information the site will give you about your fans. This information is so useful when you want to find out how to effectively market to your fans,” said You.

Herskowitz broached imagining that you could share your playlist on Rdio with a friend on Spotify, reminding the audience that social listening is not really social. Here is an opportunity for innovation.

“Data is the most important thing you could be owning and paying attention to,” said J Sider (Founder & CEO, RootMusic). This means own your own website to collect email addresses. “Email is massively underutilized,” said Herskowitz.

Panel moderator Mike McGuire (VP Research, Gartner) recaps the panel that “social is not a silver bullet” and “there are tools being developed to link fans to music, and transactional (tickets, merchendise)”. Be clear about your own privacy policy when collecting data from fans. And bottom line – collect data about your fans yourself!

About the writer: Angie Chang co-founded Women 2.0 in 2006. She currently serves as Editor-In-Chief of Women 2.0 and is working to mainstream women in high-growth, high-tech entrepreneurship. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. In 2008, Angie launched Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, asking that guys come as the “+1” for once. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.