Bandsintown’s 15 Million User Milestone Comes With Serious Oversights

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I like the idea of Bandsintown. Anything that helps get the word out about concerts (without artists having to pay for it) is fantastic. Bandsintown (depending on the user’s settings) sends out email reminders and push notifications (however I can’t seem to get that feature to work) when an artist you “track” announces a show in your town or when your Facebook friend RSVPs to a show. Bandsintown also sends out automatic notifications to Facebook and Twitter when shows are announced along with reminders close to the date. Over 250,000 artists are currently using Bandsintown. And now, 15 million fans.

This is working right? Not exactly.

Digging in deeper there are major holes that, to Bandsintown’s credit, I have pointed out to them privately and they have been good about exploring (but not fixing on a platform wide scale). But with this major announcement today it’s time to point these out publicly.

The biggest issue deals with the Bandsintown widget installed on bands’ official websites. Take for instance, “Keep Your Head Up” singer/songwriter, Andy Grammer. He has a tour calendar full of upcoming dates around the country. Let’s say I live in Orlando and want to plan my day around his March 8th concert. I get off of work at 8, will I be able to make the concert? I’d like to know this before buying tickets. On the Bandsintown widget on Andy’s website there is a plus next to the show date. Intuitively this would expand to see more details like show time, openers, venue address, cost, etc. When clicked (on the desktop version), yup it drops down to display… wait, Facebook comment?! That doesn’t seem to make much sense at all. It doesn’t list the time of the show or the openers (if there are any). Is Andy headlining or is he opening? No clue. Ok, fine, let’s click the tickets link on the desktop. It brings me to the tickets page, Ticketfly, where it clearly lists the show time of 5PM with 2 openers. Good thing I didn’t plan my day around it first and got tickets in advance!

But now let’s go the route of MOST users of Bandsintown. The mobile route. On Andy’s website on my iPhone (which isn’t responsive – for another topic), I click the plus sign (to see more details) and here it throws me to the Bandsintown app (not the Facebook Comment like the desktop version). If you don’t have the app installed it throws you to the app store. Ok, well, I do have the app installed so at least I can see more info here right? Well, not exactly. No show time listed. Weird. On the mobile app it lists him as the only act, however, on the official Ticketfly page it listed two openers. Odd.

I click tickets for his March 8th show at The Beacham in Orlando Florida from the app. It takes me to – a RESALE (scalper) marketplace (not Ticketfly like on the desktop version). Wait hold up! Is Andy going the Justin Bieber route of using a scalper marketplace to sell official tickets? This seems super shady and I know Andy and he isn’t like this. I must have done something wrong. I go back to his official website and click the Tickets link (from my iPhone). BAM same scalper link. Eek. And to make matters worse (for Andy) it says there are no tickets available. Sold out? Not exactly.

If I was Andy’s fan in Orlando my process would end there. Show sold out before I could get tickets. Bummer.

But because I know the real issue here I hop on over to my laptop and start over. I go to Andy’s website and click the Tickets link for his March 8th show in Orlando. This time? It takes me to the official tickets website, Ticketfly where it lists both openers, the time and the official ticket link (for face value tickets). Not sold out.

As mentioned before, Bandsintown posts show announcements on artists’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. Sounds great right? More promo that the artist doesn’t have to think about? Well, if you view this tweet on your phone (which most do) clicking the Bandsintown link takes you to the App store. Even if you have Bandsintown app installed! I click Open on the app store (because the app is already installed) and it takes me to the home page of the app – not the artist’s concert page. Now I’m lost.

Bandsintown have made some decent updates this past year like adding Bandsintown for Promoters which enables anyone to promote their show to the Bandsintown community (via targeted email blasts). They added Bandsintown Manager for mobile, giving artists the ability to upload, edit and promote tour dates, message fans who have RSVP’d to the show, add fan photos to the event and change the artist profile pic, all from the phone while on the road. They have also enabled a Tour Trailer, allowing artists to upload a video to the shows tab on the musician’s Facebook Page.

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Google has also struck a deal with Bandsintown (along with BandPage, SongKick, BandZoogle, ReverbNation, Ohana and GigPress) to pull concerts from the artist’s official website and display on the artist’s Google profile (but only if the artist has embedded one of these shows widgets to their official site – or added Google’s developer show code). So, you definitely want to use one of these show calendars on your official website to make sure you get your shows listed in Google.

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The only way to manage the artist’s Bandsintown account on a desktop is through Facebook. And the only way to manage it on mobile is through the Bandsintown Manager app. A bit disjointed with opposite user experiences.

Another big oversight, on the Bandsintown Tour tab on Facebook the comments section below the dates never refresh or disappear. Meaning, questions to artists about specific shows possibly from two years ago, are still prominently displayed.As mobile focused Bandsintown is for artists it’s confusing that they haven’t seamlessly transitioned to mobile for their 15 million concert-goers. Why is getting show info/ticket links impossible from Twitter? Why are they defaulting to scalper sites for tickets (on mobile)? Why don’t the complete lineups show on mobile? Why are there no show details (time, price, other acts, venue address or website) displayed on the widget for bands’ official websites?

Bandsintown need to fix these massive oversights immediately. The ticketing issue could potentially be costing artists thousands in lost revenue, or worse, scalper sales.

Bandsintown’s biggest competition is SongKick which has very similar features but hasn’t been adopted by nearly as many artists who actively engage with the platform. Both Bandsintown and SongKick aggregate show info from around the web (if the artist doesn’t import the show info directly to the service). SongKick’s latest numbers (from May 2014) boasted 10 million users. Curious to see if SongKick users have jumped ship to Bandsintown.

13 Responses

  1. Mike Borgia

    Hi Ari, I tested out bandsintown on my desktop and on my phone. All is working as it should. The only time I ever see issues with information is simply if the user didn’t update the details portion or bother to put in the correct ticket link. Sometimes it can just be a browser cache issue. I will side with you on the automatic Facebook events that bandsintown creates. For one, you can’t update any of the Facebook info from the data collected initially from bandsintown, so I don’t see the point in having that feature.
    otherwise, what you are experiencing might be somewhat of an isolated case.

  2. Manager

    I use BIT for nearly all my clients. I rarely have an issue and if I do, I get great customer service from their tech team.

  3. Andy Ulery

    Great thoughts Ari and ones I’ve been complaining about for a few years. I’m a longtime user of both Bandsintown and Songkick but have always felt neither does anything better than the initial concert announcement well. I always know about bands coming to my town, but that’s about it. From there both fail on many fronts. Both BIT and Songkick have a LONG way to go to make their experiences great for their users as you detail so well in your article. BIT uses a bunch of frowned upon tactics to drive user adoption (Auto-check entire address books when inviting friends, auto-posting on band FB pages etc) and their Concert Cloud is a pain in the ass and provides no value unless you click on each band name to get more details. But the biggest miss by both BIT and SK is that they don’t tell you when tickets go on sale. Ticketmaster has a window of time (about 24-30hrs I think) before tickets are on sale that they don’t give affiliate partners any money for pushing users. So both concert apps hide on-sale dates because they don’t make money on users buying tickets from their apps during that black-out time. But that’s what I want to know the most about a show other than the date. So that means there is little reason for me to go back into BIT or SK to buy tickets because of the reason you mentioned above, they just go to resale markets. Bandsintown is almost wholly focused on building out their advertising revenue as evidenced by their many job postings in that area and their purchase of a music ad network. Songkick I really haven’t a clue their end goal. They took too much funding to be an acquisition target and haven’t made any meaningful updates to their app or website in ages (concert/band discovery maybe??). With Google now listing concerts dates in their right rail search results that is going to kill Songkick’s excellent SEO work which drives most to all of their traffic. Will be interesting to see where these two go from here.

  4. Kim

    I’ve had similar issues with BIT when looking at my website on mobile. I use Squarespace for my site, and they have a BIT widget which makes the dates look really nice. On desktop, it works decently, but the mobile link does the same thing for me — directs them to download the app. I feel like that’s really inconvenient for the average fan who just wants to quickly find out basic show info. I emailed their tech support a few months ago to ask if there was some line of code I could alter to make it link the same way the desktop did, but I haven’t received a reply from them. I’m with you; I like the idea of BIT, but I wish they’d make the widget consistent on the different platforms. I am thinking of just listing my tour dates on my website with a simple text format. I don’t want to because it obviously doesn’t look as clean or nice, but at least all the info would be right there.

  5. Bandsintown

    Thanks for the thoughtful analysis and honest reporting, Ari, and to everyone for your comments. Some of your points are valid and are on our roadmap to address – including a mobile web landing page. Our No. 1 and TOP priority is product development. This is where we focus ALL of our investments and we welcome engineers interested in joining Bandsintown to email We noted the bug you rightfully highlighted regarding a ticket link from Andy’s website to, this shouldn’t happen and we are escalating the issue. Re: secondary ticketing. Bandsintown is one of the few, if not the only concert discovery app, which clearly links to primary ticketing sites whenever they are available – first and foremost. That’s our policy. If a show is sold out OR we don’t find any primary tickets available, we still offer our users the opportunity to buy a ticket, but sometimes those tickets are only avail on the secondary market. In order to serve our mission, that our users never miss a show, we leave the ticket purchasing option up to the consumer. If for any reason ticket links are not input by the artist directly and are directing traffic to an inappropriate location, we urge artists to alert us by submitting a help ticket at where we will expedite immediately.

  6. Bill

    I use BIT for all of my clients in addition to using it personally to track concerts. From the fan side I have found out about a lot of shows that I may have otherwise missed. From the band side they get really good traction with their Facebook reminders and they are lightning fast to reply to any kind of issue that may arise with the app. While they do have many automated features I think that perhaps some artists mistakenly think that the app will do *all* of the work for them and that their part ends after it is installed. A combination of BIT and staying on top of things like changing links, making sure that new shows are added in a timely manner, etc. has worked nicely for me.

  7. Anonymous

    Could you provide a link to ‘Google’s show calendar’. Can’t find anything following a few searches.

  8. Bryan

    I have used bandsintown for year to promote my 3 bands’ dates. It’s ALWAYS been problematic. Sometimes it links to ticket/address/venue info. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it works on IE, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes their server is down so that when you go to my websites, it doesn’t show anything. It’s super frustrating and I have a ton of support emails to and from them. i will say, they’re good about getting back. It’s free, so it’s tough to bitch. I could certainly just go to straight HTML on my webpage, and I’ve done this quite a few times when BIT has not been able to fix issues, but to have one place to enter stuff is really handy. Their Facebook install seems to work as it should. It’s the web widget that gives me issues.

    What are other musicians using? Reverbnation has a calendar feature/widget too, and I might just end up going that way. BIT has been NEARLY awesome, but it just can’t get there.

  9. Jacob

    that is one long detailed article about an app issue. I personally prefer using both apps, as sometimes one has a band the other doesn’t recognize. I check songkick multiple times a day, as they actually notify you of new shows when they’re coming into town (haven’t seen this feature on bandsintown), but the BIA app wins with having more artists available and being able to preview their work as well via Spotify.
    Songkick wins it for me, but that’s also cause my database of artists I’m tracking has been on theirs for much longer and would not make sense to update my BIA app with it. So for now I use both.

  10. Ashley

    Any updates to this situation? Song kick seems to post dates to a bunch of other sites exclusively like band camp, spotify, soundcloud, etc… But BiT does a better job at FB promotions / reminders. BUT it makes those weird FB events automatically that show up when someone is searching for the actual FB event created by the artist or venue. Weird.
    Is it worth inputting dates into them both? And only having BiT installed on FB, letting SK do the other populating?

  11. Salin Thanma

    However, I do like the idea of sending out automatic notifications to Facebook as well as to my phone.

  12. Georges

    Recently a new player was launched in this music ecosystem with BIT and songkick :
    They have interesting features like the possibility to predict the next setlist of artists, listen top famous hits or artists tour map…