MyMusicTaste, a Seoul-based startup that gauges fan interest to help figure out where to plan concerts, plans to expand throughout Asia after landing a $10 million Series A led by Softbank Ventures Korea.
Other participants in the round include Samsung Ventures Investment, Formation 8, Golden Gate Ventures, Timewise Investment, Partners Investment, Bokwang Ventures Investment, and DT Capital.
Chief executive officer Ethan Jaeseok Lee came up with the idea for MyMusicTaste while running a Korean fan site for Coldplay. While trying to figure out why Coldplay hadn’t toured to Seoul yet, Lee realized how risky live concerts can be for music artists and organizers.
“Due to low ticket sales, even people like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga have had concerts cancelled,” says Lee. “I thought, what if fans can request an event first and then we analyze how many people will come and how many are willing to pay for concert tickets?”
Though Lee hasn’t managed to bring Coldplay to Seoul (yet), MyMusicTaste, which works directly with event planners and artists, has organized 80 concerts in 32 cities since it launched in 2013 and currently claims 500,000 users, 90 percent of whom are based outside of Korea.
Many of the artists on MyMusicTastes’ platforms are Korean pop groups (including boy group EXO, which sold more albums worldwide last year than One Direction) but it plans to use its Series A funding to add more artists from labels in the U.S., Japan, and Thailand. MyMusicTaste is also eyeing growth in China, where it will set up an office soon.
Lee says that the worldwide music market is worth $50 billion and over half of that, or $26 billion, comes from the concert industry, which many artists rely on for the bulk of their income. To figure out how many users will actually spend money on a ticket and aren’t just casually expressing support for an artist, MyMusicTaste asks them to go on “social missions.”
For example, the site will ask fans to fill out short surveys, like how much money they are willing to spend on tickets in certain cities, or share video clips from artists on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. People who are willing to complete social missions are more likely to buy tickets.
MyMusicTaste makes revenue by selling tickets and taking a commission and promoting concerts organized through its platform. When it first launched, most concerts organized through MyMusicTaste had audience sizes of 200 to 300, but that is quickly increasing. For example, MyMusicTaste is currently promoting an EXO show with capacity for 15,000 people.
Lee identifies Live Nation, which is based in California and promotes about 22,000 concerts a year, as his startup’s main competitor. MyMusicTastes hopes to differentiate by working with up-and-coming artists in addition to established stars. Lee also claims that MyMusicTastes’ social missions help keep its marketing costs lower and that it plans to preserve its margins by continuing to focus on helping concert organizers instead of diversifying into artist and event management like Live Nation.