What is it: Songkick's Battle of the Bands web app aggregates several measures of a band's popularity into a scale that ranks the band for internet buzz. Rather than merely gauging Amazon sales, music-blog mentions or MySpace activity, this new service mashes up all the measures to provide a broader outline of a band's ability to stir up the masses over time.
Who's using it: Songkick's main business is providing tools to help music fans find concerts. Ian Hogarth, one of the London-based start-up's co-founders, said the Battle of the Bands tool is designed to support this model by pinpointing the hot acts sweating it out in clubs down the street. "There are really early-adopting, passionate fans who go to a couple concerts a week," he said. "But we found there's another class of users who loves music but doesn't even think of going to live music. We want people to take a little bit more risk with live music as a result of the recommendations."
Who cares: According to IEG, the live-music-sponsorship market has reached $1 billion, and many marketers are looking for the next Vampire Weekend before it lands a gig on "Saturday Night Live." "A brand wants to pick an artist before they blow up," Mr. Hogarth said, "so anyone who's trying to make any sort of educated guess on an artist's success would find the tool interesting."
What's next: The 4-month-old app is "very alpha," Mr. Hogarth said, and there are still weaknesses, such as the fact that popular personal sites from bands such as Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails are not included in the tool's formula to determine a band's "hot factor." Songkick is looking to add new metrics; data from Last.fm, Amie Street and Facebook may be included in the future.