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Songkick's new database makes old concert tickets useful

Songkick is making the job of inventorying past music shows a more engaging experience with a digital shoe box for old concert tickets.

Band tracker and concert reminder service Songkick is venturing into new territory on Tuesday. The site is launching a feature that lets users chronicle all the shows they've ever been to. Think of it like a virtual shoe box for your old ticket stubs.

Users can either add these shows by hand, or search from a database that includes more than a million concerts. Each show page includes things like set lists, photos, videos, and posters. This information has been aggregated from various Web sources, including blogs, band pages, and event sites. If users have their own videos or photos, they can also be uploaded directly to the service. Not included, however, is a way to link to audio recordings.

Concert pages include set lists, photos, videos, and the option to say whether you were there. CNET

In a meeting with CNET last week, Songkick CEO and co-founder Ian Hogarth told me the company's information-gathering tool, which finds this show information from around the Web, will continue to improve as users add more gig dates and titles. These same users are also able to submit their own sites, or music blogs they frequent, to help the tool acquire more information for the database.

Hogarth compared Songkick's efforts with IMDB in trying to create a simple database that lets people see all of a band's past work in one place. It also creates a mash of all the other bands they've collaborated with, letting users do a "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," but with individual band members.

The new "gigography" feature lets you see all of a band's previous performances in one place. CNET

Along with shows, Songkick is adding festivals. These are just like individual concert pages, except they're for reoccurring music events. This allows for a timeline of all the previous shows in a festival series, so you can go back and see the performers and related news from each of those events.

So what's the incentive for spending the time to add all of these shows to Songkick's database? Hogarth says he hopes people come to the site with the same enthusiasm they have for keeping old concert tickets in a shoe box or scrapbook. "It's a way to relive some of the coolest experiences you've had," he says. "It's an enormous amount of pride for some people, and our system provides a very visible way to have it. More so than your bedroom."

Hogarth says that further down the line, that same information is what will help people be introduced to other Songkick users and discover music they may like. In the meantime, Hogarth hopes it will help jog faded memories and let you rediscover that awesome 15-minute guitar solo you forgot seeing 20 years ago.