Ed Sheeran and Kodaline – the concerts that got people talking online in Ireland

Lily Lieberman is a Junior at Arizona State. She is currently interning with Olytico as part of the CAPA study abroad programme.

As an American studying abroad with CAPA in Ireland for the semester, I’ve always been fascinated by cultural differences in music. I chose to study in Dublin because of the city’s rich musical history as well as its budding reputation as the “It” location for top artists and indie bands alike. Since I arrived in January, I’ve seen traditional Irish music at The Stag’s Head, watched The Kooks perform at the Olympia Theatre, and I’m looking forward to seeing the English artist, Roo Panes at The Academy in April.

As part of my internship, I am monitoring and analysing conversations across social networks. Naturally, I was curious what the most popular artists and venues are in Ireland. With this in mind, I set out to find out what the Irish were saying about concerts and gigs. With the help of the team at Olytico, I analysed over 13,600 mentions during the two-month period of January and February 2015. Here’s what we found:

Ed Sheeran dominates as the top mentioned artist

What soon became clear was the strength of Ed Sheeran’s popularity on social media. Sheeran held 5% of the total 13,600 mentions of concerts in Ireland. Sheeran’s domination is caused by several factors. Two of his gig dates were announced, one at Whelan’s and the other at Croke Park, during the two month period causing significant buzz on social media (due to high demand – a further date was added to Croke Park). Sheeran played at Whelan’s at the end of January and radio stations offered ticket contests.

Tom Øverlie, P3.no
Ed Sheeran. Photo by NRK P3


Croke Park and Whelan’s

Two of the most prominent venues mentioned were Whelan’s and Croke Park. Sheeran’s popularity and the speculation around his upcoming concert in July undoubtedly led to Croke Park stealing the number one spot with 684 mentions.

Whelan’s secured its status as the second most talked about venue with 364 mentions for two main reasons. Kodaline played at Whelan’s Feb. 7th to celebrate the release of their latest album, Coming Up For Air, on Feb. 9th. This, combined with Ed Sheeran’s gig at Whelan’s on the 24th contributed to the venue’s popularity.


Oscar Anjewierden
Oscar Anjewierden


The day by day breakdown – what caused the spikes

There were 5 major spikes during the two months – caused by:
Jan. 8 –  Ed Sheeran’s gig was announced at Whelan’s and set for Jan. 24

Jan. 23   The night before Ed Sheeran plays at Whelan’s, some websites create ticket contests

Feb. 4 Kodaline announces 2 major gigs

Feb. 7 Kodaline plays gig at Whelan’s

Feb. 19 Ed Sheeran announces Croke Park gig in July

The Words Behind the Numbers

Of the 13,000 conversations – what was it that got people talking? “Tickets” and “ticket” were mentioned 2,660 times, taking up about 20% of the conversations surrounding gigs and concerts. “Free” was a popular term coming in at 596 mentions with the majority of conversations involving winning free tickets or attending a free concert. Ed Sheeran had the “best” gigs according to our analysis. The two phrases were mentioned together 362 times.

Themes wordle
Word Cloud of the top 100 words mentioning  gigs or concerts from January 1st to February 28th 2015


Where did they talk?

Of the total 13,600 mentions of gigs and concerts, 72% came from Twitter, while 20% came from message boards.

The most surprising aspect of the analysis was that the top domain, Boards.ie, was responsible for 90% of the total content from the message boards. In the U.S., message boards are hardly used and social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram reign supreme. There was much speculation on Boards.ie about who would be playing Croke Park this July with Metallica leading as the most popular (but least likely) choice. The word “Garth” appears because many expressed their fears that this gig would turn out like last year’s Garth Brooks debacle and no concert would take place. Ed Sheeran announced he would play at Croke Park on February 19.

The word cloud below reflects the top 100 terms mentioned on boards.ie in relation to gigs and concerts.

boards wordle
Word Cloud of the top 100 words used on Boards.ie in relation to gigs or concerts from January 1st to February 28th 2015
Ticket Conversations

The word “tickets” was mentioned over 2,000 times. Through further analysis we found the word “win” mentioned in conjunction with “tickets” 1,223 times, revealing a high volume of posts that either advertise winning tickets or the desire to win a ticket.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 3.22.10 PM
Word Cloud of the top 100 words related to tickets from January 1st to February 28th 2015




The value of tracking and listening to social media is a clear. Early buzz about events on social platforms can help bands, venues and promoters better understand their audience. Venues can track the most popular artists across social media platforms and use this to their advantage when booking gigs. Radio stations should take note that ticket contests are key drivers of conversations.  Through listening to conversations online, everyone in the concert and gig industry can ensure they create events that get people talking.

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