Over the past few months I’ve been thinking a lot about all the new web 2.0 types of online services and how they relate to the live music world. Last week, I discussed the plans of concert industry giant Live Nation to “go web 2.0,” but this week I thought I’d take a look at two similar but smaller examples of the web 2.0-ization of the online concert realm:
If you’re a live music junkie and use iTunes but you have not downloaded the iTunes plugin iConcertCal, do yourself a favor and go grab it.
I just recently downloaded and started using iConcertCal. It’s free, easy to install (on Mac or PC), and does one key thing that iTunes has not yet done: it connects your digital music library to the concert listings in the world around you.
What this means is that when you load iConcertCal, it will scan the artist’s in your music collection and present you with a calendar of when those bands are playing in your area (through the “Visualizer” function). If you’re interested in a particular concert, you can click the link in the sidebar (screenshot here). It’s a nifty plug-in, and is not unlike most other Apple-related applications: it’s simple and easy to use.
However, it is not yet linked to all that much of the Internet world out there. The concert links either hit listings on Pollstar.com (which is pretty weak) or goes to the venue websites themselves, which, as we all know, tend to run the gamut of somewhat useful to completely useless.
That said, this is a step in the right direction for live music fans, and is even better because it taps into the enormous market of people who use iTunes. Also, it is clear that the folks behind iConcertCal have bigger ideas and are seeking out ways to further improve the plugin. They’ve already released version 1.1, which adds the following: 1) a search radius feature — for those of us not afraid of traveling any distance for a band’s tour; 2) the ability to refine your search by making a playlist; 3) the addition of “opening bands” and other acts; 4) the ability to search for bands not in your collection…and of course, it includes the requisite fixes for bugs in the original version.
iConcertCal also recently joined forces with our friends over at Jambase.com, who graciously (and wisely) allowed the access to the mass Jambase database of concert listings. But I have a question for the iConcertCal folks…how about a way to link this iConcertCal to my personal calendar either on my system or in an online calendar app like Google Calendar? How about a way to have these links hit on one or several ticketing options? Maybe we’ll get these, and other features, in a future version.
Speaking of calendars and Jambase, Andy Gadiel and the Jambase team recently added iCal compatibility to their concert listings, in another good step towards web 2.0 inter-connectivity and social networking. iCal, short for iCalendar, has become the web standard for calendar entries and online calendar apps like Google Calendar.
Although I think Jambase and other concert-oriented services still have plenty of room to grow, I commend Andy and the Jambasers for their gradual attempts to adopt some of these web 2.0 style services and social networking features. These are two very small changes, but I think they are great examples of the types of innovations we are going to see in this evolving space. Live Nation can make its own attempts to build a social network or a “MySpace for venues” but, in large part, the smaller players and homegrown services have already begun making small and gradual changes to better connect fans to concerts.
I hope you found this helpful because there’s plenty more to talk about as the online music space continues to evolve and the festival season rapidly approaches.