The World Has Turned and Left Me Here... without concert tickets
June 5, 2014 4:06 PM   Subscribe

I am following my favorite band on Facebook and Twitter, and somehow I still missed that they're performing a gig near me tonight. How can I track when my favorite bands are going to be performing near me?

In general, as I have learned, these bands are not posting things like, "Tour dates in x, y, and z cities!" on Facebook and Twitter.

I live in a smaller city, and most acts play concerts in one of two larger cities near me. I'm old, so I'm most excited about 90's and 00's alternative bands that are still together and touring - usually they show up at bigger venues.

I'd like a notification that the bands are going to be playing in my area, rather than going to check a website (which I will definitely forget to do). I'm hoping this can be part of my regular information stream (which is email, fb, twitter [although I miss stuff here, given the nature of the site], MetaFilter, and sometimes Instagram) OR be easily add-able to my information stream (some kind of app?).

How do you know when concerts are coming to your area? How do you keep up with tour dates for different groups that may or may not be touring all the time?
posted by jeoc to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I generally sign up for email not from the bands I like, but from the venues that tend to host the bands I like. Here in Chicago, there's also the Chicago Reader (the free alternative weekly newspaper) which sends out an early warnings email about shows that have been announced and when tickets go on sale. Every larger city I've lived in has had some sort of newspaper with music listings.

So you have to do some skimming and maybe more often than not the emails won't be about bands you like, but for me it comes directly to my inbox and is easy enough to do a quick check before deleting the email.

I also learn about shows from my friends who have the same musical taste on Twitter.
posted by misskaz at 4:12 PM on June 5, 2014

I have been hoping someone would make An App For That basically since apps have existed, and yet I've never found anything very good. It's a shocking hole in the world of software startups.

When I lived in New York, I would just check Brooklyn Vegan periodically, and I think there are similar sites for other major cities' music scenes. For a smaller city, just knowing the local venues and what's likely to be happening where at what time of the year is probably easier.

I have had some luck with liking the bands I, uh, like on Facebook. They usually post a lot of news and updates about tours, appearances, and new releases.

Until, of course, somebody FINALLY comes up with an app that will ping you when a band you like is coming to town.
posted by Sara C. at 4:13 PM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

They are not perfect solutions, but Songkick and Bandsintown are the apps to check out if you haven't already. Bandsintown is available on Facebook, Android/iphone, and will also send you email updates about shows.
posted by rhythm and booze at 4:16 PM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

I use Jambase, which will email you whenever bands on a list you set up with them have a gig within a certain distance of your location. You can pull in info from Facebook, iTunes, or to help set up your artist list as well, which was really helpful. It was initially focused on the jam band scene, and you can still see remnants of that in the ads and things like the top searched artists, but at this point the list of artists they track is pretty wide ranging.

I have some friends that use bandsintown, but I haven't ever tried it out myself.
posted by polymath at 4:25 PM on June 5, 2014

My favorite choice for this is iConcertCal though I must specify that I haven't used it in a while so I don't know how well supported it currently is.
posted by sacrifix at 4:27 PM on June 5, 2014

Songkick has been working great for me, although I often forget to add new bands until I miss their tours. You can add both bands and locations, so for example I have both San Antonio and Austin set as cities to trigger an email notification. It has some import features (like import favorite bands from iTunes) that I've never tried. It also has an Android and iPhone app, again that I have not tried.
posted by muddgirl at 4:40 PM on June 5, 2014

I use songkick successfully for this too, definitely recommend it.
posted by ellieBOA at 4:48 PM on June 5, 2014

Came here to 1. echo Sara C., that there isn't a great solution to this problem yet, and 2. recommend Songkick; it's not the best, but it does let me know once in a while that there's a band I really like playing in town. So, Songkick is probably the best at this at this point, and that's not for insignificant reasons, most of them involving the vagaries of club scheduling.
posted by General Malaise at 4:53 PM on June 5, 2014

I really hope someone is reading these comments and deciding to build an app to do just this. I would expand the need to an app that tracks when speakers and authors come to town too - hate going online and learning that my favorite author was in my city just weeks ago. The only thing I do now that is hit or miss it set up Google News alerts for specific bands and my city. This gives me more than I need but if they're bands that are not super well known, it can be a way to be tipped off.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 4:59 PM on June 5, 2014

Seconding everyone who says Songkick, which worked perfectly for me when I was in the UK. They're a London-based company, so it's possible that they have better data for the UK than for other countries, possibly even including the US, judging by the comments here. Certainly it doesn't work as well in New Zealand as it does in the UK.

I also found useful, but you'd obviously have to scrobble quite a bit of music before that became effective.
posted by Pink Frost at 5:23 PM on June 5, 2014

There's an app called BandsInTown which I signed up for that does almost exactly what you want. At any rate it works very well as far as emailing me when someone I like announced a concert, though it sometimes sends me some ridiculous false positives under the guise of "Because you like [X]."
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:28 PM on June 5, 2014

There's another website called sonicliving that I use in addition to bandsintown and songkick.

Get on the email lists for the venues or the promoters. If your bands play in big venues chances are ticketmaster and live nation will include them in their email updates.

I'm on the email list of several venues and promoters so I very rarely miss any band. If I do listen to something totally new and great, I google band name + tour to see if they are showing up in my area anytime soon.
posted by viramamunivar at 6:30 PM on June 5, 2014

I'm in Austin and travel to Houston and Dallas for shows semi-regularly. Songkick and Bandsintown keep me up on everything from the Tannahill Weavers to Laurie Anderson to Austra.
posted by immlass at 7:01 PM on June 5, 2014

In the absence of One True Solution, you can also get on email lists for local venues, as I see some other folks have suggested - so I'm on DPAC and the Cat's Cradle listservs (the CC one is great because they book shows other places, too), and I like the Pinhook on Fbook, among other things, which are all helpful (I actually found out about the Weezer gig because two different sets of tickets appeared on different neighborhood listservs I'm on! So those can be useful too...).
posted by kickingthecrap at 7:24 PM on June 5, 2014

Bandsintown seems to work pretty well, and for some artists I've set up an IFTTT recipe that can watch a web site's "Tour" page RSS feed (if it has one) and email me whenever it changes- it's not as precise as getting a heads up only when a date near me is added, but it at least keeps me in the loop.
posted by usonian at 9:27 PM on June 5, 2014

Since the bands you like generally show up at larger venues, simply set up alerts on Ticketmaster. They'll email you when favorites come to town.
posted by smokyjoe at 10:31 AM on June 6, 2014

Oh My Rockness is great for this in NYC, LA, and Chicago.
posted by bobafet at 10:38 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just wanted to chime in that signing up for venues can help out this problem a lot.
posted by SarahElizaP at 6:51 PM on June 6, 2014

I would set up a Google alert for "band name" + "your town"

If it is Weezer, you will be disappointed. I have seen them 4 times and each time they were progressively more poppy and the fans became gradually more Bro-ish. One one concert a tweeked out frat boy stepped on my toes almost the whole time.
posted by seanfkennedy at 7:43 PM on June 6, 2014

It's currently in (deep) hibernation, but if it ever comes back, Tourfilter did exactly this, and nothing more.
posted by schmod at 5:35 AM on June 16, 2014

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