The recording industry is increasingly looking at live-music revenue as one way to make up for falling sales of recorded music, and as a consequence, concert-listing sites are sprouting like mushrooms. I've been a longtime customer of Bandloop's enough to keep it installed long past my usual testing time, but Wednesday I added a new one to my bookmarks: Livekick., and have been impressed with
Founded last year by Aviv Eyal, who helped found video-sharing site Grouper and sell it to Sony in 2006, and his partner Yarden Tadmor, Livekick's been in public beta testing since last fall. The process is familiar from other concert-finding sites: enter your favorite artists, and it'll return a list of concerts by those artists in your area, complete with links to buy tickets.
But there's one huge difference: instead of forcing you to enter artist names manually, Livekick lets you import them directly from iTunes, as well as online music services such as iLike, Pandora, and Last.fm. (Last.fm is a part of CBS Interactive, which also publishes CNET News.) This not only saves hours of time--the import took about 10 seconds for more than 600 artists--but it also helps you remember artists you wouldn't have thought to follow. In my case, I seldom listen to Lyle Lovett (except when driving my daughter around--she loves "the song about the hat") or the Reverend Horton Heat, but I know that both are fantastic in concert. And thanks to the iTunes import feature in Livekick, I just found out that both are stopping near Seattle in the next month.
Livekick goes deeper than the "Artist" column, reading other song data to help refine its suggestions. For instance, I don't have any solo music from John Doe, but Livekick saw all my X songs, recognized Doe as a songwriter and member of the band, and recommended a nearby show. It also recommended Merle Haggard based on the fact that I have a Dick's Pick selection of the Grateful Dead doing "Mama Tried," written by the Okie from Muskogee. And once you've got your list of artists, you can click any of them to find related artists--and Livekick does an excellent job with the suggestions.
Finally, if you see anything you're interested in, Livekick shows you ticket prices from Ticketmaster and other outlets, then lets you click through to buy. And Wednesday's a perfect day to try it out: concert promoter Live Nation is running a promotion called No Service Fee Wednesdays where it's waiving some of its customary fees for some seats at some shows. (You knew the name was too good to be true, didn't you?)
The site's not perfect--I got excited when I saw that The The had a show in my area, imagining a small club gig, only to find out that the band is actually The Them. The concert listing for art-rock band The Church showed a video of guitar shredder Steve Vai playing "Entering The Church" live. Livekick also focuses on well-known acts, whereas Bandloop is better for finding obscure local acts or answering the question, "Is there any live music happening in this neighborhood right now?" But for keeping track of old favorites on tour, Livekick beats any other site I've seen so far.
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