CNET's Donald Bell evaluates five Web sites that provide personalized local concert recommendations based on your iTunes, Facebook, Last.fm, Slacker, or Pandora listening habits.
Here are five sites that will put you in tune with the best live music in your area, using data from your favorite music sites and services.
If I had to choose one concert recommendation service above all others, I would pick Songkick. Not many events slip by it, and the site makes it exceedingly easy to integrate your music tastes from iTunes, Pandora, Facebook, and Last.fm. Yahoo likes it so much, it worked out a deal last year to have Songkick provide the relevant concert dates for any artist search.
What I like most about SonicLiving is its sense of community. It's geared toward people who regularly go out to shows and even bestows "Top Fan" status to members who've seen a given band on multiple occasions, giving the whole thing a slight music hipster/Foursquare Mayor-ish competitive vibe. My favorite feature, though, is that band listings will pull in related Flickr photo and YouTube videos, which helps immensely when you're trying to evaluate whether the show is worth your time. It's also worth noting that SonicLiving provides the concert listings for Pandora's iPhone app.
Flexible RSS and calendar feeds
Photo and video content on artist pages
Post-show reviews and photo uploads
No Facebook band import
No iPhone app
No Android app
Listings limited only to music
No direct links to artist pages
I still don't know why I'm supposed to collect virtual buttons
If SonicLiving is the place for the local music scenester, JamBase is the home for fans who wouldn't think twice about packing up the van for Bonnaroo. For me, it's a little information overload since I usually just want to know what to see in my area on a Saturday night. A JamBase member's thoughtful write-up of the New Orleans JazzFest just doesn't do anything for me. But for those who would travel to the ends of the earth to see their favorite band or experience a once-in-a-lifetime music festival, JamBase is made for you. Its top searched artist is Phish, if that gives you any clue to the vibe here.
Apps for iOS and Android
Dedicated section for contests (ticket giveaways, CDs)
Dedicated section for music festivals
Suggests cover bands to fill gap of deceased artists (i.e. Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash)
Individual artist pages include tabs for fan forums, artist links, and Rhapsody song previews
Fans can write general articles, show reviews, and album reviews
No Pandora import
No Slacker import
Complex site navigation
The polar opposite of JamBase, BandsInTown cuts right to the chase of finding live music in your city. There's no forums, no community, and even artist pages are pretty slim on content. It pulls off two unique tricks, though. One, it has a Concert Cloud feature that lets you quickly filter recommendations by ticket price, date, and distance. Second, its Facebook app integrates the entire BandsInTown experience, which is ideal for people who spend most of their time glued to Facebook.
iTunes import (via Facebook app)
Artist page music playlists
Concert Cloud recommendation filter
RSS and iCal feeds for show recommendations
Simple to navigate
No mobile apps
Thin artist content
No Slacker import
No direct links to artist Web sites
Doesn't include events beyond live music
Eventful isn't slick or hip, which is odd considering its partnership with MTV. Its music recommendations run mostly in the mainstream, but it casts a wider net than the rest by including sporting events, movies, theater, and kid-friendly stuff. If the question is more "What do I do with my Saturday?" than "What band do I see tonight?" then Eventful can come up with some useful ideas. It also has a feature called Demand It where you can declare your interest in having a band swing through to play your city. There's no guarantee it will work, but it's a fun idea.
Broad range of events
Connect to friends using Yahoo, Google, AOL, and others
MySpace profile import
Users can tracks their favorite venues
Web site links on artist pages
Demand artists to tour to your town
No social network integration
No song or video streams on artist page
No Slacker, iTunes, Pandora, or Last.fm import
Recommendation preferences must be set manually