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Site helps music junkies get their fix

Exactly one month ago today, a unique Web site launched that may make life much easier for avid concert-goers.

Any hard-core fan of live music knows how taxing it can be pouring over calendars for every venue in town--as well as the heartache that comes after realizing a show has come and gone without one's knowledge. Track50, co-founded by artist and graphic designer Jennifer Wasson and software engineer William Kelley, wants to change all that. The site allows users in the San Francisco Bay Area to follow up to 50 of their favorite bands, without so much as picking up a copy of the local weekly.

On the front end, users can enter up to 50 bands--be they a punk band from Minnesota or megastars like U2. Track50 does the messy part. Software written by Kelley analyzes data from public listings, band schedules, user communities and e-mail lists and then alerts users whenever one of their selected bands is coming to town. For now, the alerts come via e-mail, but the pair plan to add the ability to receive alerts and add or delete bands via instant messenger in the future.

For those who need a little inspiration, users can browse bands already in the database. The site also has a page that displays the 50 most-tracked bands, which is currently dominated by the indie rock scene but will no doubt diversify as the site gains more users.

While Track50 is still in beta, users can only get alerts for shows in the Bay Area, but Wasson says they already have users signed up in over 40 states and that they are working furiously to aggregate national tour dates for bands. She expects to have a significant number of bands tracked in most major cities by the end of March.

Those of us lucky enough to live in the area currently served by Track50 can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that no show will go unseen. Now if only we can manage to narrow our lists down to 50.