Missing a live concert is more heart-breaking than getting into bed only to realize you’ve left the light on. It’s an ordeal that most musicophiles wrestle with by subscribing to an unhealthy number of mailing lists. Or by spending most waking hours scouring ticket and venue sites for FOMO.
But praise be to Apollo (the God of Music), there are ways to find out when your favorite bands (and artists you’ve just discovered) are playing nearby in advance.
Bandsintown describes itself as the “number one place for tour announcements”. With over 15 million users, it might be right. Connected to your Facebook, Last.fm, Spotify, and Deezer accounts, the concert recommendations you’ll receive will be impeccable.
What makes the Bandsintown mobile app so great is the customizability of the recommendations you receive. The Facebook app is far more restricted. First is location. In the app, rather than just setting your city, you can also choose how far you are willing to travel to gigs, so you only receive recommended events you can actually get to.
Second is the customizability of the bands that are actually “tracked”. Within the app, you can drag the artist slider all the way over to the left, which only tracks artists it thinks you truly love. Drag the slider to the center, and you’ll also receive concert notifications from bands you listen to less often. Drag the slider all the way to the right, and more obscure bands in lesser known venues will also be recommended.
In my opinion, this is the best app out there for keeping tabs on live gigs. With its calendar sync feature, notification settings (to receive alerts when shows are just announced, when they’re on sale, etc.), and the ability to listen to music from within the app (via Spotify), there’s not much else to ask for.
What’s missing — There’s no web app, only a Facebook app. For full features, you have to use the Bandsintown smartphone app.
Hidden in the far-too-often-ignored Browse tab (perfect for finding music you’ll love) in Spotify is another tab titled Concerts. The gigs listed in this tab are based on your location, and the music you most often listen to. If a gig is part of a tour, click the dropdown button to see dates of other gigs by the same artist. The accuracy of these recommendations is extremely impressive.
If you’re in a city that doesn’t host a huge number of gigs, you’ll also be shown those in nearby cities. You can also change your location so you can see who’s playing in a city you’re due to visit.
What’s missing — There’s not much customizability with Spotify’s gig recommendations apart from the ability to change your city. You can’t add or remove artists, and you can’t send gigs to your calendar. All you get is a link over to SongKick.
Spotify actually scrapes all of its gig data from SongKick, a long-standing concert recommendations site that we featured way back in 2012. This is Bandsintown’s main rival.
SongKick allows you to import all artists you listen to or follow on Facebook, Spotify, and Last.fm (but not Deezer). This allows for even more accurate recommendations than Spotify can provide on its own. You can then “track” any cities or artists you like, and see a list of upcoming concerts on the site, and in the app. You can then compare the price of tickets from various merchants, and see full line-ups if other artists are playing.
Shows can even be added to your favorite calendar app with the click of a button (from the web app, not the mobile app).
What’s missing — SongKick would be slightly more impressive if users could narrow down their location more accurately. Some users have reported difficulties purchasing tickets from within the app. There is no way of playing songs from within the app, which would be useful when you’re considering going to see an artist you’ve never heard before. There’s also no easy way to send events you’re interested in to your calendar from the smartphone app.
For any band or artist you like on Facebook, head over to their page and click on the Events tab. Many (but not all) artists now include their upcoming gigs right here.
To always be alerted of these events, click on the Subscribe button on the right. This will add any of that artist’s events to your own Facebook events feed. When a gig you’re interested in appears, you can mark whether you’re interested, not interested, or going.
What’s missing — This entire process is manual, so it will take time to keep your events stream up to date. Some artists don’t use the Facebook events tab, which means you won’t be alerted of their gigs. Very limited search functions.
With your JamBase account you can see a full list of upcoming gigs in your area. For my own city (Liverpool, UK), the site had over 500 shows for me to scroll through.
As you mark which gigs you’re interested in, you can also share your calendar with friends.
Gig recommendations are based on the artists you search for and track on the site, rather than being automatically based on artists you listen to via streaming services.
What’s missing — Mobile apps are only available to US users. There is no option to connect to your Spotify or Last.fm accounts, which means the whole process must be manual.
When you sign up on Eventful, you can choose to track any artists that you’d love to see live (similar to JamBase). The service will then alert you the next time a tracked artist is due to play in your city. To do this, head to My Eventful, then start tracking artists, venues, and categories that you like.
As well as live music, Eventful also has a pretty impressive list of other kinds of events that you can track too, from comedy to movies. Though Facebook still seems to have a larger calendar of nearby events than Eventful.
What’s missing — Unfortunately, the service doesn’t connect to your music streaming services, so the upkeep is pretty manual. The venues that Eventful pulls data from are also limited to only the largest venues, so its overall database of events is relatively small.
Never Miss Another Gig
Although there are a few apps that help you to stop missing gigs, they really boil down to just three.
If you already use Spotify, and just want a list of gigs to scroll through occasionally, the app already has you covered.
But if you want something with far more functionality, and which can track the music you listen to from various sources, I would definitely go with Bandsintown if you’re happy using the app solely on your smartphone. Or, opt for Songkick if you also want a web version of the app. Both fulfil their roles excellently, and leave very little to be desired.
Over to you? Do you think any of these apps could have stopped you missing a gig you otherwise would have loved to have seen?