Music lovers who want to find a concert nearby have a wide choice of apps that will detect their location and list live events nearby, then filter those events based on the kind of music they (as well as their friends) like to listen to.
Apps like Songkick and Bandsintown scan through music fans’ song libraries to learn their music preferences and help make sure fans never have to miss a show. The better apps will look through not just the libraries on their mobile device, but also their iTunes as well as favourite playlists on streaming services like SoundCloud, Pandora, and Spotify.
Bandsintown, in particular, also makes it possible for users to see which concerts their friends are going to attend. According to Bandsintown CEO Julien Mitelberg, he believes people go to concerts for two reasons: one, because they like the artist or the type of music. Two, because “it’s a social event with friends.”
Therefore Bandsintown will recommend nearby concerts but also notify users when their friends have indicated they’re going to a particular show. Users can also use the iPhone- and Android-compatible app to invite their friends.
Bandsintown also features a well-liked Concert Cloud feature, which loads up tracked artists who have upcoming concerts in your area. It then tries to recommend shows based on their similarity to artists you like, with a slider which lets you adjust how close they should be to your current favourite artists.
There are also the typical features like Pandora and Last.fm integration so it can recommend concerts not just based on what’s on your device but also based on what you listen to there.
Spotify and Rhapsody
Songkick is another highly popular concert app, available for both iPhone and Android as well. It gathers information from websites, ticket vendors, newspapers, and more to compile a massive database of concerts, so fans don’t have to worry about missing their chance to get AC/DC tickets.
Songkickis by far the most established app available, and it’s notable for its excellent Spotify support. The app not only tracks Spotify and iTunes playlist, but it can also track the artists you “like” on Pandora and Facebook as well as your Last.fm profile, while providing options to edit out artists which you’re not planning to see live.
While it doesn’t have the sharing features of Bandsintown, Spotify does let you create a detailed calendar of the bands you’re planning to see and then export it to Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal, or Facebook timeline.
Music streaming service Rhapsody also has their own app, called Rhapsody Concerts. This one shows concerts which are coming up nearby, and, as one might expect from Rhapsody, lets users stream the band’s album before they decide whether to purchase tickets.
Rhapsody International’s Senior Vice President of Product Paul Springer said that while they knew their customers like to see live music, until their app came along there were not really any options available which combined live music discovery and “an unlimited catalogue of songs.”
Thrillcall’s apphas been around for four years, and specialises in letting users pick up tickets for any concert across every major city in the US from an Android or iPhone mobile device. The app also has exclusive offers in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago allowing fans to bypass lines, meet the band, and buy merchandise and VIP tickets.
Compared with other apps, according to Thrillcall’s co-founder Matthew Tomaszewicz, their app’s main benefit is that users can now buy tickets to shows in just two clicks. The app lists about 100,000 concerts at any given time.
In many cases ThrillCall will have last-minute deals and shows perfect for fans who happen to find themselves with a free night.
It’s not technically a mobile app, but it’s a must-have for hardcore concert goers. Anyone who’s been to more than one show in a given week knows the way they tend to dissolve into a blur and it becomes hard to remember which song they heard when. Setlist.fm is a user-generated database of setlists which aims to solve that.
Setlists are the lists of songs which a given band played on a certain night, and Setlist.fm aims to be a centralised (mobile-friendly) database of setlists for acts around the world. While it doesn’t have every act, almost any big act will be found listed here. They also have many smaller acts.
Hardcore fans will enjoy the side notes for the more comprehensive setlists, which explain e.g if a given performance was a collaboration between two different artists, or if a given song performance was a cover.
Users can search by venue, artist, festival, or just browse the most popular setlists. They also have statistics for which artists are the “most covered” and which artists had the most concerts in the last year. (Their listings go all the way back to music festivals from the 1970s, and even earlier for some classic rock shows.)
GigBeat is Android-only, but if you have an Android device and spend a lot of time on the road it’s well worth checking this one out. Not only does it have a sleek interface that makes it easy to browse through its four main icons (Artists, Location, My Gigs, and Features), but GigBeat’s standout feature is how it makes it easy to watch different venues and cities.
Compared with other apps that often just look at your current location, GigBeat’s city tracker is great if you’re used to traveling for shows (or traveling for any other reason and looking to catch a show at your destination). It’s also great at tracking what’s coming up at your favorite local venue.
Using GigBeat is simple enough. You swipe through the different menus in order to browse the various concerts near your starred cities. You can also browse through your favorite artists in your local music library, Rdio, and Last.fm.
In case all that isn’t enough, Gigbeat has an option which lets you add audio alerts to the app’s push notifications. These will alert you to just-announced or upcoming concerts by bands you like. Then, once you’ve picked a concert, the app will let you buy tickets via Songkick.
The one disadvantage? While the app has artist profiles, there are no options to listen to them. Still, the no-fuss navigation and simple design makes this app well worth checking out.
onTour Concert Finder
Another Android-only app, this one syncs to both Last.fm and your local music library, and lets you buy tickets via Bandsintown. OnTour’s main draw is that it will let you pick the distance you’re willing to travel for a concert. It lets you search a radius of between 25 and 150 miles away from your current location (or any other location you’d like) for concerts, and similarly lets you check for concerts within a particular date range. All this makes onTour one of the best Android location-based concert finders.