Awful gigs, good gigs, great gigs, we’ve all been to some. I’ve always found that part of the thrill of seeing a band take to the stage and perform is the anticipation or whether or not they’re going to be any good. Now a new music focused internet start-up is trying to changing this, for better or worse.
Showscoop promises to be the Yelp, TripAdvisor, or, er, Last.fm for live music – giving gig-goers an online space to share their experiences of bands and check up on whether an artist they like the sound of has what it takes to entertain a live crowd. As with any fledgling digital community you’ll have to cut it a fairly large amount of slack as it takes off – right now there are only around 400 reviews online.
The predictable San Francisco bias also means you’re currently unlikely to find reviews of bands that aren’t touring the west coast of America, and even those that are only have a scattering of reviews attached to them. These existing reviews vary from useful, though spoiler-filled descriptions accounts of the gigs, to the utterly inane.
Of course this could all change, and it’s promising to see that Showscoop already has a vested interested in encouraging prolific and conscientious posters via its RoadCrew program. But the real issue is the definition of the problem that it’s trying to solve….
This may be the social media Olympics, but there’s been one clear winner this week in ‘who’s had the most interesting presence on twitter’, and that’s Curioisty (@MarsCurioisity). The 900KG, 6-wheel robotic mobile laboratory that has, since the 5th of August, been bumbling about the surface of Mars. The twitter account associated with the robot is an amazing example of how to telling an unfolding and complex story with (ironic?) humanity, wit and brevity.
Just look at the Rover’s first tweet from the red dusty plains of a planet some 34 million miles away:
I’m safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) August 6, 2012
Obviously these tweets aren’t coming from Curiosity itself, but the people in charge of interpreting the vast and complicated data streams being beamed across space are doing an amazing job at compacting down the information whilst injecting some real personality into their communications…
Last year I set up a music blog which aimed to share a song once a day, everyday. The project was fun at first as I ploughed through my record collection for different gems to link to and write about. But, over time the site became stagnent. I came to realise that I’d set up the music blog because I loved the idea of receiving a slow trickle of new music that I would probably like. By running the blog I was trying to provide that service for other people, but, constricted by the post/comments format of blogging, I would always be broadcasting my tastes outwards, rather than getting that trickle of new music flowing in.
Turns out that, whilst I was having these thoughts, some of the ex-members of last.fm and their friends were holed up in an office in East London also having the same ideas. Late last year www.thisismyjam.com launched, and, since I’ve been a member, it has in a number of small but significant ways, changed the way in which I listen to and share music…
Over the weekend the tweeting at gigs debate was rekindled by a short article on the Guardian Music Blog. It was sparked by Jack White’s recent decision to post signs at his gigs asking the audience to ‘please leave your phones in your pockets/purses and enjoy the show live and in person’. Danny Wright finished the piece stating that:
The sentiment is really a small part of the wrestling of control away from centralised bodies that the ‘general public’ has experienced as they’ve gained access to forms of social media. In this case the tension is a small localised one, rather than a global issue – do they audiences let the artists captivate them, or do they try and capture some of the experience for their own (and others) supposed gain? Within an audience we’re all performers forming part of the live musical experience, but the question is do we let it wash over us, or do we try to capture the flow…