Thursday, September 16, 2010

How Location Apps Help Touring Bands

I read a great article by Jonathan Ostrow on Mashable called "10 Ways Touring Bands Can Leverage Location Apps." In it he discusses how geolocation services like Foursquare, Gowalla, and Facebook Places can be extremely helpful to any band on the road.

Here are a few of the items from the article that caught my eye.

1. Discover "Hidden Gem" Venues. Tap into your location network to unearth these hidden gem venues and reap all of the benefits that the local scene has to offer. If you find a great venue, be sure to leave a tip for your followers as well.

2. Get Venue Details Ahead Of Time. Location apps offer the perfect opportunity to test the waters and leave tips about bass boominess, the lack of sound check time, or how to get a particular audience really cranked up about a show. 

3. Sleep for Cheap. Use your network to discover and suggest the best deals in every the city — those comfortable, safe and cheap spots for a good night’s rest before the next gig.

4. Emergency Instrument Repair. Each potential store or repair shop has its own specialty, so use your network to quickly find the most recommended shops and get everything fixed before it’s time for the sound check.

5. Target You Audience. Before you book the gigs, use your network to learn which venues cater directly to your genre of music and your target audience. Which venues have paid off for other bands? Your geosocial connections should point the way.

6. Drum Up Local Support. Many businesses that support local artists may be willing to post a show flyer or let you perform outside or in the lobby. Each city or town has at least one hang-out with a supportive public that might be willing to endorse upcoming events.

8. Snag Good Cheap FoodBy using a network of location-based tipsters, you can tap into that local knowledge and get fed better while on the road, without busting your budget.

9. Find Cheap Parking. There are many advertised parking lots that come at ridiculous prices, but city natives may know of some secrets — the parking space that a neighbor rents out for cheap, or an empty block that doesn’t charge. 

10. Find Auto Repair. Before you hit Google or the phone book, check your location networks for a recommendation.

There's somewhat of a backlash against geolocation services lately as some people DO NOT want others to know where they are, but I think that number is in the minority and decreasing every day. That being said, you can do some of the same things with Facebook if you have friends in the area that you're traveling, or Twitter if you know how to reach out or search.

Bottom line is that social networking apps have changed how musicians travel. Gone are the days when it was all too easy to be stuck in a town without the local knowledge to solve a problem (I have too many of those memories that I try to forget). We can all be thankful for that.
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Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating the music business.

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