Growing up in Toronto was actually quite fun, especially when it came to music — every night of every weekend another big act was in town, and as a high school student with a solid part-time job and bulletproof fake I.D. I saw a lot of great shows. Even now when I visit one of the first things I do is grab a NOW magazine and look at the concert listings.
Thanks to HearWhere — a new website developed by Whistler’s own Pete Field — those listings are easier than ever to browse.
HearWhere is essentially a live music search engine that determines where you’re located geographically and then scans MySpace pages to generate a list of bands playing within driving distance. Clicking on a show will generate a map showing how to get the concert venue, samples of songs posted on MySpace, links to purchase their albums from Amazon.com, blog reviews of albums and concerts, and if applicable a link to the ticket vendor.
The beta test website is all about what’s playing when and where, but Field plans to add a band search feature where you can find out where your favourites are playing next — as someone who has driven as far as Portland to see bands, it’s a welcome addition.
Other concert listing databases than MySpace may also be added, but in his experience Field has found that most bands have pages and update the information frequently.
You can also customize your searches, searching by city, range, genre, and dates. That’s not as crucial for a smaller town like Whistler, but cities like Montreal and Toronto can generate thousands of search results.
Field calls the site a weekend project.
“The idea came from a few different things,” he said. “First of all I already had all the MySpace data for connecting artists for another project, and looking at it I saw that you could use that to go looking for concerts. Also, the Pemberton Festival’s main page had a LastFM player on there, and I could never get it to work because it didn’t have all the artists or music. From there it was a weekend project to put together a site that connects artists to the shows their playing, that you can search and use to play music.”
The test version is up now at www.hearwhere.com, and the next version should be up in a few weeks once it’s been tested. Field is also adding the ability to browse HearWhere by web-enabled cell phones. Which leads us to…