Why is it so hard to find out what band is playing where? In central Arkansas there are a handful of venues where bands play and a few dozen bands but there isn’t ANY one place you can go to see who is playing where.
I’ve spent way too much time trying to come up with a consolidated list of events (see left column of my blog) but both the bands and the venue’s make it tough. Everybody uses different calendars. Some are simply web pages, some are MySpace pages or Facebook events, some use Google Cal, some don’t seem to publish anything. Some are using listing services and some are web based calendar software.
The one thing in common is that there is very little in common and even though it’s in everybody best interest, almost no one shares! To do the consolidated list, I have to spend a lot of time figuring out the format the band or venue is using and then write an interface to read it. To add insult to injury, Myspace (which is probably the most common format for bands) is not consistent in what they provide (band to band) and they don’t provide a legit data feed. Facebook doesn’t give anyone much of a way to get ANY event info (even though they give away all of your other data) and the “listing services” like Eventful consider the band’s upcoming dates THEIR data if it’s on their site.
My plea to bands and venues…. If you upgrade your calendar any time soon, please make sure that you have some kind of standard data feed available (XML, RSS, iCAL, something) and make it possible for people to find your feed!
Now for the question I’m sure many of you are asking, why should YOU care as a venue or a act? Well, if you’ve done much promoting you already know that you have to send your info to a dozen different places so you know you are covered. If everyone put out a consistent data feed, many of those places you manually send updates to now, would be able to simply pull your updated calendar feed – no fuss, no muss. For instance, instead of setting up the event on your web page and then sending it to Eventful and Sync and Night Flying, you would just set it up on your website. Obviously, the three publications just mentioned probably won’t start pulling immediately, but other smaller players (like me) will aggregate as many feeds as we can find and eventually, the bigger boys will either start pulling your feed or will grab one of the aggregated feeds.
If you need help setting up a data feed, feel free to leave me a message and I’ll see what I can do and if you set up a feed, don’t forget to let me know so I can add it to my feed. 🙂