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March 20, 2013 by Dan Nixon
Lovers of live music rejoice, because some clever folks have got together and created a new smartphone app that helps you find gigs in the area you live. Gone are the days when you would have to trawl through concert listings in local rags or peer at flyers on the side of derelict buildings, only to fork out £25 for a ticket and find out the band is either pants or just not your thing. With Timbre, you can not only get info on upcoming shows in your town, but also sample music from bands you have never heard of to discover new talent.
What does it do?
Timbre (free, currently available for iOS and in beta for Android devices) is a location-based music discovery app that lets you search for upcoming local gigs using your current location, or even check out the shows happening in another area. Once you have selected your location, a list of the bands that are playing upcoming music events will be populated.
You can click on the band to reveal details of the gig, and also listen to sample tracks from the artists. If you particularly like the sound of a particular track, there’s an app store link that takes you directly to the Apple App Store or Google Play to download the song directly onto your device. There’s sharing options available too, so of you find an appealing concert you can post it to Facebook and Twitter, or send the details to a music-loving friend via email or SMS.
How does it work?
Timbre uses GPS to find your location and then searches for upcoming gigs in a certain radius, pulling through info provided by music recommendation service, LastFM. The sample tracks are also from the LastFM catalogue, and if you click the globe icon on the artist pages in Timbre for more info, you will be redirected to the LastFM website’s event page which has details of the date, time, venue, website link to the venue, contact details and more.
There’s a Settings tab within the app from which you can set the search radius to between 5 and 100 kilometres, depending on how far you’re willing to travel to discover new music. Here you can also set background audio to play, and choose whether you want an artist’s songs to automatically play when you click on their gig info.
What we liked
Timbre can save avid concert-goers a hell of a lot of time checking various gig or band websites to see who is playing where, and then having to scour YouTube for a sample of their music. Often when you’re searching for a gig you don’t even know if the band is touring or if they will be coming near your home town.
A supposedly quick Google search for tickets can turn into a nightmare minefield of ad-laden gig ticket aggregators that make you jump through a million Captcha hoops just to find there are no tickets left. Timbre helps you to go straight to the local venue’s website to either buy tickets directly, find out if the gig is sold out, or be redirected to an official ticket website.
The design of the app is simple and cool, and in-keeping with the hipster style of the people it will no doubt be popular with. There’s no clutter and the layout is very clean and minimalist whilst still being visually appealing by mixing things up with font sizes and cases. A splash of colour is added via the album artwork that appears when you click on the name of a band.
What could be better
To be honest, there’s not much to dislike about Timbre. However, for the app to hold any worth you have to be into live music or else there’s really not much point in discovering new bands and upcoming gigs. Timbre is reliant on there being gigs in your area for the ‘Current Location’ search function to work, so if you live in Outer Mongolia there’s a good chance there’s not going to be much of a selection playing near you. The gig has to be listed in the LastFM events too, so smaller, more intimate performances may not be pulled through to the list on Timbre.
A nice addition to the app would be an option to search for bands you are already a fan of. Also, the facility to save a list of your fave bands and then get push notifications where they are playing locally would have added an extra string to Timbre’s bow.
Timbre is a no-nonsense app that has slick design and an uncomplicated navigation system. If you like attending gigs, this app will be ideal to help you locate events near you and find bands playing locally that you’ve never heard of. A couple of extra features could be added to Timbre to make it better, but we kind of like that it just does one thing and it does it well. Best of all it’s completely free, so if you love live music, then you need to get some Timbre action on your mobile
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