What’s going on? Search me.

One would think that, in this day where there are so many free and easily accessible sources for promotion available online, that it would be a snap to figure out what entertainment options are happening on any given night. Not just mega stars performing at the sports arenas, but events happening at the nearby coffeeshop or bar. There are no barriers to anyone who needs to promote such events — performers and venues alike could spam us as if they were hot, horny chicks looking to sell us life insurance. And yet, I find it impossible to find out who’s playing where on a Friday night.

A large part of the problem is that a large proportion of venues and performers are now relying on Facebook to get their word out. This, of course, locks out non-Facebookers, which doesn’t seem to be in anyone’s best interest. But even if you are on Facebook, it doesn’t help because so many of them just don’t use the tools available, meager as they are. I just looked up three coffeehouses I “liked”, and only one had any events listed under their Events icon. The one that had an event had almost no information, so I have no idea what the band is that’s playing there tonight. I didn’t bother to go to the website of any of these, because I know from times past that the calendar information probably won’t be there, either. Newspapers used to have big beautiful calendar listings, but not so much anymore as they’ve either cut them back due to budget issues or performers don’t think it’s worth getting a free listing in a newspaper anymore, I guess.

I admit that since I fell out of the “scene” in late 2010, I am missing out on whatever word-of-mouth that came my way. That hinders my information gathering efforts, yet I just don’t have the time or desire to hang out in places waiting for things to happen. The best I can do is try to keep track of the individual performers I follow on Facebook as they issue event notifications, but one-by-one is a hard way to go.

I’ve long had a problem with how badly small venues promote their musical events. This dates back to pre-WWW times, but only seems to have gotten worse while the seeming ease of doing digital promotion improves. I’m not saying the performers shouldn’t promote themselves, but on’t venue owners realize that if they help get the word out, there will be more people inside the place buying stuff? And the tools are free for them, too!

Anyway, if you’re looking for me tonight, I’ll probably be at home.

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About songdogmi

I'm a longhaired almost-hippie stuck in the inner suburbs of a major rust-belt metropolis who's thoughtful, creative, and kind of geeky. In exchange for a paycheck I run around in a cubicle maze most days. When I escape, I play music, hang out in coffee houses, dink around on the computer, take naps, and think I should be off in the woods somewhere. Every once in a while I get in my car and drive far, far away, though I've always come back so far.
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3 Responses to What’s going on? Search me.

  1. People for some reason find online calendars really daunting. I don’t know what the deal is.

    • songdogmi says:

      I used to keep a personal calendar on Yahoo of local folkie events, but Yahoo’s interface made that kind of hard (e.g. couldn’t easily copy and paste repeating data like venue names for a list of shows). Maybe there really aren’t any good online calendars out there from a usability standpoint. But … yeah, I don’t get it, really. I don’t think people are using e-mail announcement lists, either, and that hardly requires anything techie.

      Maybe I have the wrong idea; maybe a small coffeehouse is not focused on drawing in patrons from a wide area, just locals and regulars. Casting a wider net doesn’t yield enough results. How many people drive from, say, Warren to Plymouth to visit a coffeehouse? Regulars are there enough to know what’s going on. Irregulars, well, too bad for us.

      I know people, performers mostly, who would make a circuit of several coffeehouses in one night. It was frustrating that they wouldn’t stick around for a whole show, but maybe they were doing the right thing as far as keeping up with events as best they could.

      • I REALLY like Google Calendar A LOT! I use it all the time. I find it super easy to update and very flexible. I don’t know if it would work for what you’re wanting, but one advantage of it is that you could have multiple people who have the ability to add things to it and that might be helpful.

        Also — Hootsuite is excellent for setting tweets and FB messages to get sent at a later time (requiring less “babysitting”). There are tools to make this stuff easy.

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