iConcertCal

iConcertCal is an iTunes plugin that scans your library and produces a list of upcoming concerts that you may be interested in. It attempts to detect your city from your IP address, but that can be overridden, and the calendar itself is provided as an iTunes visualiser. The iConcertCal installer has been sitting on my desktop for a few days now, awaiting a chance to be used, so it was finally time to give it a whirl.

For what it is, it’s a pretty neat implementation, though it could definitely do with some more UI niceties, such as using native text widgets so double-clicking on the city name will highlight it (I had to use the delete key to remove the default city name and replace it), and a more attractive default view. I also found the default set of dates a little disappointing, given that I know that there are more shows listed at last.fm and upcoming.org, both of which are using hCalendar and so are easy to scrape.

Indexing my small local library was quick, so there’s none of the delay that put me off after my first experience using MOG, but it still falls into the trap that system had of presuming that I’ll be getting all my music from a local library. We use one central iTunes library at home and most listening is over the network, and I know many other people whose primary listening is over an office or campus network. It is possible to feed in a list of other artists, but having to do that manually is likely to prove frustrating as tastes develop.

But what I’m really not sure about is whether iTunes is the place for this information. Personally I’d much rather have this data in my calendar software than hidden away in an itunes visualiser, particularly as I usually want access to the library browser when I have the iTunes window open. In my calendar software I can quickly see how concert dates fit with other events, and sync the data to my phone so I have the information even on those rare occasions when my laptop stays at home. Apparently calendar integration is in the works but it’s a feature I’d like to have seen in the 1.0 release.

As the plugin is lightweight I’ll be leaving it installed, but without a number of additions I can’t see myself switching to this view all that regularly.

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