what the hell, Facebook?

So, I use Myspace in a very specific way: I friend only bands, and I have a script (no you can't have it, it barely works) that turns my "bulletins" into an RSS feed. In this way I find out about tours and new releases without ever really having to deal with Myspace. So that's ok. It beats trolling Pollstar, anyway.

But if these bands (or even most of them) had Facebook pages, I'd just friend those instead and ditch Myspace entirely, since that'd be easier and far less painful, Facebook already having actual functional RSS feeds.

But what the hell, Facebook? How do you even search for a band on there?? It's like they went out of their way to make it not work.

The best I've found is to google "site:www.facebook.com bandname". Which is disturbingly manual.

I did sign up for the iLike app at some point, and I guess if you asked the iLike people how to do this, they'd tell you that all those bands will be updating their info in iLike, and that's how you find out about them on Facebook rather than by friending ("fanning") the bands directly. But bands never update anything on iLike ever, so clearly that theory has a flaw.

Wasn't brad supposed to have fixed all this already?

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29 Responses:

  1. rly says:

    Um. I usually just put the band's name in Facebook's search box and if they have a page it's generally the first result.

    But yeah, that anyone uses Myspace anymore for anything boggles my mind and I wish I could just delete my account and move on, but then I'd miss things. Then again, I say the same of LiveJournal. I want to close up shop everywhere but Facebook and Twitter, but there's just enough hold outs elsewhere that I can't. Yet.

  2. ghosthacked says:

    Facebook bands pages are kind of few and far between. I have managed to collect a few but they aren't nearly as well filled in that area as myspace. For example I'm able to find mike doughty, dramarama, the smithereens, underworld, etc on myspace no issue, but on facebook i have to look through stuff. the iLike app seems to have quit really working for me.

    Honestly I found out the mountain goats were playing locally over the pirate cat radio, and when i went to go buy tix i found out flogging molly was playing as well. Other than that I wouldn't hear about bands.

    People used to blog about what bands they were going to go check out, now you're lucky to get a 0day/0hour notice on that.

  3. gse says:

    From the band perspective, Facebook blows. In order to upload music, they want you to first give them a scan of your driver's license(?!?) to prove, I don't know, something to do with owning your music. If you *do* upload something, it takes a few days for them to validate it. That's all pretty goofy compared to how easy it is to get a myspace page going.

    Further, you have to manage your Facebook band page with their weird "Pages" thing where you sort of own the page but it's not the same as your regular profile. You can't create a straight-up band account like you can on myspace.

    It is in fact like they went out of their way to make it not work. My current band has a Facebook page but I keep thinking about deleting it because there's no point in keeping it up to date.

    Meanwhile, it'd be nice if myspace would add some more push features like the ones you're talking about. The "blogs" are about it. At least most releases and major tours get mentioned there.

    Anyway, instead I use sonicliving to keep track of local shows, and I find out about releases... somehow.

    IMO the most promising myspace-killer might be last.fm. They have a nice clean UI, they have a good, consistent listening thing, and the Wiki backend for adding band info is cool. They need to add the band<->fan social aspect (maybe a push one, that doesn't require you checking the site every day in order to be useful) and it's on.

    • jwz says:

      I dunno, I find last.fm mostly useless. I still get mail from it, but it only alerts me to about 1 in 10 shows I'm interested in, and that's always been long after I found out about them through other means.

      • tourb.us polls your last.fm stats and sends you email when someone is touring within a certain distance of you. It isn't perfect, but it's the best I found so far.

        • huh, they seem to me dead right now. Odd, I'm sure I got mail from them recently so hopefully just a transient thing.

          • dojothemouse says:

            As far as I can tell, tourb.us is on autopilot. It works some of the time, and it doesn't scrape that many shows.

            • gse says:

              Just wanted to call this out more clearly -- sonicliving.com is brilliant for this. It'll read your audioscrobbler output, your iTunes library, etc etc. and tell you when shows are happening. They have ical feeds for your wishlist/confirmed shows/etc. It's reliable and under active development and has improved weekly since I first signed up. It's damn nice.

              They were very SF-heavy at first, but I'm pretty sure they've expanded to a lot more regions now.

      • kanin says:

        i'm with gse, i use SonicLiving and it does a great job of finding shows for me. Would definitely recommend trying it. Especially since they added DNA Lounge shows!

        (Disclaimer: The founder of SonicLiving is a super good friend of mine.)

      • gse says:

        Yeah, I said "promising" for a reason... I wasn't recommending it for this purpose for now, just throwing in some waxing about The Future Of Social Music Networking.

  4. damiancugley says:

    I recently saw a talk from Songkick, a start-up who want to solve your problem (at least so far as finding local gigs of bands you like is concerned).

    • jwz says:

      There are at least thirty different startups with the exact same business model. I'm so sick of importing all my preferences into the new one, only to find that it doesn't do anything different than the last. I just wish one of them would win already. Or, as alluded to, that someone would solve the "move a social network from one damned site to another" problem.

  5. jcheshire says:

    I don't see Facebook going this route. As they said in a recent email that received some press:

    "Please note that Facebook accounts are meant for authentic usage only," the e-mail read. "This means that we expect accounts to reflect mainly 'real-world' contacts (i.e. your family, schoolmates, co-workers, etc.), rather than mainly 'Internet-only' contacts." . . . The e-mail continued: "As stated on our home page, Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you, not a 'social networking site.' It is meant to help reinforce pre-existing social connections, not build large groups of new ones."

  6. buckminster says:

    Take a look at http://bandloop.com/ , a locally grown project.

  7. discogravy says:

    I dunno, but I hope you find an answer on the lazywebs (or wherever) 'cause it's precisely this shit that makes me miss concerts. "Hey why didn't you go to Of Montreal?" "Wait...they were here?!" The best I've run into so far is LiveNation but that only works for large bands that do shows in venues they sell tickets for (and I have yet to setup the service properly; it either wants manual info on which bands i like (typing in name-- no picking from a list, the fucks) OR uploading itunes' xml file (too lazy to do it so far. also, it's 27 megs.)

  8. mtbg says:

    iConcertCal is an iTunes plugin ("visualizer") that polls the Interwebs for local tour dates and album release dates for bands in your library. It exports to iCal, which I assume to mean that you can get the data into the application of your choice.

  9. mark242 says:

    This shit would have been so much easier if mp3.com still existed.

  10. They both seem to work. I haven't kept any data if there were concerts that one found and the other didn't. iLike lets users submit concerts (which are then validated by moderators, I think), so it's not the burden of the band to publicize their concerts. I wrote a script to parse information from Pandora to list bands to follow, which makes inputting the bands you like easy (if you have ever been a heavy Pandora user).


  11. rasp_utin says:

    ...or you could log into Facebook and go to http://www.new.facebook.com/pages/?browse&ps=19

    I realized after reading your post that I had created a page for one of my own projects and couldn't figure out how to find it again. The link above was my solution.

    • jwz says:

      I did find that page, and apparently you can't search within it. You can only go through it linearly, sorted by (I think) number-of-fans. Awesome.

      • httf says:

        Wow. I'm so glad we've reached interweb 2.0. Yeah, that's stunning.

        This sort of thing definitely bugs me from time to time on facebook but I generally find the most obnoxious thing about facebook is the people. Luckily New Facebook has finally allowed me to filter 90% of those fuckers out of my news feed (yay filtering by friends list) like I asked them to in a nasty email 6 months ago. Win.

        I'll also toss in another vote for Sonic Living. I get that through RSS and it's decent. But then again, the idea of having a myspace account deeply disgusts me, even if it's just for the RSS.

  12. vordark says:

    I thought bands had started doing the whole put a calendar file or feed on our official site with tour/event info on it. Weird if they haven't.

  13. Facebook doesn't index iLike artist pages in it's main search. Only Facebook Pages for bands show up in the main Facebook search, if the band bothered to have a FB Pages band page.

    Try adding the iLike application on Facebook and using the iLike search box - not the Facebook search box, but the iLike one. You'll find most bands, because iLike automatically generates band pages even when the band hasn't stepped in to claim and manage it yet, and iLike aggregates concert information to the profile automatically and via user-input as well. Once you find the band you want, you can hit "iLike" on the artist page in the iLike application to automatically receive notifications on Facebook about when your favourite bands are coming to your area.

    Disclaimer: I work for iLike (this is my personal LJ account though, not a company one).

    • the ilike application is okay, but facebook's main band thing is still inaccessible this way, and it's (dubiously) kinda important. honestly most bands that i know (mine included) are having to do things like use myspace to spread on to facebook, which is ridiculous.

  14. swngnmonk says:

    The UI is a little clunky, but check out beethere.net - registering makes it possible to upload a playlist to drive your filters.

    And yes, I am biased - the creator is a friend of mine.

  15. jered says:

    I just found this site, Tourfilter; can't tell it's level of suck yet, but it might help.