GigsGuide started as "the love child of Spotify and Skyscanner", a service that helps music lovers find great concerts to attend wherever they travel and to book trips to see their favourite bands.
But what good is a site helping you discover live music when you travel if you can't go anywhere and all the gigs are cancelled?
So we decided that if we can't help people go to the music, we'll help the music come to the people!
We want to offer to people stuck at home an opportunity to use this time in quarantine to discover new artists to love, while also helping artists reach new audiences and get support during these difficult times.
And hopefully, very soon we'll be able to go back to helping people book trips to go see their new favourite artists.
What it does
At the core of the GigsGuide platform is a set of tools that gather huge quantities of event data, cleans it up and enhances it with details about venues and performers. The data is then used on our web-app to automatically match users to the events that best match their taste.
We have now adapted this toolkit and the web-app to deal with online events. For instance, we now show the events time both in UTC and in the user's local time (for registered users). We also notify users if any of the artists they follow is planning a live streaming event.
How I built it
The entire stack is built from scratch using a combination of Node.js, React, MongoDB and Python.
Challenges I ran into
The virtual concert listings is our attempt to support live music in this crucial moment, but it's something we do completely for free while our main source of income has disappeared.
The other main problem is that everybody jumped on streaming at the same time, so the whole thing is very chaotic and hard to keep track of who is playing when and on which platform, as most artists don't provide much notice or details about their plans.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Since we launched what we call "Operation Paradise City" 3 weeks ago, we have listed over 1000 live streaming events in all sorts of genres and from all over the world. Our "virtual" concert listing effort has been mentioned on the BBC website, The Guardian and Forbes among others (see here for more details).
Furthermore, all the work we put in the past in building the platform and all the automation has meant that we have been able to maintain one of the most extensive overviews of live streaming events with a team of just 2 people.
What I learned
We learned quite a lot of things about how to present events that don't have a physical location and went through a number of iterations to make the site more useful and accessible for both users and artists.
We have also witnessed how there is a lot of goodwill and great initiatives out there, but everyone seems to be running their own race and often don't really know how to promote them effectively beyond their existing group of followers (basic things like announcing events with a bit of advance notice or listing the timezone in which the event takes place).
Furthermore, particularly need among artists for guidance on how to manage their live streaming efforts and make sure they help them generate some revenue, either directly (which is, however, harder for the less established one) or through merch sales or even donations.
What's next for GigsGuide Live
For the live streaming part, we want to create tools for artists to plan their events better and to make it easy for fans to know how they can support the artists they watch.
We are also preparing for the post-Corona time when there will be a need for advanced solutions to promote live events and help bring more people to them so that both venues and artists can make up - at least in part - for the lost incomes of these last weeks. As part of this effort, we are going to work closely with our partners among Club Associations and Tourism promotion agencies.
Try It out
mongodb, node.js, react