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The GPS Revolution And The Digital Music Fan

Skimming through the latest edition of Wired Magazine, it took me Inside The GPS Revolution, and things became apparent to me quite quickly about how this could be applied to the live music sector. The key article is called I Am Here: One Man's Experiment With the Location-Aware Lifestyle, where writer Mathew Honan decides to become a 'geo-guinea pig' for three weeks by loading every cool and interesting location-aware program he could find into his iPhone and use them as often as possible. His explorations instantly triggered a few ideas of what this could mean to music fans alike and how it could shape the average concert goers experience.

  • This first application that Honan encountered, WhosHere, he found baffling. It’s an iPhone app that knows where you are, shows you other users nearby, and lets you chat with them. The first instance that played out in my head is when you show up to a show early, there's a long line, nothing to do, and depending on how diehard of a fan you are—its likely to be a long wait. What better way to pass the time than to get to know some fellow concert goers? Of course, this isn't limited to fans; artists could chime into this social circle and pump up the fans after sound check or arrange secret contests….
  • Another technological advancement that I found intriguing was his ability to add an Eye-Fi Wi-Fi card to his PowerShot digital camera so that all his photos could be geotagged and uploaded to the Web. Therefore, if you saw someone at a concert taking a photo with a 3G Phone, because the phone embeds geodata into photos, when that user uploads them to Flickr or Picasa, those shots are automatically placed on a map. In other words, when you got home that night from the show, if some of your pictures were blurry, you could find the other shots that were taken.
  • One of his favorite applications was Twinkle, “a Twitter widget that lets you see posts from users in your area, even if you don't subscribe to their feeds.” Whether you were waiting outside or standing around during a set changeover, this would serve the same great purpose of talking to those around you. Another interesting aspect would be to project this on the screen, but like most good things, it would be abused. Nonetheless, I think this introduces interesting ways to make shows more interactive for fans.

    "The location-aware future—good, bad, and sleazy—is here.” Matt continues, “Thanks to the iPhone 3G and, to a lesser extent, Google's Android phone, millions of people are now walking around with a gizmo in their pocket that not only knows where they are but also plugs into the Internet to share that info, merge it with online databases, and find out what—and who—is in the immediate vicinity.” All this information creates another curious scenario for people to explore, if indeed the braver social net workers haven't already done it.

  • There's been many times throughout the years, where a show date came up, but despite my best efforts, I couldn't convince anyone to go to the concert. But, through Facebook,, or iLike, over time they might introduce 'Transparent Compatibility Settings' where in a situation like that, if you are set as attending the show and no one to go with, they would essentially 'ping you' with other users that have the similar song and social-graphs. After some conversation and breaking the ice, what's really preventing you from considering to meet up outside the show and going together? At first thought, this seems just short of creepy, but music runs deep with people and this could be an opportunity to meet someone else within your ‘tribe.’ – by Kyle Bylin, Associate Editor