In last week’s roundup of apps that help you find the best shows, we lamented the fact that Songkick didn’t have a mobile app. The Britain-based service is in a league of its own when it comes to telling you who’s playing where and when, based on your own music collection. Instead, fans can access it on their iPhones using Gigkick, a third-party app that uses Songkick’s API — the closest anyone could get to the true Songkick experience, until today.
Songkick launched its own iPhone app on Wednesday. Having tested it for a few days already, we’re happy to report that our experience with the app has been overwhelmingly positive. Songkick for iPhone (free) combines all of the information and access points, including ticketing links, from Songkick’s web version, but its slick interface arguably gives the mobile app a better look, feel, and navigational elements than you’ll find on the web version.
Long story short: If you enjoy live music and have an iPhone, installing this app is practically a no-brainer, especially because it’s free.
The Songkick app makes it easy to search for concerts by location, artist, or date. Its developers know that you don’t always look for concerts in the same location, so they’ve made it easier to track multiple locations and switch from one city to the next for when you’re on the move. And thanks the the app’s push notification feature, if one of your favorite bands announces a show for your location, you’ll be (among) the first to know.
Otherwise, we spotted only a few differences between the mobile app and the web version. The first thing you see is a list of newly announced concerts for your favorite artists or venues, with tabs for concerts, location, and artists. The concerts tab is a bit stagnant, because it lists your favorite artists with upcoming shows in your designated locations, while the more dynamic locations tab displays every show in the city (or cities) of your choice.
Here’s where the app gets clever. Casual users can fill out their artist tab by simply syncing with their iPhone’s music collection. But in addition, anybody with a free Songkick.com account can track every artist in their iTunes library, Pandora favorites, and Last.fm top artists — and all of that stuff carries over to the app version. It’s also easy to add artists manually by tapping the plus sign in the artists tab and entering their names, if you want to track an artist that’s missing from those collections.
The app’s only downside, really, is that you have to scroll alphabetically through your whole artist list to find a specific artist. Fans with expansive lists (for example, I follow roughly 800 artists on Songkick) will have to spend a lot of time thumbing through bands before they get to ZZ Top’s touring schedule.
This is a minor quibble, however, and the app has many other ways of presenting you with these shows, like the location filter. Overall, we just found our favorite concert listing app for the iPhone.