As my colleague Denise Lu noted in her round-up of concert apps, finding tickets for live music has become a high-tech affair. My own experiences in that area have left me thoroughly scanned, scrobbled, and notified. While personalized concert recommendations can be helpful, there’s still always a risk I’ll miss a great show.
That’s where Timbre (free, iOS), from Intrepid Pursuits, comes in. There is no option to link to another account, and you can’t personalize your profile or scan your library — after all, plenty of other apps already do that. No, the beauty of Timbre is in its simplicity. When I want to find a live music venue, it doesn’t try to analyze me — it just starts to play some music. If a great band is playing near me, I’ll know it when I hear it, because Timbre works by letting the user hear what the artists slated to play in their area sounds like.
While its sleek design is attractive, it also serves as a reminder that this minimalist app was designed to be heard as much as seen. The main screen (right) scrolls through a list of artists playing around you. Tap an artist, and their music starts playing right away. Swipe left for the next artist, and with them, some new music. If you like what you hear, one tap sends you off to Ticketmaster.
Timbre even works in the background: Just let the music play, and use the iPhone’s built-in music controls to skip songs until you find something you want to see.
The goal behind Timbre is simple enough: Connect listeners to new music, and connect artists to new fans. But it’s clear that the geeks at Intrepid Pursuits have put a lot of thought into shrinking the distance between a free Saturday night and your next favorite live band.
Is Timbre easy to use? The easiest. And is it useful? In my opinion, it’s rapidly becoming essential. While other apps filter and narrow results based on my history, Timbre leaves nothing out, and that’s great for finding what I like — and not simply what I know.