The just launched Podbop provides another great example of how the net can democratize music discovery . Pop in your zip code and the site shows you bands coming to your area and provided you with free downloadable mp3's of the bands to check out. Grab a little RSS code and the mp3's will download to you automatically podcast-style when a band on the system hits your town. As they describe it:
- Old way: Looking up concerts in your town on an event site, googling 100 different bands, tracking down an MP3 for each band, and then deciding which show you want to go to.
- The Podbop way: Type in a city, get MP3s, discover a band you like, and go see them.
The site is a digital mashup of information driven by new calender and event listing site Eventful.com and unfortunately any events must be listed there first to come up in a search. (Wouldn't linking with a more complete concert database like Pollstar.com, MusicToday, or CelebrityAccess make more sense? Hey, Podbop guys, if you read this and want us to we'll try to hook you up.) And we suggest adding a kind of wide area search. Our zip code 20 miles outside of LA netted no listings.
But smart indy labels like Saddle Creek, Sub Pop, and Vagrant are already providing free downloads of more than 2300 songs by 1500 artists. So perhaps as more people get involved and more shows get listed, Podbop's potential can be achieved.