Thursday, February 7, 2013

Timbre, A Music App That Finds Concerts Nearby


Image: Flickr user marfis75
Music services often try to pack a lot of features into tiny apps, from social discovery (Spotify) to ticketing (Songkick) to streaming radio (Pandora).

By comparison, Timbre feels shockingly spartan.

The iPhone app, which officially launches internationally today, uses your location to feed you a list of bands who are playing within a 10-mile radius, starting with acts happening that day. Tap any band or artist name on the list and Timbre immediately begins playing 30-second song samples from iTunes. Like what you hear? Tap once more and Timbre will send you toSeatGeek, where you can purchase a ticket.

The only settings you can control within Timbre are the app's search radius and a couple of basic audio controls. You can't sort by genre or price, and you can't see nearby venues on a map. All you can do is choose a band name and listen to the sounds that come out on the other end.

"We want you to broaden your horizons and not listen to just jazz or just punk rock," says CEO Mark Kasdorf. "We want you to listen to what’s happening around the corner."

That's not to say Timbre will always feel so stripped-down. Kasdorf teases that Timbre is going to "dramatically expand" in the next six months, not only with new partners such as the Internet's resident musical brain the Echo Nest, but also with new features Timbre "just hasn't quite figured out yet." Two features on Kasdorf's mind: Maps that let you see which music venues are nearby; and a geofencing feature that could enable Timbre to react to your location. For example, if you were near bar where a band on Timbre was performing, the app could automatically start playing one of the band's songs as you walked by. Kasdorf has shelved that particular feature for now, calling it "kind of hokey."

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