LiveHouse Media hopes to evolve the online concert space with iRocke, which indexes the over 2,000 live music shows it says are happening on the interwebs each month, so you can watch from the comfort of your web browser, smartphone, or tablet — sometimes for free, or sometimes for a fee.
This directory has the somewhat questionable name iRocke (“Iraqi?” “Ay Rock E?” What was wrong with “Livehouse?”), but its design is top-notch, and it indexes everything from random bands you’ve never heard of before to more known artists like Florence and the Machine, playing everywhere from the Morning Becomes Eclectic studio to Austin City Limits.
We’ve seen others (remember NowHound?) attempt this, but nobody has nailed it yet. Part of the challenge is that most people don’t want to see just any live music — they want to see their favorite bands. To that end, the company lets you tweet or Facebook your friends as you add a show to your iRocke calendar, and encourages bands to do so too, which is how we feel like a lot of people will find out about these shows.
In our testing of the beta today, iRocke still had some kinks to work out — the Kongos show supposedly happening right now wouldn’t play, and the Daytrotter session for Pretty and Nice that iRocke says is happening right now doesn’t appear to be on. Still, other shows worked, and we were able to see how the site works: by accepting submissions and adding shows to its directory manually, then giving music fans a wide range of tools (calendars, payment mechanisms, sharing to friends, reviews, ratings, links to the artists’ pages, friend following, genre-based browsing, and so on) with which to find them.
When it comes time to watch a show, iRocke jettisons you to the official source of the show (including Concert Window and thousands of other “venues”), if that’s the only place where it is happening — or, if not, it embeds the show on an iRocke page so you can rate it and leave comments along with other iRocke users.