Sunday, October 28, 2007

Live Concerts On Your Tablet

One of the things that I have always found interesting when talking to other tablet users is that everyone seems to have found different things that they like to use the tablet for that no one else had thought of. So, in that spirit, I'm hoping to maybe show you something you've never tried before.

As a huge fan of The Smashing Pumpkins, I was quite happy to hear that they were reforming after seven years apart. I remember the excitement among the fanbase as they awaited the first live show about five months ago. Within hours of the performance, bootlegs of the new show were easily available. Generally, bands don't want bootlegs of their concerts being available, but not long after this first show, the management for the Pumpkins announced that they will allow all shows to be taped from now on. The band then gave their approval to's Live Music Archive to host any and all bootleg Pumpkins shows.

The Live Music Archive is truely a treasure trove for live music lovers. Thousands upon thousands of bands have their performances archived there. Not only that, but the tablet handles the site extremely well too.

So what can we do with the Live Music Archive on our tablets?

Each show in the archive has a simple streaming Flash player at the top of the page for just quickly and easily listening to a show. I don't know about you, but having to keep a web browser open just to listen to music is a bit of a pain. First off, Flash will simply stop playing the song if your tablet's screen dims. Also, it's easy to forget that the music is coming from the browser, so closing it by accident kills your fun.

Each concert in the archive also has streaming links as you can see in the above picture on the left side. You can stream in 64kbps or in VBR by clicking on the "64Kbps M3U" and "VBR M3U" links respectively. The M3U links will open up in Media Player when clicked which will add the entire show to your playlist and begin streaming immediately. No more needing to have a browser open to listen to the show.

What if you're not going to have a steady connection available or streaming just isn't feasable for you (slow phone connection)? You can directly download the entire set of songs one by one a little ways below the Flash player... but that's a bit annoying. Instead, you can download the ZIP packages listed below the M3U links. After installing the unzip package, you should be able to then decompress the ZIP file from the File Manager and listen away in your music player of choice.

Also, each band listed in the Live Music Archive has an RSS feed associated with it. You can use the tablet's RSS feed reader to find out when new shows have been posted to the archive.

My morning routine consists of checking the RSS feed to see if last night's big Pumpkins show has shown up in the archive yet, downloading and decompressing the 64kbps ZIP and listening to it on my way to work in the morning. All on my tablet without needing to sit at my desktop computer.

And that's one of the ways I use my tablet.