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gigulate – blog

January 24, 2010

Widgets and a lick of paint

Filed under: api, customisation, gigs, music news — Tags: — John Martin @ 11:31 am

Widget powered by Gigulate

Hello folks!

I would like to introduce our brand-new release, Gigulate Widgets.

With Widgets we’ve tried to make it super simple for anyone to take music news or gigs and make a super simple Flash widget to embed into pretty much anything.

So whether you want a widget showing the latest Vampire Weekend news or the most important gigs in your area, for example: London, it’s super easy. What’s more, Gigulate’s widgets are fully customisable and super-smart.

(You’ll notice that I’ve dropped an example Nine Inch Nails news widget into the page just to give you a taster)

Also, you may recently have noticed the look and feel of Gigulate gradually changing. That’s because we’ve been updating the design. It’s Gigulate 1.6 – part of our ongoing process to improve and tweak the experience.

We’d love your feedback on both the new design, and our new widgets. Try them out for yourself in the new Gigulate Widgets section.

Pip pip!

John.

August 12, 2009

Personalisation – Your own Gigulate.

Filed under: adobe air, customisation, dashboard, gigulate, introducing, personalisation, twitter, watchlist — John Martin @ 6:02 am

Personalisation screenshot

Today we at Gigulate are very excited to announce the next major Gigulate release: Personalisation.

What does this mean?

There are a bunch of new features, all focused around making the Gigulate experience work specifically for your own music tastes.

My Dashboard

Once registered on Gigulate, this is your go-to place for music news and gigs. It’s all personalised exactly for you: stick Artist names into your own Watchlist (I’ll explain that in a bit), and Gigulate will track them for you.

Everything on the dashboard is automagically filtered to be exactly what you want. No News stories or Gig recommendations about artists you don’t care about.

Watchlist

This is the place you visit to tell us what the most important artists are in your life, so Gigulate can give you a personal experience. But don’t worry: it won’t take you long to get your watchlist full of artists that you care about. Here’s why:

  1. Quick Add – Stick an artist you want to hear about in the quick add box and you’re away. It’s the old fashioned way of filling up your watchlist. But if you only want to track say, 10 artists it’s perfect.
  2. Site Importer – Already got a profile on another music website? Then use the Gigulate Site Importer to quickly add all your artists. At the moment we offer support for: Last.fm, Myspace, iLike, Soundcloud and Pandora. We’ll be adding support for loads of other music sites soon. So check back here (on the blog) for updates.
  3. Music Scanner – Got a local music collection on a computer? This simple app allows you to quickly scan your mp3 or aac folders for artists and sync them with your watchlist.
    Find out more

Twitter alerts

For some this is an added bonus, for others, it’s going to be really useful. We’re announcing our Twitter alerts service. It takes about 30 seconds to get it working, simply follow @GigulateAlerts and get direct messages about the artists you care about, so you can be in the know about the music news you care about as soon as it breaks. And don’t worry about the size of your watchlist, you can manage it seperately, either from Gigulate.com, or directly using commands such as ADD, REMOVE and LIST through Twitter. Find out more

We really hope you like these new features, we’ve had great fun building them.

If you spot any bugs or would like to leave feedback leave a comment on this blog post or @ me on twitter: @johnmartin

July 8, 2009

Music Hackday

Filed under: api, datasets, gigulate, hackers, london, music industry, music news, team — John Martin @ 2:42 pm

Music Hackday logo

Wow… it’s been a busy few months since we last posted (we’ve been readying our next big release – more on that soon). Coming this weekend is Music Hackday (11th – 12th July 2009 @ Guardian Offices in Kings Cross, London), we’ll be hosting our APIs along with Last FM, Echo Nest, SoundCloud & Songkick. Personally,  I’m excited about the midnight code session that’s going to mean a heinous Red Bull and coffee cocktail.

Sadly all the developer positions are now full, but if you’d like to come down on the Sunday and see the hack presentations in the afternoon you can still register.

If you’re coming along for the weekend or the presentations, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to any of us Gigulate humans (Hackers – do grab a Gigulate API key). Bring on the hacking.

John

April 21, 2009

Attention hackers: time for our API.

Filed under: api, datasets, free music, gigulate, hackers, music blogs, music news, tickets — Ben @ 12:57 am

A blueprint of a massive state diagram. It's not real don't worry.

We said it would happen, today it did. Gigulate is launching Music API 1.0.

It’s our first step towards creating a truly valuable API for Music News, Music Blogs and (in the UK, for now) tour dates and concert tickets.  We know it’s going to be great fun to develop with. Essentially it’s going to expose the masses of data that we aggregate every moment of the day, we’ve already built Gigulate Charts on it, so we know it’s hack magique.

If you want in, we’re going to restrict access for a bit, so you’ll need to fill out our little form and we’ll be in touch:

http://gigulate.com/api

Here in London, a bunch of us will be going to http://musichackday.org/  in a few weeks. If you don’t get hold of an API key before then, make sure you come to that so you can have unparalleled access to the biggest database of music news, blogs ever and so many tour dates you’ll be hacking faster than you can say Alan Turing (ok… Linus Torvalds).

We can’t wait to see what you might find it all useful for.

Ben
x

(Confused? What’s an API?)

February 25, 2009

Brrrap. Open Up.

Filed under: charts & graphs, concert, concerts, music blogs, music news, tickets — Ben @ 2:54 pm

Daft Punk

(Daft Punk at Arrow Hall at the International Centre in Toronto. By Aubrey Arenas)

It was just a matter of time.

We’d been working on some of the features ready to get our first proper iteration of Gigulate for a few weeks, so we opened Gigulate up so you could find out what the fuss is about.

So here’s what’s live on this release:

1. A News and Blogs index. Where you can browse all the world’s Music News as it should be, sorted. Or as a river of all the blog posts and news, as it comes in – second-by-second.

2. A Concert index. Pick a date, pick a band – it’s that easy. All the gigs are sorted so you get the most talked about bands on the web at the top of the list. We’re adding more concerts all the time but we’re already carrying regionalised listings (let us know if we aren’t covering your area) and the chance to buy tickets as late as the day of the gig.

3. Our highly-intelligent Artists and Bands index. Who are the most talked about artists in the world? How do I find my favourite artist? Use the Artists index to browse and pick it up. The list is ordered by hype.

4. Our Charts page. John’s worked hard on this. Find out how bands and artists rank against each other, add more bands to the chart or get a Daily, Weekly or Monthly view on the most discussed bands in the world. The Gigulator produces a chart of the hottest bands in the world – regardless of the somewhat arbitrary figure of downloads / CD sales. Ignore the release, this is the chart.

5. Enhanced Algorithms. Duncan’s constantly tweaking the methodology behind the Gigulator to make sure you get the juciest stuff, fastest. We’ll continue to work on this in the background to make sure that the Gigulate experience gets better and better.

Plus, power user tips: get RSS news, so you’ll never miss a thing about your favourite band, find out how your favourite blog or news source is doing or check out whats going on at your favourite (UK – for now) venue.

Gigulate – It’s the music web, sorted.

We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.

xx

January 14, 2009

Personalisation and Gigulate

Filed under: customisation, gigulate, personalisation — John Martin @ 8:20 am

Personalise

A while ago at the OpenMusicMedia Meet in December, I got into a discussion about personalisation and afterwards thought it useful to knock together a blog post to capture our thoughts on the subject.

Effort versus gain

Personalisation is very important to us, but we don’t think the traditional method of input is the most effective. Traditionally to personalise a website/application you have to input data or take relevant action to get useful information out.

A key example of this is Last.fm. In order to get the most out of it there is a certain amount of time and effort you have to dedicate to creating a profile and advancing the service. In my opinion it’s one of the most integral parts of Last.fm, without it they wouldn’t have a vibrant community.

But this wouldn’t work for us. We want to minimise the amount of time that a user has to spend consciously handing value back to Gigulate and maximise the gain from the minimum they have put in.

Passive Personalisation

Passive personalisation is personalisation that takes place under the hub of the service you are using. Google have been doing it for a while on their search results. E.g. you get different results if you are logged in than if you are logged out. It’s interesting enough, but ultimately an unsatisfying method for a user to personalise a service.

It’s all well and good telling a user that just by using a service you are personalising it. But without direct and immediate results showing a user how you are bettering the experience it’s difficult for a anybody to trust in a benevolent machine.

The Balance

For us at Gigulate it’s an important balancing act that will create the best personalisation experience. We’ll allow users to use as little time and effort possible, but it’s also provide quantitative and immediate results based on your input. We’re also keen to allow advanced users to really adjust the granularity of their experience. Whether that’s by importing their Last.fm/Facebook profile into Gigulate, inputing artists manually through an ajaxy input box or taking a mix of all of those tools and building them into a robust mix.

Be all and end all

For us… personalisation is important, but it’s not the be all and end all. We want to provide the best experience for everyone and you. But our music experts believe in Editorial: make the product work for everyone and make it work for your tastes/needs as well. Over the coming months we’ll be releasing features that will help everyone get the best out of Gigulate.

January 5, 2009

Out of my head and out of my self control…

Filed under: concert, gigs, gigulate, music blogs, music news — Ben @ 11:36 pm

 Albums

A Happy New Year then. It’s cold in London.

After a season of excess, we’re all making resolutions: eat-less/eat-more drink-less/drink more, go to more concerts/go to better gigs, discover new music/rediscover old bands.

Here at Gigulate we’ve taken a quiet (read:poor) Christmas to get everything in order, we have elected to skip the hedonism and debauchery for a few weeks to start the detox early, fix up the Gigulator’s innards and make it super-reliable for the volume of juicy information it’s going to be sifting and sorting. Scouring all the world’s music news, blogs and local concert listings requires a fair old amount of power, and that’s before the Gigulator has even started to sort it meaningfully, so we knew we’d need some serious power to prevent a fail whale.

So that’s just what we’re going to promise in 2009, if you’ll bear with us for a few weeks <perhaps take this valuable time to enthuse to close friends and relatives about what the Gigulator is going to provide for you, every minute of the day <ahem>). Here’s a summary for the uninitiated:

1. The fastest meaningful snapshot of the music world with relevant, valuable concert listings in your area. So you can get up to speed on the music scene, or find gigs everybody is talking about in a few seconds.

2. An archive for every Artist and music source that matters, from across the web. What are they doing? Where are they? Where are they playing next? Who are they playing with? Who is discussing them?

3. Something you can rely on. Gigulate isn’t designed to replace your favourite music website. But it’ll always be here – churning through, ready for you to visit first in order to make subsequent visits to other places more valuable.

4. Informed and informative. Gigulate has been developed by passionate music fans, experienced journalists and industry experts to be an independent, unbiased experience built on the coolest web technology.

Oh, there’s much much more than that. We’ll be in touch soon.

Become a fan at Facebook, or drop our RSS into your favourite reader to stay up to date. We’ve a group going too, and we’re working on Twitter if you’re really keen or a bit of a Twit.  Wish us luck.

xx

November 18, 2008

I woke up and I can’t get that trumpet out of my head.

Filed under: concert, gigs, gigulate, music news, who we are — Ben @ 4:22 pm

Lykke Li with a Megaphone

(Lykke Li by ToastyKen used under CreativeCommons)

News. News. News. What’s that all about?

It’s how we keep in touch with our artists. All of us know that we enjoy keeping up to date with information about our favourite artists just as much as we need to discover new ones. That’s what Gigulate is all about. We’re obsessed with all kinds of music information. You’ll be able to find out what your artists have been up to, and News is just the start of it. The Gigulator’s going to start crunching up all sorts of juicy snax that will make sure you’re more informed about your artists than you’ve ever been before.

We’re putting some extra effort in to make sure everything works really smart before we let the riff-raff in. We’ve decided to invest in some super-clever technology that will give us the chance to really blow each other’s mind in 2009. Do keep us posted with things we can fix and keep up the great ideas – it won’t be long, now.

Until then, here’s five stories from the last week that we discovered first on Gigulate.

Coldplay, Chris Martin hints at imminent retirement – Contactmusic

Sheikh felt ‘betrayed’ by Michael Jackson – Yahoo Music UK

Lykke Li announces brand new American tour dates – Pitchfork

Jimi Hendrix’s drummer, Mitch Mitchell found dead – NME

Kanye West denies assaulting photographer – People

More updates from us, soon.

xx

November 3, 2008

Info-graphika

Filed under: charts & graphs, datasets, gigulate, music news — John Martin @ 3:24 pm

The Gigulate Beta badge

Firstly let me introduce myself. I’m John Martin, resident design monkey (or Chief Creative Officer – my official title) here at Gigulate. Firstly I would like to thank all the people that came along to our mini Gigulate Beta launch party. Thank you. We all know you really came for the free badges anyway.  I thought I’d talk about some of the visual styles of the Gigulate beta and some of the key theories behind the design.

The source graph
Fig 1. News Volume in the last 7 days

The main over-arching visual of Gigulate is displaying data in the most simple and easy to use manner. Whether it’s the mini bar charts on our source pages (see Figure 1) or the simple artist graphics that display artist popularity (see Figure 2). It’s all designed to ensure that you’re getting the richest dataset in the simplest way. Don’t get me wrong, I love intricate diagrams that display complex data. Like the number of uses of Comic Sans on the internet plotted against the use of Microsoft Word as a HTML publishing platform (the correlation between these two are dangerously high).


Fig 2. Artist infographic

However for every bit of data you put in an infographic the more obfuscated the original intention becomes. It’s a very hard thing to have to pull back on some of the really exciting data that we have flying around the Gigulator and think of the most useful way of displaying that dataset. I feel we are beginning to really get our data together now. It’s become 2nd nature for me to trawl through the Gigulator logs and start seeing interesting charts that could be valuable on the site. The key is to not get too carried away, stop and consider whether a user would find that venn diagram useful.

We’ve done a lot of research on what’s the best way for people to consume the information that we are outputting on pages. We feel like we are approaching the ideal solution. It’s a happy medium between sparklines next to every artist mention and just dumping the tablature data on every page.

Right, I’ve rambled on for too long now. Cheerie-bye-balls.John

October 13, 2008

What’s new?

Filed under: beer, free music, gigulate, introducing, london, music industry, pub — Ben @ 3:07 pm

Beer Taps

Heck! Spend five minutes reading the news this week and you’d be forgiven for thinking the world is falling apart… Big deal!  Just make sure you’ve a few bob in your pocket to join us for launchy beers. Yep, Gigulate is so so very close to our first iteration (more of which at the weekend) that the three of us are starting to steam a bit – and the only thing that’ll cool us down is soggy weather and nice draught London beer. From a pub.

So what’s the plan? Erm, pass. All you have to do, is drop your email address in to Gigulate.com and we’ll email you with details of which central London pub we’ll be at on the evening of Thursday October 30th. All are welcome, though we’re operating a strict ‘Geeks Only’ policy on the door, which requires you to be particularly spoddy about something we love – Music, Tech, Robots, Monkeys, Um-bongo – the usual. To get in.  Do it now, we’d probably love to see you.

Oh yeah, if you drop your details in you’ll also get into the first round of invites to Gigulate proper.  Small bonus.

x

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