PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


'Band on Tour' Is an iOS App Developed by Musicians to Help Book Shows

While going to individual venue websites and finding booking information was usually a hassle before the advent of mobile apps, searching for that same information took less time than using this particular app.

Band on Tour

Publisher: iTunes
Price: $2.99
Developer: Davide Cardea
Platform: iOS
Release Date: 2014-08-29

Full disclosure: I've never been on a nationwide tour. Most of the bands I played in throughout high school were avenues for friends and me to come up with increasingly ridiculous band names. We would eschew playing music for sitting in someone's basement and playing Madlibs. Each person received a part of speech and, on the count of three, yelled out the word that came to mind. Fat Jesus Running on Water was the most embarrassing name we were known by for any period of time, but I digress. Having been on my fair share of press lists at concerts, however, I can attest to the annoyance of dealing with people who you need something from but who are uninterested in your presence. I assume booking shows means dealing with these people for the sake of your livelihood, a terrifying proposition.

Band on Tour, an iOS app developed by musicians to help alleviate the stress of booking shows by aggregating contact information for venues around the world, attempts to become a must-have for bands on the go. But the success of the app relies primarily on two factors, whether or not the information is accurate and how easy it is to use the app. Band on Tour shows flaws in both of these aspects.

The first thing that you'll notice upon paying for and downloading the app is the amount of clutter on the screen at any time. This is driven largely by the near-persistent banner ad on the page, which appears above the menu system that is locked to the bottom of the screen. It's difficult to see the menu, and not wanting to click on errant ads, it took me some time to realize that the navigation was even actionable. There's a Store button in the menu that both looks like an ad and seems out of place on an app that you've already paid for. This points at one of the major problems for Band on Tour. This is not an altruistic product released by a frustrated group of musicians. It's designed to make money. That there is a $3 add-on in the Store to make the app advertisement-free feels subversive and backhanded.

The map feature, which allows you to browse venues, is tough to use. When zoomed out, the map shows a counter over regions that displays the number of venues in the area. While it's a nice feature, the amount of times that you have to click and zoom in before being able to select a venue is prohibitive. Worse still, when you are zoomed in enough to be able to select a venue, the icon that you select is universally displayed as a star. If you don't know the exact location of a venue, you'll have to click through many of these icons before you arrive at the location that you're looking for. If the functionality of the app is to make out-of-town booking simple, this feature fails to be effective.

Perhaps most problematically, doing a cursory check of contact information in the app showed a few discrepancies with information available online. After checking for information on the venue websites as well as on services similar to Band on Tour, contact information was frequently different on the app. It seems unlikely that the app would have insider contact information at locations across the country, calling into question the accuracy of the emails and phone numbers available to bands.

Band on Tour is a good idea executed haphazardly. I wasn't able to actually book shows, so using the app to manage my tour -- potentially a selling point for bands -- was something I couldn't do. Regardless, simply working with the app proved challenging and less intuitive than going to Google and searching for "[venue name] booking information". And that's the real problem. While going to individual venue websites and finding booking information was usually a hassle, searching for that same information took less time than using the app. If you don't have any leads on venues in a city, Band on Tour can act as a good resource to find potential places to play, but if you have even a cursory knowledge of the venues in a city, it seems easier to Google for this information than work through the app's clunky interface.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.


The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.


15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.


'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.