Beatguide's guide to electronic music events combines event metadata with listening.

Event listings you can play: Beatguide’s guide to electronic music events combines event metadata with listening.

If it’s music events, what your calendar really needs is a play button.

A funny thing happened on the way to the online music world. Roughly a century after the music recording revolution, we’re all newly concerned with getting into venues with other human beings.

The problem is – and there’s no nice way to say this – the tools out there just aren’t very good. Facebook’s popularity is unquestionable, to be sure, but it still doesn’t cater to music needs with its event listings. And beyond that, there’s a scattered landscape of different tools, none of which seems to answer basic needs.

Beatguide is just getting started this week, but it seems to have hit upon a nice combination. Focused on electronic music events, the formula is simple. Start with a city (Beatguide launches with Berlin), then see events by date, cost, and genre.

Then, you get the difference: you can listen to any of the events. After all, what ultimately determines if you want to go to a music event is what the music sounds like. (That should be painfully obvious, but that makes it all the more frustrating how many sites have gotten it wrong.)

It’s also telling that this is a music startup in Berlin. SoundCloud’s shadow looms large over the endlessly-hyped tech scene in the German capital, suggesting that this isn’t so much the best tech center in Europe so much as it is a good place to start a creative company. Accordingly, local tech blog Silicon Allee picks up the story with a nice profile.

Beatguide delivers event listings through a handy Web interface as well as a mobile app. It’s a pleasure scoping out music events just by listening to a feed. The music, for its part, comes from SoundCloud artist listings – another reason those SoundCloud accounts turn out to be a must for musicians. Obviously, this service’s relevance is limited to geography, though that itself is an appeal (especially for those of us receiving hundreds of event listings each month on Facebook for cities we can’t reach). But the founders promise other cities in the near future, following Berlin. Event submission at the moment is primitive: there’s an email address for the moment. But with easy sorting and music listening, I’d say this already bests rival Resident Advisor for listings. (I still wholeheartedly endorse Resident Advisor for its great editorial content, but I find I’ve spent less and less time with its calendar.)

To me, though, the story is a bit deeper than the particular implementation. So much of the focus on streaming has been whether artists can get revenue from it. As that answer continues to be a depressing, resounding “no,” it seems to me that a more significant question is whether it can get warm bodies to live events.

In a (very non-electronic) genre, the excellent American public radio show Mountain Stage ends each program by imploring listeners to go out and see a live show in their neighborhood. It seems the proper message for any “stream,” whether by radio or Internet.

Add a “play button” to the calendar is a good start.

Check out Beatguide if you’re in Berlin, visiting, or curious:

Beatguide’s Brendon Blackwell tells us a bit more about what to expect in coming days:

Tomorrow or the next day we will have the form up for people to add events.

We always thought it was strange that the promotion of events never included the music, so that’s where it began.

We will also be releasing a widget very soon, which can be placed on Facebook or other blogs which will allow people to see the details of events and play the music from the page it is shared.

All you will to do is share the url of an event and player will load in.

Sounds good. Having watched the early genesis of SoundCloud before it blew up, I really wish this service the best – as I’d like to use it myself, as artist and listener alike.

Oh, and impressively, it’s already working for an event I’m playing a week from Saturday: