• Introducing Concert Club

    24 May 2013
    Concert Club

    Today, I’m excited to announce the launch of Concert Club – a prototype previously referred to on this site as Detling.

    Concert Club is a prototype site I built with Caper, in a project funded by the Technology Strategy Board and supported by BBC Radio 3.

    The brief we responded to was to ‘bring the live music experience home‘ for listeners who couldn’t attend concerts. For us, the live experience of classical music is something experienced in quiet reflection: it’s complex, and demands a lot of your brain. It’s not like sport; you don’t tweet halfway through a Mahler symphony about how great the wind are.

    But it’s still a very social experience: planning what to see, inviting friends, discussing it afterwards. So how could we share that feeling?

    We’ve come to explain Concert Club as book groups for classical music. The book group is a great model: a way of friends engaging with culture they otherwise might not; taking it in turns to take the lead about where the group will go next; discussing a complex work after the fact. It feels like what many people do after a concert, too – and so Concert Club provides a tool to facilitate that model for live classical music concerts on Radio 3.

    Concert Club: Listings

    First, it provides a window onto Radio 3’s upcoming Live In Concert listings, letting you see concerts that are on iPlayer or coming shortly. You can invite friends to listen through the site – and once you’ve created a listening group (or accepted an invite) you’ll be reminded when the concert comes onto iPlayer, and just before it leaves. And once you’re listening, you can share that fact with the world on Twitter.

    We haven’t built any discussion facility, quite deliberately – maybe you’ll want to talk about the concert on Facebook; maybe you’ll want to talk about it at someone’s house over a cup of tea, or in the pub. That facility already exists, so why rebuild it? But then, when you want to schedule something to listen to, or discover new music: Concert Club is there.

    Concert Club: Guides

    And if classical music is all a bit daunting, the site also features editorial guides that provide thematics ways in to the Live In Concert catalogue. We’re really keen that these reflect a somewhat different tone to the Radio 3 website, bridging classical music to culture listeners might already be more familiar with. And because the concerts available are always shifting, so are the “relevant concerts” linked from these guides.

    It’s an early prototype built swiftly, but it has a first pass at a “complete loop” of interaction: discovery, invitation, listening, sharing. It’s live for two months, for now, and it’s going to be interesting to see how people use it. Even in this state, it’s already got all of us in the team listening to concerts far more.

    And it was a pleasure to work on: Caper built a great team (hat tips to Dean, Audrey, and Tim, along with Rachel and Sophie from Caper) and in a tight build cycle I think we built something somewhat unusual, a little provocative, and with real scope to grow.

    It’s live for a few months, and we’re interested in feedback from real users. It’ll be interesting to see what grows from it.