Tour Tracker taking on Pollstar's dominance

Online concert databases, once the singular domain of trade publication Pollstar, are getting some competition as AOL starts tracking tours and Live Nation ramps up its Web-based information efforts.

AOL Music unveiled Tour Tracker on July 24, a free Web service that lists acts, venues and concert dates. While Pollstar offers global listings and Live Nation is assembling a similar database as it goes into the ticketing business next year, AOL is positioning its database as another social network springboard.

“The live-music fan has different behavior than the person who is interested in sitting around listening to music, consuming music online,” says AOL Music VP Bill Crandall.

“There’s nothing exciting (among other databases) for the fan. The music business has not captured the concertgoer (with a Web environment). What is a hot tour, for example? The ones that gross the most — that’s a business story. But the shows that people are talking about the most and clicking on information about are how we will define a hot tour.”

The site, TourTracker.com, was in a beta state up until July 24 when it went live. Jam Base will provide the site with its concert listings, and American Express is co-sponsoring the site’s launch.

The goals are to connect with multiple information sources as well as attract users who will post comments, quite possibly while at shows.

“The quest is the same as it was when we created Spinner: create a site for the passionate music fan and not the people who are into the popular culture of music,” Crandall says, noting the hope is to have a community of people going to Tour Tracker to answer the question, “Who is playing in my city tonight?” “It is a very simple, data-driven site.”

Live Nation’s website, meanwhile, is a “work in progress,” according to a company spokesman, and “will continue to evolve.” Goal is for LiveNation.com to be a complete list of live music venues throughout the country, including the sites that have no relationship with the promoter.

The Live Nation site links with ticket vendors such as Ticketmaster. Company, which recently started allowing venue operators to post their own listings, will start selling tickets in January, which will become the major revenue producer at the website.

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