In any given city, especially New York, great music without the expense is a gift. My Free Concert serves as a resource for music goers interested in enjoying quality tunes without the cost via giveaway contests and information on free shows. The website uses Spotify, this year’s “it” music streaming website, to give listeners an opportunity to preview bands before heading out the door. Spotify’s music listening platform has become increasingly popular since its United States debut in summer 2011. Untapped Cities interviews co-founder, Andy Meyers who provides insight into My Free Concert’s utility and the novel usage of Spotify.
Untapped Cities: How and when did the idea for My Free Concert emerge?
My Free Concert: The idea came to me after I had already attended a few free events around the city that I had read about in a number of online portals. At first, I just told my friends where and when and if they needed to RSVP, but it got to a point where I just figured that I’d put whatever I found out there on a blog and just tell people to check that for the full scoop. I wanted to focus primarily on music and nightlife and by doing that I was able to dig a little deeper. It also made sense to me because it combined something that I thought was valuable for myself and others. Finding the free shows meant getting in to the free shows, so there was a tangible motivation there.
Untapped Cities: How has the website grown to be a resource for music and free events for New Yorkers?
My Free Concert: We’ve definitely grown through the help of social media and a strong word of mouth within the community. People find out about a free show and attend and then they tell others about how they heard about it and got in. We also try not to limit the genres we cover. A free show is a free show no matter what. We wanted to keep things simple, so we’ll rarely post anything more than $5, and not include a zillion links to a zillion different pages. I think that people like simply having tags like “Free Music” and “Free Booze” and a clickable button that will take you directly to an RSVP page along with a nice looking flyer.
Also, we’ve been able to partner with a number of companies to give away tickets very regularly, and that is always an excellent way to generate publicity and continue to grow. There’s also a great team of people besides myself who are working on this who all have a passion for live music, where a lot of our great ideas are actually generated.
Untapped Cities: My Free Concert uses Spotify on the website. Why did you look to Spotify as a music tool for your website?
My Free Concert: I’ve been a longtime supporter of Spotify and simply think that it is great for music discovery. You can essentially find out about a band playing a free show, head over to Spotify and give them a spin, and if you like it then go to the show. I think that they do it the best (and most legally anyway) and I am more than glad to support them. It’ll only get better now that they’ve introduced the apps aspect too.
Untapped Cities: In your opinion, how has Spotify changed the way music websites promote themselves?
My Free Concert: I think that we have most definitely reached a new era for promoting music. If I get to choose between 15 million songs available to me at all times on my phone or one CD which I need to buy and then burn on my computer and then import it into iTunes, I’d go with the 15 million. I can drag and drop a song I like directly into a friend’s inbox and we can go see them that same night. You can create playlists featuring only artists with numbers in their name. You can log on to a friends computer and have everything right there as if it were your own. So it is simply a great way of being able to quickly hear more music that you never would have paid for normally or taken the time to download.
Untapped Cities: Who are your favorite New York City bands?
My Free Concert: Well if you want only current New York bands, here are a few: The Babies, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Freelance Whales, Sonic Youth, A Place to Bury Strangers, The Drums, Javelin, and Yeasayer to name a few. But I’ve got a pretty deep love for Brit music, so bands like The Stone Roses, The Libertines, Pulp, Suede, The Vaccines, and Muse. Unfortunately most of those Brit bands aren’t doing freebies here.
Untapped Cities: Where do you see My Free Concert in the future?
My Free Concert: We will be unveiling a few new features very soon that will allow more interactivity among users. We’ll also be hosting our own events and introducing a mobile application. We also want to do a better job of posting reviews, photos and videos. It’ll be a very busy year but I’m pretty excited about things overall.