ONLINE- Hook Music: Concerts in your computer, face

Sometime back in the dark ages of 2007, a little bird told the Hook that we needed to improve our concert listings. And when we didn't listen, he started bombarding us with data proving that simple lists were wack, and that events should be stored in a giant multi-purposed database in the sky.

Enter the Hook's new music site. Instead of simply mirroring the newspaper's content, which is limited by bounds of the printed page, online concert listings can be reconfigured and flavored by novel elements like videos and reader commentary.

The most readily apparent change is the addition of automatic updates to the front page, which will always keep you up-to-date on the evening's best bets. (These changes are also available via RSS feeds for those of you who prefer reading on your own terms.) 

Thanks to the technical prowess of vastly overworked Hook web ninja Ryan Soulia, our site now includes fantastic new functionality like iCalendar subscriptions that will synchronize online calendars like Gmail's or desktop scheduling programs like Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCal, and Mozilla Thunderbird– and even put a complete Charlottesville music schedule right on your iPod.

One of the greatest improvements is the inclusion of multimedia– as the saying goes, writing about music is like dancing about architecture. YouTube alone is helping us convey more information about the performances than a hack music writer ever could.

We also drew a healthy amount of inspiration from MP3 blogs like Stereogum and Fluxblog, which post cool new music every day for their readers/listeners. While we don't flout copyright law quite as brazenly, we've been running performers and promoters ragged trying to get MP3s along with their show listings, and we insert a play button next to the event summary whenever possible. Savvy artists typically allow us to make the songs freely available for download, and best of all, the files are sent out over a podcast that will load up iTunes every morning with music from the musicians performing that evening without requiring a visit to our site at all.

We haven't found any other niche music sites as ambitious and thorough as ours, and this new site is the product of heaps of research and quiet observation. Standing on the shoulders of giants has allowed us to build a product we think will nurture our town's vibrant music scene.

We hope you like it.