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Building a party calendar with Last.fm, Yahoo Pipes and Google Calendar

Yahoo
Eclectro is a website about music. Having a calendar is a great service for such a website. It is often a popular service, but unfortunately also a very labour intensive one. When searching the web to find an easy way to solve this problem I noticed the solution could be found connecting different webservices.

from Last.fm
For promoters and venues Last.fm is the place to reach the right audience. It’s a music marketing sweetspot. Most websavvy promoters know they have to add their schedule to Last.fm, because here is where the fans are.

Unfortunately it would take a lot of time to collect all the data and copy it into an Eclectro agenda. Last.fm uses Audio Scrobbler to control all feeds in and out Last.fm. A lot of Last.fm data is public available.

to Yahoo Pipes
Yahoo Pipes is an online data-aggragator that enables drag and drop programming. You can add feeds from other services, group and remodel the data from the feeds into a new feed. It is a web-based visual programming interface.

Everything you make on Yahoo Pipes is open source. This means everyone can clone your code en learn from it or build upon it. I found some Last.fm examples and adapted it for 15 Dutch venues. The Yahoo Pipe I build scans those venues on Last.fm for events and combines the data into one large iCal (calendar format) feed.

Now we have a feed with a lot of information, interesting but it has a lot of events in it that are irrelevant to the Eclectro audience. They want to know about electronic music.

to Google
Next stop; Google. Google has a calendar function that let’s you share calendars in public or assign multiple owners to the same calendar. The Yahoo Pipes feed with Last.fm information is loaded into Google Calendar. There I’ve created a second calendar called Eclectro.

Copy to Google Calendar

And here is where the ‘human’ selection and thus the added value comes in. An Eclectro editor filters Eclectro related events and we end up with a simple calendar with very good information. We will add other events to the calendar as well, but the information from Last.fm is a perfect base.

You can even subscribe to this ‘human’ filtered calendar with Google, Apple’s iCal or XML/RSS. Or use this information as a buildingblock for a better calendar.

Wwwww, dddddjjjjjjj duh?
I hope you’re still with me, it is a kind of geeky description for a simple solution. What it actually does is transferring information from one system to another. Making use of several open web applications. It shows what can happen when we use open standards and systems that can easily export and import data. You don’t need to have access to a web server or be a programmer to build something like this. This is the future of information. Free to move and easy to alter.

10 replies on “Building a party calendar with Last.fm, Yahoo Pipes and Google Calendar”

Cool!, I already love the fact that last.fm directly exposes an ical feed of events recommended to me, which has saved me from missing essential events more than once.

But it does generate some noise, so a human edited version is even better. I’m subscribed! I also might look at yahoo pipes to integrate all my different calendar feeds into my own personal party/concert calendar, thanks for that tip!

I’m still impressed how simple and good this works. I’ve maintained an agenda manually, and that implied going to tons of websites, copying the data, and pasting it. Horrible.

This agenda works marvellous. The only limitation is that we are (to a certain extent) dependent of the willingness of venus to continue adding their events to Last.fm. Let’s hope that the site remains as important as it is (or that a website-independent database is created).

Actually, it’s (usually) not the venues themselves that add events to last.fm, it’s the people attending them. Basically anyone can add any event, and since anyone can also make or at least suggest corrections, it’s crowdsourced to the fans themselves, and pretty robust, especially for the genres that have a web savvy audience. Emergence rules the web :)

And it’s not even a case of the right people, usually, just *enough*: with things like wikipedia, or social tagging a la del.icio.us, if the technology is robust enough (which usually means: so smart it’s dumb,) griefers or uninformed users sink to the bottom pretty quickly, and there is no pay off to gaming the system.

Makes you wonder why actual meatspace democracy is such a mess ;)

Hi,
This is great. I didn’t know Yahoo Pipe, seems useful.
I am trying to do something similar, but instead of reaching events in some venues, I would like to export events in a city.
Do you know if last.fm have a iCalendar feed for events in a city hidden somewhere? I can’t find…

As I’d used last.fm API before, I started with it, and I am already fetching all events, but now I have to figure out how to import this data into calendar (and sync it, because an event information can change).
Do you have any suggestions?

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