University of Washington engineering grad students Jeff Cole and Brandon Smith had a surprise hit when they released iConcertCal last Christmas.
The free software plug-in for iTunes notifies you of upcoming shows featuring bands in your music collection. Among the kudos was a 3 1/2 mice rank from Macworld magazine, which listed it as a Mac Gem. Lifehacker also provided an early boost by calling it out as a “download of the day.”
Today they announced the release of a new version that adds CD release dates, links to buy albums and two social features — the ability to share concert calendars with friends and to find other concertgoers in your city.
Seattle’s iLike has similar features and rich backers, so I wondered if a merger was in the works.
“We wondered the same thing, but I guess they decided to compete with us instead of buy us,” said Cole, who lives a few blocks from iLike’s Capitol Hill office.
After Cole and Smith started getting notice, iLike was among the big companies that contacted them. Another was Ticketmaster, which invested in $13 million in iLike in December.
Cole said he’s not looking to add music-recommendation features that are the foundation of iLike and instead wants to keep the software a lightweight concert and music referral service.
Smith has graduated and Cole still has another quarter to go.
Even if nobody buys the company, they might start to make money in addition to the donations some users have made. They’ll get a percentage of sales from Amazon.com when users pre-order upcoming albums through their software.