The next big thing in mobile internet technology is location. With GPS-enabled smart phones like the iPhone, Blackberrys and Android phones, software like Google Buzz, Foursquare and Gowalla, and location-enhanced options coming to Twitter and Facebook, its becoming easier to check in to the cyber world while on the go, and follow your friends in real time.

So how does that pertain to musicians? We're seeing all kinds of interesting uses here in Austin at SXSW: official convention updates and breaking news sent to SXSW registrants; bands sending up-to-the minute, location-enabled info to fans about upcoming showcases; and friends sharing map-tagged information about venues and performances. One PR & marketing company, NYC's Audible Treats, had a custom Twitter widget projected on a huge wall of the venue where they held their SXSW showcase, displaying a realtime stream of Tweets tagged with #audibletreats, and Twitterers who contributed were entered to win all kinds of prizes, including a brand new Native Instrument Maschine Groove Production Studio software and controller.

Here are few other ways musicians can use location-based mobile technology to assist their efforts: 1. After loading in for a gig, while waiting for the doors to open and the show to start, mobile phone's location-based app can be used to find a bar or restaurant nearby; 2. A public mobile share tool like Google Buzz, Foursquare, Gowalla, Twitter or Facebook Mobile can be used to publicize a gig to users in the area; 3. While on tour or in the studio, if an instrument, amp or effect breaks, location-based search tools can be used to find the closest music gear shop to replace / repair the problem (and most location-based apps also provide users reviews of business, so if you get multiple results, you can base your decision of patronage on the experience of other likeminded users).

Can you suggest other ways that musicians and bands can use location based software to aid their efforts? Use the comments section below to let us know.


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