CMU grad’s website a new way to find concerts


Lady Gaga is playing a show Downtown at Consol Energy Center Thursday. If you’d used, a new website created by a 2009 Carnegie Mellon graduate, you might already know that. 

For concert prowlers, Kevin Qi’s can offer a solution. Qi, a 2009 Carnegie Mellon University graduate with a degree in computer science, created the site to organize nearby concerts based on date, popularity and location by city. 

With countless venues and bands performing on any given evening in Pittsburgh, it can be difficult for students and community members to find one nearby that interests them.

One such student is Stephanie Gargone, a junior psychology major, who has attended several concerts in the Pittsburgh area, including acts such as Timeflies, OneRepublic and All Time Low.

“Concerts are somewhat manageable to hear about, but they are not advertised around campus well,” Gargone said.

According to Brendan Pester, an administrator for Opus One Productions, a company that organizes scheduling for several local venues, there is potential demand for such a website, especially one that shows the popularity and location of a concert together. 

“I haven’t seen anything that has combined the two. I could see it catching on, especially in this day and age,” Pester said. 

Other students, such as junior Kacie Gallo, see the website as a possible resource for her concert planning in the future.

“It seems like a helpful website to have everything in one place,” Gallo said. “Sorting by popularity is a good idea. I think also sorting by price range would be useful.” 

Qi said the website is very useful to lazy people, like himself.

Currently living in Boston, Qi said it was tedious to look up the names of all the different acts performing in the city. was his solution.

Qi said he was partially inspired by PadMapper, a program that digitally maps apartment listings from Craigslist, a classified advertisements website.

“I figured a similar interface with a map would help give you a sense of which concerts are closer by,” Qi said. To develop the site, Qi used an application programming interface, a programming template that determines how certain aspects of a website interact with each other. He also used data from Songkick, a website that tracks bands and concerts, to create a list of nearby concerts and determine the popularity of each show based on the number of people “interested” or “going to” each event.

“I was testing it on New York, and I’d see like, Miley Cyrus right at the top,” Qi said. “The popularity metric might not be perfect, but I think the bigger bands definitely show up at the top, which is cool to see.”

Gargone also said she has had trouble in the past finding popular acts to see.

“Many concerts in the Oakland area are [acts] whom I am not familiar with,” Gargone said. “The people I want to see, I usually look up myself for concert dates.”

According to, Luke Bryan, Jimmy Buffett and Miley Cyrus highlight some of the biggest acts coming to Pittsburgh in the coming months, at locations including Consol Energy Center, Heinz Field and First Niagara Pavilion.

The distance aspect of is key to some students, like Megan Stauffer.

Stauffer, a junior marketing major, has been to nine concerts so far at in different cities  and said staying close to Pittsburgh is a priority during the fall and spring semesters.

“Distance doesn’t really matter when I can road trip to the concert with friends I’m going with, but at school when I don’t have access to a car I’m more reluctant to go to a concert,” Stauffer said.’s location-based listings provide Stauffer with an easy way to find nearby performances.

The site is still a work in progress for Qi. He said although he has only worked on it for about five or six days so far, the use of Songkick saved him a lot of time because it compiled the data on song popularity for him.

While the site is a side project for Qi, it’s simplified the concert search for his entertainment-seeking audience. 

“I think [] will be useful because we’ll be able to look up concerts that interest us in a reachable area,” Gargone said. “Many students do not have their own source of transportation while at school so local concerts are more appealing.”