Survival in the hospitality business is rough. The vast majority of restaurants fail. Bars are an even tougher go, and nightclub success is even slimmer.
That puts live music venues on the lowest rung of the success ladder. So, it is understandable when a live music venue, struggling to get by, is unable to fully embrace technology. It's expensive. It's difficult to maintain. Frankly, it's impractical. It's hard enough to keep a Facebook or Twitter feed active, let alone a Website -- as I found when I did a roundup of live music venue Web sites recently. But, an app? Forget it. Most commercial businesses don't even bother with apps, so how can a live music venue even consider it?
Well, one has. The venerable singer-songwriter pub McGonigel's Mucky Duck -- No. 2 on my Web sites list -- not only has an app for iPhone and Android, but it's a damn good one. Surprised? I was.
When I first heard about the app, I wanted to see if there were others. I did numerous searches for virtually every venue in town and turned up nothing, so it would appear the Duck has cornered the market in this particular area of technology. (If I'm missing one, please let me know).
And while the app looks very good and has all sorts of useful stuff, like an interactive map, ways to share information and check in at the venue, the aforementioned menus (something a lot of restaurants don't have on their Web sites) and show listings, what impressed me the most was the fact that the information is well maintained.
The Duck's Twitter feed, which you can also access through the app, is updated with regularity. They had a New Year's Eve pop-up upon entering the app, which is appropriate for the time of year. All the shows are up to date, and there are even recent photos.
This type of upkeep is rare for even the most organized business. I work with a lot of companies on their Web sites, and one of the most difficult tasks is encouraging them to keep their site information fresh. Nothing looks worse to a visitor than a Web site that is neglected. The Duck's is most certainly not.
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Oh, and in case you were wondering, the app is free, which is always a good thing. If you ever attend shows there or think you might, this is probably a good app to have on your phone.