Startups

Meet the DC startup connecting people with local, live music shows

Local technologists Nameer Rizvi and Naomi-Grace Panlaqui created the app to help residents find local music shows at nearby venues.

(L to R) Nameer Rizvi and Naomi-Grace Panlaqui.

(Courtesy photo)

As we gear up for the summer music and concert season, a pair of local technologists want to make it even easier to find your next favorite band.

Local founders Naomi-Grace Panlaqui and Nameer Rizvi have relaunched DC Music Live, an app that connects residents with local music shows and concerts. DC Music Live, which is available for Android and iOS, lets users search for concerts in DC (and a few in Maryland and Virginia). The app lets people filter by price, date, neighborhood, venue and even Metro line accessibility. DC Music Live was initially launched in April of 2021, but the founders have re-released it with new features like the ability to save preferred shows.

Panlaqui and Rizvi, who are dating, got the idea before the pandemic when they were actually searching for dates to go on themselves. While the concept started as a way to find dates in DC, the pair eventually focused on their love of music during quarantine, when they actually found the time to make their idea a reality.

“We had a lot of difficulties just trying to find shows in general for ourselves,”  Panlaqui told Technical.ly. “We like catching live music shows for our dates, so it was kind of frustrating having to have multiple tabs open and going through [them] like, ‘Wait, is this close to us?'”

A look at DC Music Live’s app. (Courtesy photos, image by Technical.ly)

The pair, who are both web developers in their full-time roles, began developing the page and app in 2020 and officially launched in 2021. The app started out scraping data from 10 local venues using Javascript modules before expanding, creating a backend server that accepts requests and redeveloping the app in Expo. With the relaunch, DC Music Live has bumped up to include approximately 65 local music venues.

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With DC Music Live, Panlaqui hopes that she can boost local venues (especially smaller ones) and the DC music scene.

“As we had started getting more serious about this project, it was becoming super necessary to represent these venues and to make this information more accessible,” Panlaqui said. “Because, people that live near the venues, they’re gonna know about [the shows]. But I feel like not everyone knows just how many music venues there are in DC — and not only that, but how diverse the music scene is, too.” 

The cofounders, who still work part-time on DC Music Live, have brought on additional talent and plan to expand the web option to include all the filters that the mobile version has. They’d also like to add a featured promotion for certain shows and find a way to include one-off shows like festivals, launch an email subscription service for people to find new local shows and expand into merchandising.

Eventually, they plan to take the site into full startup mode, and even add nearby cities like Baltimore, Richmond and Pittsburgh.

“What we really want to do is nail down DC, have a sustainable model, get to a point where we’re super confident in the data we’re presenting to the user,” Rizvi said, adding: “Our bread and butter is to have a show set no one else can provide in terms of quality and accessibility.”

As for Rizvi and Panlaqui, the pair said that creating a startup together as a couple has been a great experience. They’ve even achieved their initial goal of finding places to go on dates, since they often turn the chore of taking pictures of new venues into a date, Panlaqui said. It’s almost like a third person in the relationship, Rizvi added with a laugh.

“At first, this was our couple project, but it’s become so much more than that, and it’s been great to have this person that you can bounce ideas off of whenever,” Panlaqui said. “We keep it real with each other. There’s no hiding things away from your other cofounder because we’re really open with each other.”

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