Sick of missing out on your favorite author, director, or musician’s new work? Just because you like entertainment doesn’t mean you can keep track of every single release. Thankfully, it’s easy to automate so you don’t miss a thing.
Most artists aren’t prolific enough to release content quickly enough that they stay on your radar year round. Even if you think of yourself as a media-hound—always digging through reviews, news, and blogs—it’s easy to lose track of a new release now and again. Personally, I often find myself in conversations where people are like, “You didn’t realize ‘so-and-so’ had a new book? It’s been out for months!” So, I decided to give up on my own discovery skills and get notifications for a few of my favorites.
Get Release Dates for Your Favorite Authors
Authors are particularly tough to keep track of, because oftentimes they’ll go upwards of a decade without releasing a new novel. Alternately, they’re so prolific it’s hard to keep track of everything they’re doing.
It’s really easy to keep track of authors in a few different ways. One is with Google Alerts. Here’s how to set it up:
- Head over to Google Alerts and type this into the search box: inauthor:”author name” (alternately, you can do intitle:”subject” if you want alerts for say, books about the civil war)
- Select “Books” from the Result type drop down menu
- Select the interval for how often you want Google to check for your search under How Often
- Select “Only the best results” under How many
- Select the email you want the alert to deliver to, and you’re done.
If DIY isn’t your thing, a number of webapps exist that will send you an email when an author releases a new book. We like Track New Book because it’s simple to set up, and doesn’t send you any junk you don’t want.
Get Updates When Your Favorite Musician Releases a New Album or Tours
Musicians and bands are constantly releasing new albums, remixes, and singles year-round. If you have a few standby favorites you want to keep updated on without digging into music blogs or magazines, it’s easy to do.
For notifications via email or Google Reader we like Album Reminder. All you have to do is enter in the artists you want to get updates about, and Album Reminders will notify you when an album is released. The handy thing about Album Reminders is the fact you can also create an RSS feed for notifications so your email inbox isn’t cluttered. The result is a feed that displays the album, release date, and artwork if it’s available. No extraneous info, just a simple update.
For live shows, Songkick is a service that will alert you when tickets go on sale in your town for bands you care about. Songkick also integrates with Spotify and automatically scans your library and displays shows you might be interested in.
Get Releases for Your Favorite Directors, Actors, and TV Shows
If you’re a cable cutter or you don’t go to the movie theater often, it’s hard to keep track of when your favorite actor or director releases a movie. To track these, we’re going to set up an <a href=”http://www.ifttt.com”If This Then That recipe using RSS feeds from Movieweb.
We’ve shown you how to use IFTTT before, and it’s pretty simple to set up an alert for your favorite director or actor. In this case, we’ll use the Release Date RSS feeds from Movieweb (either theater, DVD, or TV, whichever you prefer). Here’s what you need to do:
- Create a new recipe in IFTTT, and select the RSS button.
- Click the “New feed item matches” box.
- Enter the actor or director you want to follow in the “keyword or phrase box,” and paste the feed URL from Movieweb.
- Select where you want to get notified (email, SMS, etc).
- Create and save recipe.
When you’re done, you final result will look something like this this recipe that adds any Nicolas Cage movies into your Google Reader. Simple as that.
If you’re an iPhone user, we like Flickd for a simple tracking method that keeps an eye on actors, directors, and movies (note: some reviewers have had problems with the app crashing and while we didn’t have any troubles, you might want to check out the lite version first). Flickd tracks the release date in theaters, and also on DVD and Netflix Instant.
How to Keep Track of All This Info
Announcements are handy, but then what are you supposed to do? If you plan on buying something for sure, it’s easy enough to preorder pretty much anything on Amazon by searching for it and clicking preorder. If preorders aren’t an option, you can use Amazon’s 1st to Know Notification Service to get an email when you can buy a book, album, or movie.
If you’re not sure you really want to buy it straight off the bat on release day, you can also integrate those releases into your calendar. Personally, I keep a separate calendar filter dedicated just to different media junk (movie releases, books, etc), so I remember to check back in and look at reviews.
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