Article: Internet Is Seizing the Spotlight in the Live-Music Business

by David Eckoff · 0 comments

Concert webcasts and online vintage performance clips are gaining traction, according to this article in The New York Times.

What role, if any, will be carved out for fans who take their own pictures and “bootleg” video at concerts? My friend and former co-worker from RealNetworks, Erik Flannigan, is quoted for this article. (If you know Erik, I think you’d agree that he is a top expert on the subject of fans capturing various types of media at concerts.)

Erik Flannigan, general manager of America Online’s music, film and television content, said that at a big arena performance these days “20,000 people walk through the door.” He added: “How many people who went to that show walked out with some kind of media captured? They called someone, they took a photo. Why not harness that and turn it into something?”

Last year’s U2 tour brings to mind photos, audio and video captured by fans with camera phones, digital cameras, DAT and mini-disk recorders – and posted to fan sites immediately after each show (and some even during the shows). As a fan, it was fun seeing the results of this grass roots effort.

What drives 1% of fans to capture and share content? I think it’s as much about the hunt for content as anything else. And for the rest of the fans who seek and consume this fan generated content: it’s very much about re-living the concert experience and collecting. This isn’t the type of content that you tend to listen to or watch again and again.

I’ve got to say, though, there’s something about the experience of going to see a band live that isn’t captured in the online viewing experience of an entire concert webcast. But that’s not just a matter of web video: I find that most professionally produced concert DVDs are of only marginal interest to me – even from my favorite bands. (Notable exceptions: Fleetwood Mac’s “Say You Will” tour DVD; and U2’s “Vertigo” tour DVD.)

Like many things music, I prefer a concert CD with audio – a passive listening experience – vs. the active viewing experience required of a DVD. And who has the patience to watch a two hour concert on their computer?

Some companies have tried charging admission to view concert webcasts online. I am a big fan of live music, but quite frankly, I’m not inclined to pay to watch a webcast of even my favorite bands perform live.

I think the better bet is for bands to put short form video clips of their live performances out onto the web as a means of connecting with their existing fans and reaching new fans – and a way of building interest in going to a show in-person.

Related Link: Concert, rehearsal venues get wired

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