Music to Go

Apr 27, 2010 3:42 PM, By Tom Kenny

SAME-DAY RECORDING/DISTRIBUTION OF LIVE SHOWS

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Auckland, New Zealand fans line up for their Pixies same-day release, March 2010

Auckland, New Zealand fans line up for their Pixies same-day release, March 2010






















It seems like a no-brainer in this age of instant gratification. You go to see your favorite artist, love the show, then before leaving the venue put down a credit card (if you haven’t prepaid with your ticket purchase) and take home a quality audio recording, maybe with HD video, perhaps some behind-the-scenes footage from soundcheck that same day. A photo gallery. Web links. Unreleased tracks. And the whole package comes on microSD, USB wristband, beamed to your iPhone or Droid, or on a preprinted, limited-edition CD/DVD package.

It’s all happening today. The technology exists; artists are using it. It just hasn’t gone mainstream. But it’s about to.

The history of same-day recording is as old as the history of bootlegs, and it’s certainly been updated for the BitTorrent/YouTube generation. Plenty of live performances are available for free on the Internet, but they are often of low quality, and their distribution, legal or illegal, remains outside of the artist’s control. To counter—or sometimes to encourage—file sharing, a number of forward-thinking acts have embraced the concept and taken matters into their own hands. The Barenaked Ladies, for one, have made nearly every show available since 2005. Pearl Jam pioneered—and mastered—the process of next-day delivery years ago. And others have used variations through their own Websites and marketing promotions.

At the same time, a number of well-funded efforts have sprung up over the past decade to deliver same-day content to fans. DiscLive, a New York–based company, was in early in the game, with racks of duplicators churning out CDs at selected venues in the early 2000s. They were followed soon by Clear Channel’s entry, InstantLive (now owned by LiveNation), which created quite a stir when it filed a patent claim on the same-day recording/distribution process. (The patent was revoked in 2007.) Fab Channel was a player for years. Basecamp Productions is still going strong.

Among the more established companies operating today are Aderra Media Technologies, an L.A. company founded by musician/composer Ed Donnelly, and Abbey Road Live, an independent division of EMI with an Americas office headed by Zach Bair, one of the principals in Immediatek, which purchased DiscLive in 2005. Both founders are first and foremost fans who left a concert wanting to relive the magic. Both are committed to changing the way artists connect with their audience.

“We see ourselves as providing a bridge between the artist and the fan so that it’s not just a live show,” says Donnelly, whose company distributes in any platform you might envision but seems to have perfected USB wristbands and all its kin. “The conversation between artist and fan can continue long after the last note has sounded. When you use one of our multimedia devices, whether it’s a microSD card or USB drive, there’s a full interactive multimedia center. You plug it in, the Dashboard deploys and you don’t get just the audio recording. You also get behind-the-scenes interview footage, special Web offers, gateways for the artist to push to the fans later on. We’re on tour with an artist right now where when you buy the USB, you get their new studio album, two catalog albums, an HD music video, three behind-the-scenes video shoots, in the studio. Then over the course of the tour, you’ll get six or seven more live shows, plus spontaneous performances they might do at a rest stop at the side of the road. This is content created specifically to connect artist and fan, a continuous re-engagement.”






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