Friday, April 24, 2015

Some thoughts on concert live streaming..

It’s a Tuesday night. You’ve worked a hard day. There’s a show 45 miles from home that you’d be more apt to attend if it was on a weekend . Too bad there’s not an alternative way to see the show... Wait! There is!

The aforementioned conundrum I described was for a Martha Davis & the Motels, with Greg Hawkes of the Cars opening at the Hamilton in Washington DC. 

While not a huge fan, I do think Martha created some fine, somewhat quirky pop music and I saw her perform a brief set last summer as part of the “Replay America” Tour that was very good and left me wanting to see more. 
I also like to see if the artist hangs out afterward to sign cd’s etc. (both artists mentioned from the stage they would) 
But it’s just too much for me to work an 8 hr day and then drive to DC and then have to be at work at 8:30 the next morning….

I saw a Facebook post from Martha and the band stating the show would be live streaming starting at 7:30. This I could do!
Through a site call Tourpedo, one could buy a “ticket” for a “Choose your price” fee (minimum $1)!

From the comfort of my own home, I decided to take the plunge and pay $3.
The site was easy to sign up & use
Walla!, Greg Hawkes appeared on my pc screen playing a quirky, career-spanning (he once toured with Martin Mull!)set on mostly Ukulele (!)

After a brief intermission, The Motels came on and played a varied set to a subdued Tuesday night crowd (a fact Davis acknowledged).

The sound was good and the picture looked more Standard quality than HD but it was $3 well spent and I was in bed asleep by 10:15.

Having said that , it’s hard to recreate the visceral effect of being at a live show and “feeling’ the music; and as I said, I like to collect signed cd’s so I did miss out on having Greg Hawkes signing a Cars cd and Davis signing a Motels cd..

The Live streaming of concerts (many in HD) has become more popular, especially in the past year or two.

Yahoo Screen has been doing an excellent job broadcasting concerts for free. One of our “local” venues (still probably at least an hour from my home. A long drive on a weeknight) Rams Head on Stage has been featured on a couple times. I watched some of a John Hiatt show a few months ago and plan to watch a BoDeans show being broadcast tomorrow night from there. 

My one complaint is after a few days, they only archive a few songs from each show. It would be cool if they offered a download for, say, $9.99 for a die hard fan to keep. 

You Tube has done a fine job live streaming some of the big festivals the past couple years as well.

In other big news, the Grateful Dead (or “the Dead” as they call their Garcia-less outfit) are performing farewell concerts this summer. Of course, this is a hot ticket. Rolling Stone reports that all five shows will be available on an as-yet-unannounced online streaming platform.  A package deal of all five nights will be offered for $79.95

So what can improve the streaming experience? I don’t have a Smart TV, but I believe they have access to the internet. I think many of the broadcast would still look very good on a large TV. Or, plug your laptop or Ipad into your HD TV and blast the sound.

Other questions I have are how profitable is streaming, if at all, to the artists, the venues, etc? It is expensive for the venues to be outfitted with the equipment? (the shows seem to have a few stationary camera angles, eliminating the need for camera men. The bigger shows seem to also to include hand held shots). Will online streaming hurt the concert business? (why attend when you can stay home and watch?) Will we see a day when all venues are outfitted with the equipment and capabilities for live streaming?

I’m hoping and do think we will see the continued growth of online concert streaming.

Me? I will still attend concerts but on weeknights I may be more apt to stay home and get in bed at a decent hour!

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