Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

No streaming here

Why have changes in technology not taken hold in the live music sector?

Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 09:49


It was supposed to be a great leap forward and another way for your favourite band to make a small fortune from their fans. Yet, as Billboard magazine noted last week, live streaming of concerts never quite took off.

Indeed, it’s fair to say that many of the technological innovations which people thought would transform the live sector have not come to pass.

For example, there was a lot of talk not so long ago about how changes in technology would mean bands could flog official live recordings to fans immediately after the show. But while Pearl Jam, Fugazi and the Grateful Dead have jumped into the fray in this regard, surprisingly few others have followed suit.

There’s still a sizeable number of new music tech plays which are aiming right at the live sector. But as some of the relatively simple ideas in circulation have just not come to pass, what hope is there for these innovators?

Many reasons are cited for the failure of live recordings or streams to take off, including bandwidth costs and promoter unease about the effect on ticket sales. But while it may be very hard to imagine a casual fan sitting through an entire 90 minute concert on their tablet or phone, the same can’t be said of the dedicated fanbase, who’d eat such services up.

Perhaps the real fly in the ointment is the artist themselves. As anyone who gets to see more than one show on a band’s tour knows, there’s usually a lot of repetition between performances especially if there’s the same setlist night in and night out. Perhaps it’s the case that the act themselves are the ones who don’t want to be outed in this way?

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