Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The bootleg is back: live recordings go legit

Music start-up Lively are hoping to capitalise on music fans’ desire for live gig recordings

The tapes have it

Fri, Aug 23, 2013, 09:51


It seems that the lads who used to sell bootleg tapes on O’Connell Bridge in Dublin were ahead of the curve. Back in the day, you could usually buy a recording of a big live gig from one of these chaps the afternoon after the show.

Taped surreptitiously by someone in the audience usually on a Sony Professional Walkman, the recordings were surprisingly top-notch quality-wise and provided many music fans with souvenirs of great nights out.

It’s a business model which music start-up Lively hope to emulate, albeit without the sales pitch on O’Connell Bridge. The Seattle-based company aim to provide fans with post-gig access to audio and video recordings via an app. The company provide the tools the band need to capture the show and they look after the sales too ($4.99 for just audio, $9.99 for video as well).

As anyone who has been to a show and has had to put up with fans sticking their cameraphones in the air will know, there is certainly a market for this. Punters who’ve been to a fantastic show will always want to hear it again or regale their friends about what they’ve missed.

Acts like Pearl Jam and Fugazi have already given fans access to show recordings via Pearl Jam Live and the Fugazi Live Series respectively. Around a decade ago, you had companies like eMusic Live, DiscLive and the Live Nation-backed Instant Live jostling for position in this marketplace with CDs on sale immediately after the gig.

Lively, then, are definitely onto something. At a time when acts don’t make a bob from sales of studio recordings, here’s an opportunity to make some gravy from an already reliable revenue stream. You can understand why Lively have already received a large wodge of capital from investors as they seek to pile in. For once, everyone could be a winner.