Today’s News: Paying for Concerts Online?

12 Jul

From CNN: “Turning Live Music on the Web into a Hot Ticket

Some see a new market in online “live” entertainment opening up in the next few years. But will fans embrace their favorite artists online without the thrilling atmosphere of a concert?

“The business of live music on the web has to be tied to a bigger initiative,” says Scarpa.
“It’s not just about broadcasting a live concert, but making the tour, the album, the videos all part of a cohesive strategy for the band and the audience. It’s about using all the mediums and bringing them together.
“It’s important they don’t see it as an afterthought….”It’s about creating experiences, marketing them — and making them participatory. “That’s when you can see this thing really having meaning.”””

How do you market an “experience” that doesn’t involve leaving your couch? If everyone is having their own “experience” watching an event, how do you connect them? Companies such as LiveStream think that the next big thing in entertainment is user-created “television,” and with 16.7 million unique viewers a month, they might be right. The question then becomes, “Is this a fad, or a viable business?” YouTube already streams videos for free, supported by ads on the page and embedded in the videos, and allows users to upload their own creations for free.

“We’ve made it very affordable,” Max Haot, founder and CEO of LiveStream, told CNN.
“Our main target is event owners and producers around the world, whether that’s concerts or school events or churches, whatever their budget; whether they want to use our free version or do something which is a bit professional, we can do that for them.
“We have our own IM chat and we integrate Facebook chat as well, so the viewers can talk together about the concert… It’s really cool; people really share the experience.”
“The CNNs, NFLs, ESPNs of this world will still do it for themselves,” he says. “But everyone else will, I think, gravitate around a business like ours.”
Haot believes that the web is on the cusp of a huge upsurge of live content on the web.
“There are millions of compelling live events going on out there, and as soon as they start to come online people will watch them. I think in five years 20 per cent of the internet eyeballs will be watching live events.”

I see two problems with this: First, who is going to police this and make sure that people are actually paying for content? I could see, say, ESPN charging to stream the World Cup Final live, but within an hour of the final whistle, there are already dozens of unauthorized sites providing video of the match, for free. Scarpa, a pioneer in directing and producing live interactive media, says these legal issues have been ironed out as Web 2.0 technology has matured, but I’m not so sure.

Similarly, I think Haot’s idea about creating a conversation around your event is intriguing, but also a little redundant. People are already doing this, discussing the set list over Twitter while the show is still going on. (Want proof? Talk to any Phish fans you might know!) Unless an artist can build a dedicated community through their own website, the tools to do this are already in place with Twitter and Facebook, so I don’t know if the niche this product is designed to fill actually exists at all. There’s already so much free music (including live concert videos) on the Internet, complete with ways to react and comment on them, that this idea seems a little like trying to sell snow to Eskimos.

What do you think? Would you pay to watch a concert streamed live online? What about to watch a video webcast of a show you went to in person? If you’re at a show, are you watching the stage or watching your Twitter?


6 Responses to “Today’s News: Paying for Concerts Online?”

  1. Anonymous July 12, 2010 at 8:05 pm #

    Maybe if the concert was PPV or something for a reduced fee AND I had crazy awesome speakers.

  2. luke July 12, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    It does not personally interest me at all. To me going to a concert and listening to a cd/mp3 are not a similar experience at all. If I want to go out and be social at a concert, COOL, if I just want to enjoy a band's music from home, COOL, but if I want to watch a band while sitting at home where I don't get the feel of a concert, but I do get less than album audio quality NOT COOL.

  3. Anonymous July 13, 2010 at 12:27 am #

    What if it was in 3D, though?! haha juuuust kidding. i think its sort of a ridiculous idea. the only time i enjoy this kind of stuff is by myself in my room when i happen to flick through and stumble on the live music channel. I dont get the social feel like said before but it is cool to watch with all the different views and zooms. but i get that from a music video. and while its not out of the question and would be sort of cool, im not about to invite twenty of my friends over to watch the jay-z concert online while we drink and dance. not a crazy idea, but a bit before our time I think. maybe when i'm fat and out of shape.

  4. Anonymous July 13, 2010 at 1:43 am #

    I may do it for a special event but for me it's all about being there and feeling the energy. Very few things in the world can bring people together like music.

  5. Anonymous July 13, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    As a totally uninformed bystander, my first question would be what is to prevent one person from paying for a "ticket" to see a concert online and then showing it via large screen in real time to a whole room of people in some other city or country for free (or even charging them to watch it.)


  1. Arcade Fire Unstaged « FanFueled Blog - August 3, 2010

    […] 3, 2010 by Steve Blackman Leave a Comment A few weeks ago I wrote about a new idea some companies had to offer streaming HD video feeds of concerts for fans at home. […]

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