Concert Streaming. By, Bob Lefsetz

Posted on December 14, 2012 by


Greetings from Aspen Colorado where the snow is shitty and the hang is great.

Yup, it’s the annual Aspen Live conference ( which used to be populated by label people and now is almost exclusively attended by those focused on touring. Because that’s where the money is.

And the way you make money today is to forget everything you knew about yesterday. You’ve got to stop holding back and start giving in. Say yes, not no. Take it from Metallica. Befuddled by Napster, they’re leading the charge on Spotify. Think about that. If the biggest metal band in the world, one of the biggest acts in the world, managed by Cliff Burnstein, who was old school before there was a school, throws in with the streaming giant can it really be that bad? The last time Cliff got screwed he was playing quarters in elementary school. You’ve got to reevaluate constantly. What you knew six months ago might not apply today. Like EDM. Is it happening or peaking? Tiesto bombed in arenas but Kaskade sold out Staples. Huh? The jury is still out. But one thing we know is electronic is about the experience, they’ve got that nailed. So when Hank shoots EDM, he budgets extra, to shoot the show. I.e. the audience. Have you seen those trailers from Ultra, Electric Daisy and Hard? If you don’t want to be there, your genitals are not functioning. They reek of sex and a good time. And isn’t that what life is all about?

Anyway, Hank Neuberger is the streaming giant. He’s responsible for shooting Coachella, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. And he made a good point about the promoters of these festivals. That they’re the new moguls, the new Jac Holzmans, the new Ahmet Erteguns. They lay their money down and hold, they build…unlike the labels… HA!

So in streaming it’s all about sponsorship. Someone’s got to pay. $500-600,000 for a weekend. Wrigley wanted in. They sponsored Coachella. Now it’s YouTube.

Hank thinks others are going to join the fray. I’m not so sure. Only one company wins online. There’s one Facebook, one Amazon and one Google. Invent something new, don’t try to tread on them. You can lose billions, like Bing!

Google/YouTube has the infrastructure, the streaming ability, the salespeople… You can’t create that on a whim. Which is why Google paid so much for YouTube to begin with. Remember when everybody was laughing about the price? You’re not laughing now, as you sit through the ads!

And the Apple maps fiasco shows that even Cupertino cannot always equal Google. And that the tech companies are fighting to the death. If you’re not winning, you’re losing.

Hank shoots these shows in higher def than TV. 24 megabits a second instead of 8. So when you tune in, it looks unbelievable! And it does! It’s like you’re at the show. Which is why people stay and watch, up to 50 minutes for Coachella. Advertisers want those eyeballs.

And so do bands.

Radiohead didn’t want to say yes, but they had to, because everybody else did.

You see it’s all about being live live. Sharing the experience around the globe. You may be on your couch in Brooklyn, but you’re tweeting with your friend at the gig.

Does it cannibalize ticket sales?

Hell no. It’s not like being there. Otherwise people would log in for hours. It makes you want to go, it makes fans. Holding back is so last century, you want all the exposure you can get. Not the manufactured kind, working the old school media, but the human one to one kind fostered on the web.

So say yes to streaming. Say yes to archiving. 900,000 people watched Coldplay’s performance in the sixty day archive window. They wanted it, you’re going to deny them?

This is like refusing to put your stuff on iTunes. You don’t want to follow with tech, you want to lead.

How many festivals can stream?

Can there be consumer overload?

Will the acts ultimately want to participate in the license fee?

Will YouTube replace television? Music rates too low for traditional TV, but it works great online.

These are the issues we’re debating in Aspen right now.

I’ve got to go, to hang with my homies at the Belly Up.

Meanwhile, PRAY FOR SNOW!

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