From The Editor: Moving To Webcasts

While there are plenty of Pros for selling webcast subscriptions, bands also have to take a few Cons into consideration. Most webcast production teams contain at least three cameramen. That’s three extra people on the stage, possibly squashing the vibe. For bands that are wary of having cameramen in their grill, they can just webcast the audio. First and foremost fans want to hear the music, the visual is just a bonus. Also, it’s possible that offering webcasts can hurt ticket sales. I can’t stand Terminal 5 and I’d rather pay $10 for a webcast of a band playing there rather than pay $50 to stand in a crowd with no view. But in general, I’d always rather catch the show live in person than watch it over a computer and I think most would agree.

For the past decade or so, artists have started selling recordings of their concerts both at the gig and on the internet after the show is over. At this point nearly every major touring act sells official recordings of their shows, so it must be a profitable venture. Yet, as soon as a major act puts a recording up for sale it goes up on the major bit torrent sites and hundreds of copies are pirated by rabid fans. Because so much of the thrill of watching a webcast is experiencing the concert live, there’ll be tons of initiative for every hard core fan to purchase a package. When a webcasting company sells a subscription to a series of webcasts they give the user a login and password. Once you login and start watching the webcast no one else can use your login information to watch the feed.  Pirating isn’t nearly as big a problem for webcasts as it is for live downloads.

Let’s say your favorite band decided to sell webcasts of every show. How much would you pay per show for a high quality webcast? Would a webcast subscription ever stop you from going to see a concert? Fill us in on what you think about webcast subscription packages by leaving a comment below…

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5 Responses

  1. I’d really like to see a bunch of the Allman Beacon shows, but $100 is just too steep for me, especially considering I’d just be watching it on a laptop and will not likely have time to watch all of the shows. If I could pay per show, I might be more likely to do it.

  2. A webcast is only as good as the production values behind it. There’s a reason why a lot of us don’t sit home and watch concerts on television all the time. It just doesn’t capture the energy and bands have to pay a LARGE amount of money to really go beyond a static or mildly dynamic presentation. That’s why Phish broadcast their shows in movie theaters across the country – because on HD on a big screen with 5.1 sound, the result is FANTASTIC. But on a computer screen on shitty computer screens at home…NOT SO MUCH.

    The point is, bands actually do their fans a disservice by posting webcasts with any kind of frequency, as they reduce the quality of the experience to a stream on a computer. It should be a special occassion, and even then, with a good amount of production quality to make it a vibrant experience.

    just my .02.

  3. I don’t watch them too often, but like Josh said if it’s a big show, it’s a cool thing. It’s also fun to dork out and get on message board and shoot the shit while the show is playing.

  4. I agree with Josh somewhat. For just random run of the mill shows, sure, not so great. But for BIG EVENTS such as Phish’s return, ABB run, etc….It really makes fans happy to see the iMPORTANT stuff so to speak

  5. I don’t love webstreams, but as a new dad and someone who can’t be everywhere at once—I’ll take what I can get.

    I don’t think that there’s ever any real danger in webcasts cutting into ticket sales as most people don’t have the patience to sit in front of their computer screens and watch a show. It’s such a different experience that it can be really hard to get into.

    I love that Tipitinas streams all of their shows live. The only problem is that their server is down half the time.

    I don’t totally agree with Josh that the bands are doing their fans a disservice by streaming every show. It actually makes me more interested in bands because I can see them more often. And as was the case this summer with some of the festivals that were webcast– I ended up seeing (and liking) a lot of bands that I wouldn’t otherwise just because they were there.

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