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Instant Concert CDs? 684

NickRipley writes "Clear Channel (owner of every radio station in America) is purporting to offer a new service, whereby concertgoers can receive an official recording of the concert they just attended, within moments after the final note. How will the RIAA react to this, seeing as this is legitimizing one of the oldest forms of music pirating? Also, what kind of equipment will have to be used to produce these so fast? Will the recording process suffer due to the hurry?"
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Instant Concert CDs?

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  • Ehh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lordaych ( 560786 )

    I don't see why the RIAA would care. They may consider the act of individual listeners recording and distributing concert recordings piracy, but Clear Channel will likely charge $20-30 per recording, making a decent incoming in the process, "legitimizing" the act and thus rendering "piracy" in this case a non-issue.

    Assuming these will be highest-possible-quality recordings (who knows) this of course would be a boon for so-called "bootleggers" who would no longer need to participate in the act of recording these shows but instead simply need to buy one copy and run off as many dupes as they need.

  • Clear Channel (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Znonymous Coward ( 615009 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @08:45AM (#5257808) Journal
    is not a radio station company... They are an advertising company that happens to own every radio station in America. It's a shame.

  • by mickwd ( 196449 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @08:47AM (#5257816)
    It's only thanks to technology that there is a "recording" industry in the first place. Before performances could be recorded, musicians had to make money through performing their works. Technology, and the ability to record music, created the recording industry.

    Is it too surprising, then, if technology might take it away again ?

    In my personal opinion, music is about many things.......creation, art, emotion, enjoyment, life. If there is one word which doesn't belong next to the word "music", it's the word "business".
    • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:42PM (#5259188) Homepage Journal
      Is it too surprising, then, if technology might take it away again ?

      I don't see how the technology would take it away. On the contrary, this is a serious threat to the goons who make up the RIAA, as it does two good things:

      Artists get paid for their work, directly, bypassing the RIAA hands. Particularly a good thing for bands who don't want to sign bloodsucking contracts and already have established a following.

      Fans get live recordings of the show they went to. Man, how many times have I attended a show and thought, "Gosh, I sure liked they way they played x, but their 'live' mixed album in the store isn't anywhere like that. I would pay $$ to get this show on CD)

      The only way I could see this being any kind of victory for the RIAA goons is if artists sign a contract which requires their concert proceeds go from the promoter to the RIAA goons and what few cents are left come back to them.

      As always, advice to musicians, get your own lawyer to explain terms of a contract to you before signing.

    • by Peterus7 ( 607982 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:10PM (#5259351) Homepage Journal
      I'm going to a concert soon, and I can just imagine...

      Band: "Are you ready!?!"
      Crowd: "YEAH!!!"
      Band singer: "Ok, well that's cool, but first I've been asked to tell you to turn all your recorders off, because there's a legit way of doing that now.... That benefits us!"
      *man in suit walks on stage*
      Man: "Ah, I'm with the RIAA and we're shutting that down now, but we'll shoot the next person we see with a recorder out."

  • Seeing as it's Clear Channel (whose concert promotions arm is huge and brings in 100's of millions of $), they may be able to force artists/their labels to agree to sales of these CD's. No live CD rights, no concert. I don't know how diversified the concert promotion market is but I bet CC is at least one of a very small # of 500-pound gorillas in the industry.

    This actually would be cool for smaller bands who put on smaller shows. It'd be nice to have a recording which contains all the stuff that happened while you were there - the mic mix ups, the silly stage patter where the lead singer says how he got lost in your town during college etc. But I can easily see the band getting screwed on this and that's not what I want either!
  • Duplication... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mackd ( 179 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @08:48AM (#5257828) Homepage
    I worked on a production requiring this kind of speed. However, we were using audio cassettes, and the material involved was a spoken presentation that we had permission to duplicate and sell.

    This is how it worked: we created a master tape on the fly during the program. At the conclusion of the program, the master was carried down to a workroom with tape duplication machines. We could have 16 tapes created within 4 minutes of the end of the presentation--with more coming. If it was this simple with analog equipment, I'd imagine a digital method for distributing these recordings would be a piece of cake.
    • This is how it worked: we created a master tape on the fly during the program. At the conclusion of the program, the master was carried down to a workroom with tape duplication machines. We could have 16 tapes created within 4 minutes of the end of the presentation--with more coming.

      This is not even rare. In fact, is very common. Most churches do this routinely. The equipment investment is modest. The convenience is great.

      In fact, my boss was asking me questions about technology for doing this with mp3's. In his case, they were interested in making mp3's available on his church's website. They also wanted to make an audio CD. They did end up accomplishing their goal. I might be mis-recalling his final solution. I believe they used a modest PC to simultaneously record audio along with the tape equipment. As long as they were doing a decent job of "mixing" during the live recording, they could immediately start making cassettes or audio CD's after the recording was complete. And have an mp3 file ready almost immediately as well.
  • by pangu ( 322010 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @08:49AM (#5257834) Homepage
    ...where everything is lip synched anyway.
  • by dWhisper ( 318846 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @08:49AM (#5257835) Homepage Journal
    Well, most of the time anyway.

    I can only imagine that the RIAA would squash this one, since traditionally, there would be all sorts of copyright issues here. Royalties go to the Label, Producer, Studio, Artists, RIAA, and who knows who else. Beyond that, a lot of the great artists play cover songs and unreleased material, which they'd have to cover royalties or permissions for that.

    However, I would say that I'd pay for concerts of a lot of bands. People like BNL, Dave Matthews, etc. that throw some of the best live shows on earth would be worth it. Of course, since this article implies that you have to attend the concert, and the RIAA has little sway there, this is something that benefits the artists (and Clear Channel).

    This would be great, if you can afford a ticket or get a chance. But what about the people in South Dakota that never see anyone, or people overseas who can't make a concert?

    If this is something that the artists support, it would be easy to have the recordings ready. Fast burners and digital recording equipment tied into the sound system would make it easy to get these discs out minutes after a concert ends. What would be sad is that most likely, encores and bonus sets would be lost if they cut the recording early.

    However, since this looks like something they're going to start in club shows, I'd imagine it's meant to boost new and smaller artists, which is great. I've seen enough small bands that never even crossed the radar of most radio, and it would have been great to hear their sets again.
  • by The Mutant ( 167716 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @08:50AM (#5257837) Homepage
    I'm inclined to say "Great Idea!" but before I do so I'd like to know how much of this $15 would end up in the artists pockets?

    If it's anything like Courtney Love's [] RIAA / Recording Artist math, I think it will just put more cash in the wrong pockets.

    Seems like the Artists should get a higher percentage than their standard recording contract might allow, since this would be a major impulse buy on the part of many concert goers - especially considering the effect of various substances and inhibitions.

    • by The_Laughing_God ( 253693 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @12:55PM (#5258971)
      First off, as has been documented many times here on Slashdot, with links to business and musician articles, first hand accounts of musician readers, etc., only a handful (a *few* of the top 50 bands in only the most most populat genres) derive substantial income from recording sales. The rest -the vast bulk of musicians- make their living on concert performances. In fact, the studios have successfully pushed through laws (also reported here) stating that the artists who produce music -singers and musicians- are presumptively "work for hire" and are not entitled to residuals or royalties at all, unless their contracts happen to award them. For example, any public performance of a song has long generated a a residual or royalty for the composer (or owner of the lyric copyright) but not one cent for the band. Period.

      The actual accounting (also reported in countless previous links) means that after the studio's self-declared expenses are deducted, the band not only rarely makes much beyond the initial advance, but often ends up owing the studio money on paper. This can lock them in, forcing them to sign for additional albums (to have the debt forgiven) and making it hard to switch labels.

      I could enumerate many more abuses, but I'm sure others will -- if they're not sick of doing so.


      The studios (or RIAA) don't have any right to the music the musicians play in concert, unless there is a specific concert recording clause. This was the meat on the musician's table. but now the largest promoter in the nation will be making it a term of their contracts that bands must surrender most rights to the music in their precious live performances. Note: Clear Channel never said a word about paying artists. It's be a condition of the concert: "If you don't sign over the rights, you don't play in this town". [We've also seen plenty of articles on the strong-arm methods Clear Channel has used to build and enforce precisely this sort of monopoly.

      This won't improve anything for most bands. It only applies to the known successes where Clear Channel expects to make a profit; the ones where CC is already profiting as the concert promoter. If Clear Channel didn't book you for a concert or performance, don't expect their audio truck.

      In short: they are reaching deeper into the artist's pockets -- and removing (coopting) a potential source of revenue for the band itself. The recording industry was a historical artifact, like buggy whip makers. It gained its stranglehold because 100 years ago, musicians could not afford studio equipment. Now they can, so the strangle hold much be maintained in other ways.

      This is a coerced corporate seizure of the band's rights to the proceeds of their own live *performances* (concerts, shows, etc.) which had been the last bastion of the musician. They are doing this preemptively, because it's now a small step from the club/concert audio feed to a burned CD -- and right now sales of such CDs could well belong to the musician, if the corporations are not careful!

    • If it's anything like Courtney Love's [] RIAA / Recording Artist math, I think it will just put more cash in the wrong pockets.

      Please read the original "The Problem With Music" by Steve Albini [] from which Courtney stole much of her manifesto.

  • by Servo5678 ( 468237 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @08:54AM (#5257847)
    What about selling these CDs to customers who did not attend the concert? If my favorite musician is coming nowhere near my town, can I buy one of these CDs? I own all the albums of my favorite groups, so there's just nothing left in the music world for me to buy. Offering these concert CDs for sale to anyone would entice a lot of people in my position to purchase some new music.
  • That's really a good idea. Technically, I don't think it would be that hard (digitize the audio as it comes in, burn a single master at the end of the show and then let the CD replicators churn), and I have a feeling that Clear Channel is paying the RIAA their piece, too, so there shouldn't be any legal problems.

    Of course, after the $5 beers and $35 t-shirts, most concert-goers are dead broke by the end of the show...
  • I think this is a good example of new technology being put to good use. I am sure the artist will get their cut, the maker will get his cut and the buyer will get something they really want.

    It is time the *IAA stopped fighting technology and started embracing it.
  • What a great idea... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by magickalhack ( 648733 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @08:56AM (#5257858) Homepage
    Clear Channel (owner of every radio station in America)

    This sounds like a great money making scheme... making the RIAA likely to fight it tooth and nail. Just like they did with radio, and tapes, and cds, and now digital music on the 'net. Yup. And in 10 years they'll wonder how they every got by without it.
  • by somebaudy ( 594704 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @08:56AM (#5257860) Homepage
    as described in this article [] this is not unlike livephish [] nearly-instant Concert selling website.
  • Let's not let users see comments!
  • Quality (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nautical9 ( 469723 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @08:58AM (#5257870) Homepage
    The speed at which they burn their CDs won't have any effect on quality. The real issue is the amount and care of their prep work before each concert, to make sure the feeds they're capturing are of a high quality. And they should be if they're patched into the same feeds that the concert speakers are getting, since they then get the benefits of the same volume levels and mixing that the concert guys put together.

    Obviously, there will be no post-production editing or enhancing, so you're basically just buying a fancy bootleg, not a CD you'd buy from a store of a live performance. But it shouldn't suck too bad, and it'd sure beat holding up a mini-recorder in the crowd.

    (probably a moot point, as I can't see the RIAA letting this happen - unless they're getting a healthy chunk out of the pie.)

    • Re:Quality (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:39PM (#5259163)
      Wrongo. The mixes and equalization for the speaker feeds of a large concert are optimized to produce the best sound for the that particular venue, often with slightly different mixes going to different stacks. A traditional concert hall mix will be completely different than one for a sporting venue and neither might sound any good on a CD.
      If this is anything but a zero-budget cynical cash grab by Clearchannel, a separate CD mix will be created by splitting every audio feed prior to the sound reinforcement mix. This can be done with a dedicated sound console or by creating a submix on the house console, much as is already done for the foldback mix the musicians hear on stage.
      Given how much effort and extra cost would be required to do this right (second board, isolated mixdown room, racks of processing + the talent to make it work), I suspect Clearchannel is shortcutting by using a main board sub-mix sent to portable mastering/duplicating equipment owned and operated by a third party. This also puts the onus on the band and record company to insure the sound mixer does a good job making the band sound good. Clearchannel's responsibility would be to force the contracts and pocket the cash.
  • This is not piracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @08:59AM (#5257874)
    This is the instant selling of a live album. Recording a live concert was never piracy as long as you got permission (ignoring that the band may not have the proper rights to the songs, those might belong to the label or songwriter)
  • Why would anyone want a CD of a live concert with music and vocals that are really done live. Almost every "live album" you can buy in stores has been redone. Basically, you would get inferior quality music.

    Plus lots of bands record with extra instruments that they don't use when they play live. Those are often added in when they make the "live album" for sale.
  • by MyNameIsFred ( 543994 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:07AM (#5257908)
    How will the RIAA react to this, seeing as this is legitimizing one of the oldest forms of music pirating?
    Note the word "official," as long as the Clear Channel concert contracts have this stipulated as an option, it will not be an issue. Heck, RIAA will probably like it because now they can get a cut unlike the unofficial bootlegs. I also note this is not the first mention of this. I can't find the press release now, but another group recently mentioned that concert goers would be given access to a website to download mp3s of the concert. Within a couple of weeks of the concert they would receive a professional CD of the concert.
    • by spencerogden ( 49254 ) <> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @11:57AM (#5258744) Homepage
      Not sure if it is the one you are talking about, but Phish [] recently started selling concert downloads at [].
  • if they have cleared this in advance with the band / promoters / agents.

    No problem whatsoever.

    The mixdown and mastering won't be as good as it will be quick, but as a souvenir of the concert it'd be pretty cool!
  • hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SnAzBaZ ( 572456 )
    How will the RIAA react to this, seeing as this is legitimizing one of the oldest forms of music pirating?

    Excuse me? Bands have always sold CD's and merchendise at concerts without involvment from the record company - and many bands explicitly allow fan recordings of the concert. Is this just some shameless attempt to bring the word "RIAA" into the post to increase it's chances of getting posted?
  • How long will the discs last? I know that burned CDs don't seem to be as durable as proper "pressed" ones, especially cheap blanks.
  • Also, what kind of equipment will have to be used to produce these so fast?

    Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of CD-R drives?
  • by acomj ( 20611 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:11AM (#5257930) Homepage
    A lot of bands with a history of allowing taping (greatful dead, phish , DMB). Now phish [] is selling all 2003 concerts. They're in both mp3 and shn formats. The SHN format costs more (more bandwidth)..

    The have a good FAQ [] which answers the age old question ...Why should I pay for when I can get an audience recording for free?

    They Might Be Giants [] also gives away tracks on the internet. Better than the dial a song, which used to give away free songs over the phone.

    Contrast this with the FooFighters annoying extra track download feature which doesn't work with Mac (Windows Media) and uses a special program which seems to check if the music cd is in the drive.. I like the band but that experience left a bad taste in my mouth.

    The bottom line here is that creative bands can have alternative music distribution. This is good, unless your band is already signed, then the label can object.

  • None at all as they are going to have obtained clearance for this - hell, the artists will be getting a cut from the sales anyway, so eveyone wins.
  • Also, what kind of equipment will have to be used to produce these so fast? Will the recording process suffer due to the hurry?

    Since you're recording a live event, I'd guess it doesn't take a whole lot of extra production or engineering to make a recording of the live event. Presumably these will be loops of whatever was fed to the PA with maybe a little audience miking to add ambiance.

    I wonder how they plan on duplicating these so fast in the field and giving them some reasonable packaging (song lists? photos?). Even the most down-to-earth artist probably cares a little about his/her "brand image" and doesn't want to sell a CD with a photocopied insert and magic marker on the cd!
  • What I want to know is how much they had to pay for the rights, and how much of that cost is going to be passed on to the buyers. Will it cost as much as a normal album? less? MORE?
  • I have a little bit of experience in organizing concerts, and I don't think that kind of thing is possible -- at least, not with an optimal quality.

    Recording music is not easy, and recording (good) live music is twice as difficult. You have to contend with all kind of stuff that does not happen in a studio recording (audience noise, larsen possibilities, interferences, etc).

    Sometimes, if the band is good and the audience having a good time, a concert can be interrupted for several minutes by applause and shouts -- things that are usually not very interesting to hear on a CD... =)

    Most of these things are usually corrected once the concert is over by qualified sound engineers -- a process which can take several weeks, even with high-caliber people using good hardware -- but live music straight to CD? I don't think so.

    Of course, I may be wrong, and I'll be interested in any and all rebuttals... =)
  • by jarrell ( 545407 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:15AM (#5257952)
    All you need is a huge rack of cd-duplicator machines... You can buy boxes that you just drop the cd into the top, and a stack of 5, 10, even 20 drives immediately clone the disk. I've even seen some that clone the disk, then drop it into a disk printer. Since concerts generally have the same order, you predo the jewel case inserts, and pre silk-screen the blanks. Record off the mixing board onto a digital source, and immediately burn to a master cd, and drop that into the first duplicator. Then burn another, and drop that into the next duplicator. If you bring a truck to the concert with all that stuff pre-racked and powered, you could easily start churning out a couple of hundred cds every 15 minutes or so.
  • I would be willing to bet the quality won't be so great. I speak from some experience. First, some background: My DVD player refuses to play CD-Rs, which I think is understandable because most of them are ripped songs from KaZaA or something. My band at school just released a CD of music this month. They had it professionally made, although I am not quite sure of the process they used. My DVD player refuses to play it. If the "professionals" spent at least a month (the band was recording in December) making the CDs, and my DVD player sees it as a CD-R, how can these guys do any better in a few minutes?
  • Seriously... if a big company like ClearChannel is doing this, the RIAA has been consulted and is involved.

    In all honsety, I think this is a great idea, assuming it can be done well. First, it will discourage artists that can't really sing/play instruments but rely on heavy post-production to make them sound good. Second, it's a good service to the fans. Third, if set up right, it could be a reasonable revenue stream for the artists -- and an incentive. Think about it... they're going to want to make every performance fantastic if they want the fans to buy the CD at the end of the concert.
  • With credit-card sized MP3 recorders, it has become almost trivial to record any concert you go to. But being able to get a professional recording of a live concert for a decent price (and $15 seems OK for that service) both makes money for the organizer and gives a better result to the buyer.

    Of course, what's particularly neat about this is that it's not a recording company but a radio station network that is doing this (AFAIK, ClearChannel doesn't own any recording companies): they are taking away business from the traditional recording companies. It's another way in which companies are nibbling away at the traditional markets of the recording industry.

  • It's a trick, you see. Of course Clear Channel mainly just promotes interchangeable froth like 'N Sync and Britney. Since bands like these never actually sing, they always just lip-sync to their latest album, all they have to do is sell you that album -- and charge extra for it!

    I'm in awe of such sneakiness...

    [for that matter, they could probably sell a different band's album, and half the concert goers wouldn't realize it ...]
  • passing out AOL cds.

    Just say no.
  • ..of the law of KISS ! (Keep It Simple Stupid)

    Because of the hurry You must have a simple microphone config.

    Because of the hurry You can't process/"adapt" etc the sound to very often inferior levels the usual CD-recording deps use to do.

    Because of all this it will often result in a more dynamic and unfiltrated music.

  • They'll react the way they always react: take your money, complain about those damn pirates, lobby their Senators to have you put in jail, and then take your money again. Share and enjoy!

    (Not sure how much this would involve the RIAA anyway: live performance royalties are more of an ASCAP/BMI thing.)
  • As long as they have _some_ reliable feed from the equipment (and it definitely is somewhere after pre-amplifiers and mixers) all they need is to digitize and record it in real time (professional sound card + large hard drive or RAID), then just dump it to a CD (regular CD, if you forgot what it is, does not use any compression). If you are in a hurry, use CD-R.
  • Some bands already do this to a certain extent. Mostly bands on independent labels, but they will let anyone with a tape recorder/minidisc/etc plug in their device directly to the mixing console .. so they can get a good sounding copy for free. as opposed to paying for a bad sounding bootleg.

    Another example is pearl jam, who released a recording of every city they played on their 2001 tour.

    Sounds like a good deal. Although I don't exactly know who would buy a recording of Britney - live at the Verizon amphitheater.. ;)

  • by Overt Coward ( 19347 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:37AM (#5258063) Homepage
    When the boy band du jour finishes their lip-synching performance on stage, Clear Channel can just have the soundtracks ready to go...
  • Will the recording process suffer due to the hurry?

    As a general rule, if a song takes five minutes to play, it will also take five minutes to record it. You can leave the mic on for an extra 10 minutes but that won't improve the sound quality.

    My experience with all this is 1) Basically amateur and 2) totally restricted to classical music. Nevertheless, I will jump in!

    Studio tracks have a couple of features that won't be duplicated here:
    1) No background noise. Well, duh.
    2) No remixing, dubbing, computer enhancement, etc. If the bassist comes in a tenth of a second late, a studio can use a computer to timshift his entire track (or just make that one note a tenth of a second longer).
    3) The room often has desirable accoustic properties not duplicated in an arena.
    4) Often, a studio track will be multiple performances blended together.

    Now, a concert recording could, given enough time, take advantage of #2. I don't have enough concert recording to know if the people who make them generally clean them up with a computer, but I believe they do not.

    RIAA react to this, seeing as this is legitimizing one of the oldest forms of music pirating?

    I'd bet dollars to lira that the sales will be legitimized in the eyes of the RIAA by giving them money which they'll proceed to steal from the artists.
  • If you were to stick with the p2p/irc traditions, there would already be a bootleg mp3 copy before the concert started, as well as a cam movie of it.

  • Phish [] is already offering such a service []. They even offer MP3 ($9.95 per concert) or SHN (non-lossy) file formats ($12.95 per concert). They are slowly compiling an archive of downloadable media for all their concert recordings, as well. How ya' like dem apples?
  • For something like this, which they say is going to be elevated to the amphitheater level, wouldn't they want to bring in a CD pressing device, rather than a CD burner?
  • In regards to near-real time live CD's of a concert effect on sales of regular CD's, I think it will probably not affect that much in the way of studio-recorded albums.

    First of all, Clear Channel is charging US$15 per disc, so they've already factored in royalty payment costs to ASCAP and BMI, the two largest music rights organizations in the world. Secondly, there are often big differences between a live performance and a studio-recorded performance; the studio recording has a level of polish that very few live performance versions can equal. In short, in terms of lost revenue to rights holders it's minimal, and in fact could actually add to the revenue of rights holders.

    Mind you, I think if Clear Channel charges around US$11 per disc for these recordings there will be great interest by fans to buy these discs, since at US$11 per disc the incentive to pirate the discs at that price is low.
  • I can just see it now: $15 US for a poorly (if at all) mastered, poorly mixed, off-the-boards burn made in a concert hall with heinous acoustics.

    They'll make millions, of course.

    My mouth waters at the idea of having an instantly-available, decent, recording of some shows I've seen; the Autechre/Tortoise gigs I saw here in Atlanta, or Yo La Tengo last time through, for example. But the ones that'll actually be available? Britney Spears: Live at the Schlitz Arena in Dayton or some such tripe.

    No thanks. And yes, I'm sure it'll be DRM'ed (am I the first person to use that as a verb?) six ways to Sunday. Remember, kids-don't steal music. Or Top 40 radio.

    {Is this first post? I feel dirty somehow...}
  • Oh great... (Score:3, Funny)

    by march ( 215947 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:44AM (#5258094) Homepage
    Oh great... So now, for $15.99 I can get another poor quality, live recording of my favorite band.

    No thanks. I'll wait for them to produce one in the studio so I can actually hear all the instruments and vocals.

  • If you have a million monkeys operating a million CD burners, you can (eventually) create anything.
  • Does anybody really think the RIAA won't be getting a cut of this? Of course they will.
  • The RIAA wants money. They would get it this way too.

    The only difference is that instead of edited highlights of a concert, sold a year after, the item on sale is a direct recording, made at the scene. It would even most likely be of poorer quality, since regular concert recordings are edited, for example leaving out three consecutive minutes of audience screaming, uninteresting talk between the songs, and other stuff that really just subtracts from the overall album quality.

    Your idea of legitimizing piracy is odd. After all, as long as those who own the rights gets paid, it's not piracy, and I for one didn't read anything about Clear Channel intending to sell these recordings without giving anything to the rights owners.

    If anyone could be worried, it's the people that arrange the concerts, since the risk that a concert recording goes wide spread is increased. However, I know very few people that attend concerts just to hear the songs. The songs are almost always on CD already. Most people I know, inlcuding myself, attend concerts to see the artists, to experience the concert itself. And a quick, unedited audio recording certainly wouldn't be a match for that.

    I think it sounds like a great idea, if they indeed have it (remember it isn't confirmed that they do).

  • by Brento ( 26177 ) <{brento} {at} {}> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @09:48AM (#5258117) Homepage
    From the article:
    "the live CDs would probably sell for around $15"

    Probably, eh? Lemme break this down: concert t-shirts are generally $10 at the mall, but $20 at the concert. By that same rule, band CDs are $15 at the mall, so I'm guessing they'll be closer to $30 at the concert.
  • This is great for nostalgia and instant gratification.

    How will the RIAA react to this, seeing as this is legitimizing one of the oldest forms of music pirating? Don't know. Don't care.

    Also, what kind of equipment will have to be used to produce these so fast?

    Uh, a couple cables running from the stereo outs on the mixing board to the line in on a decent PC? Then, after the concert, perhaps a few CD-R drives? The biggest issue would seem to be any editing to get it below 80 minutes, but half-decent audio engineer can trim that stuff down quickly, or they could just do 1 hr shows, or just sell the end, or whatever.

    Will the recording process suffer due to the hurry?

    Duh? Popular musicians typically sound much better with multiple takes and processing. Some artists are good enough that it's not a big factor, and then of course anything that's improvised (*not* Britney Spears) is different each time.. Possibly better in many people's opinion.

    The real killer for an individual live recording for me is sheer nostalgia. I've been to performances that I simply loved. I'd love to take them with me for the rest of my life to listen to and remember back. I've got recordings of a couple of these, but most of them are now lost.

    Of course, for most pop artists that are aiming to do the same set every time (aside from "Hello New York/Chicago/Milwaulkee/Seattle/LA!"), just buying the "Live" CD released 6 months afterwards is accurate enough, but still doesn't offer the immediate gratification of buying it as you walk out the door.

    Plus, a good performance, as opposed to great, often fades in goodness over time, as your 12 year old mind shifts from Britney to Justin. Selling it immediately will likely milk the cash cow more efficiently. Even better, a lot of those little 12 year old suburbanites can afford to buy the single, the album, the poster, the trapper keeper, the lunchbox, and multiple live recordings.

  • least on the upside, they won't be copy-protected... ...on the downside, though, they'll run $50 and be poor acoustically....
  • by io333 ( 574963 )
  • "multiple CD-Rom Burners?"

    If a concert didn't last at least 90 min * encore, i feel cheated. So you can burn 80 min max on an empty CD-R, you need at least 2 Empty ones for the concert.

    And you must also look at the conditions in some arenas or clubs, not exactly equiment friendly.

    But with new Burners in the 52x-Range, mobile racks, and an rxpert soundcheck up front it might be possible

  • What about if the singer's just lipsyncing? For instance, someone like Britney Spears... Wouldn't that be, like, same thing as the studio session, and therefor not duplicable without the studio's consent?

    Also, do they still have to pay royalties to the songwriter for the CD? I mean, technically, they've already paid royalties to perform the song in public, and these are the exact same people who listened to it at the concert, so do they have to pay another royalty for the recorded version as well?
  • Grab the concert goer when they are still excited about the concert they just saw - I just hope that the artists get a nicer cut than anyone else!
  • Clear Channel (owner of every radio station in America)

    They do not own all the radio stations.. even by their own admission [].

    And according to this Byte article [] they are not even that good. Too many advertisements, the same dull chart songs everywhere. Apparently they have real competition in the satellite radio market too, but I am not American so this is just all hearsay to me :)

    There is always NPR [] too!

  • The license to burn copies will either be included in the cost of the ticket (even if you don't want a burned copy), or it'll be in the price of the burned copy. The RIAA won't lose out.
  • First off, Clear Channel doesn't own every radio station in america. They just have a whole lot of em. Secondly, I think its a great idea. This might be the alternative revenue stream that the RIAA is looking for.

    Now, I bet CC will take a big cut, but if this takes off and the RIAA members start posting profits again, it is going to be much harder to persue digital rights management (and other agendas) on the internet.

    Alternately, this will make a media conclomerate even more entrenched in the music business. They make the shows, they play what they want on the radio, and now they are cornering the final avenue of the music industry, CD's. A great idea by a monopoly sometimes isn't a great idea for everybody.
  • Clear Channel does not own every radio station in the States ... for one, there is NPR [] in the non-commercial sector, and Sirius [] in the satellite radio market.

    I am not American but according to Andy Patrizio [] at, Clear Channel stations all basically play the same songs and are full of ads?

  • Actually, it's about time. Concert traders have been doing this for many years - taping then trading shows with the band permission. There is no reason why the music can't adopt this method in a easier, commercial form. My only worry is that if they are offering this, then they may stop the trading of shows from fans.
  • I think they could do this right if there is money in it and they treat it seriously. I've been to concerts before and the camera work for the big screen monitors was done so well, I had to keep telling myself it was live. So if they can handle video, audio should be a snap. I saw Tina Turner about two years ago (wife dragged me :), and couldn't believe how well the camera work was done. Obviously, every step in that concert was carefully planned, including the camera guy that ran behind her with the camera near the ground pointing upwards at one point. But nonetheless, it was all flawless and if they sold DVDs even weeks later of it, I'd have bought it in a heartbeat.

    Now CD ... dunno. Some artists who are brilliant in the studio can really suck live, like Dream Theater. (to be fair, the muscians are always spot on, it's LaBrie that has troubles during some concerts and that can detract from the entire experience...)

  • Will the recording process suffer due to the hurry?

    During the early Lasnerian 80's, "Direct to Disk" (where Disk == 33 RPM vinyl) was proudly displayed on many classical album covers. The idea was to minimize re-mixing and intermediate (mostly analog) processing to make the recording as authentic as possible.

    In part this was in response to over-remixed records produced in the previous decade or two. It was also, in hindsight, mostly (but not entirely) a gimmick, a way to get someone to buy yet another copy of Beethoven's nth.

    That said, the Clear Channel recordings will obviously be done with an audience, not in a "quiet" studio, etc. Exactly as advertised, in fact.

  • YESSS! With clearchannel leading that pack that means that we can now get live CDs from bands like..

    Boston.. Bon Jovi.. Creed.. Milli Vanilli Part Deux.. Led Zeplin Remembered Again.. Bon Jovi.. Creed.. Boston!.. Led Zeplin.... Creed.. Creed..

  • A. Clear Channel doesn't own every radio statino in America. They own a lot, but nowhere close to all of them.

    B. CD's are already being created on the fly at shows. Have been for years. I remember seeing this at least two years ago at a local band's show. A simple CD duplicator can spit 'em out *fast*. This is about as groundbreaking as taking tickets at the entrance to a show.
  • Entire concert on CD within 10 minutes of the last note.

    Entire concert on Kazaa within 1 hour of the last note!
  • Will the recording process suffer due to the hurry?

    Well the obvious comment is that there won't be any time for mixing, it'll just be as it comes, warts and all. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'd be surprised if the average quality is good enough that this becomes a popular scheme. It'll have a certain novelty value at first, but I'd guess that the public will quickly become dissatisfied with how these recordings sound...

  • I would love to have the option of buying a CD of the concert that I just heard. It would make expensive concerts seem like you get a little more value because you can actually take the memories away with you.

    You really have to wonder about the concequenses though. Bands would immediatly have their concert converted to MP3 and on the net within hours. Would people stop going to concerts?
  • How is this "legitimizing one of the oldest forms of music pirating"?. Money from selling these recordings would of course go to the artists playing at the concert.

  • by tyrani ( 166937 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @10:25AM (#5258307)
    This is a great idea. I would love to buy a CD of the concert that I just experienced. I think everyone who's ever attended a concert and seen all of the audio production going on has thought why the concert producers couldn't do something like this. Being able to take an actual piece of the concert away with you would add a lot of value to expensive concerts.

    However, bands would have to worry about concert sales. I'm sure that a couple of hours after a concert ends, all of the audio would be all over the net. Would this effect record sales?
  • A *lot* ob bands have always actively encouraged audio bootlegging of their shows; it was the "p2p" before there was p2p, and a really good way to keep your audience's goodwill - "wow, i can go to the concert and make a tape to take home? cool."
  • I think it is a definite possibility. I don't really see how the (quality) process would suffer. They wouldn't have time to "doctor" the sound in the studio, which is a good thing. Just have a seperate mixing board in a truck with the burners and their you go. It doesn't have to be perfect. Most concerts rarely are.

    I would rather hear a true live performance than a "live CD" that has gone through several studio sessions that fix all of shortcomings.
  • Will the recording process suffer due to the hurry?

    All they need to do, is be able to write onto a CD at an acceptable average speed, say 20x. That gives you a three minute burn. Now you paralelize the task, and make a van full of 30 writers, and presto: spectator comes and asks for CD, 10 seconds later (nominally) he gets a CD.

    It's basically what fast food chains do.

    I really doubt they're going to skip bit rows in order to speed up the process and give you shoddy material. They will give you shoddy material because they want to give you shoddy material.

    On another note though, the recording will not be mastered, which can make a hell of a difference.

  • In this year's tour, you'll be able to hear mp3s of the show the next day, and will get the CD within a week.

    In 2000, they released CDs of all their shows, but they came out after the tour ended.

    I don't imagine the clear channel ones will cost $12 for a double CD.
  • Sad part is... (Score:2, Informative)

    by PhyrePhox ( 218873 )
    Most bootleg tapes, made from one point stereo mics or quasi-binaural mics mounted in eyeglasses, would sound better than a tape from the mixer. The mix would be for the live show, and would sound weird on tape, without the acoustic sounds from the room. I doubt very seriously that CC is going to pony up for a snake split and a second mixer to make an actual "live mix" that would sound like something worth $15. Board tapes are only good for the band to listen to afterward to see where they screwed up/did something cool. If they are gonna just set up a stereo mic pair somewhere in the house and feed it directly into a two-track recorder, they _are_ bootlegging the concert, just like any other Deadhead.
  • by bsletten ( 20271 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @10:31AM (#5258340)
    ...with their recent Holiday run []. The New Year's Eve show was available for download one or two days after the concert as either MP3s or SHNs (lossless compression see Etree [] for more on the common formats). The price was reasonable ($11/$14 depending on compression) for the equivalent of three CDs of music. The cool thing is that they still allow tapers to record and trade the shows, you just can't trade these sanctioned downloads which presumably sound better. It's a very cool idea though.
  • If you're paying for it and it's and "official recording of the concert" - emphasis on "official" - then how the fuck is this piracy? Sheesh!
  • But will the official bootleg include the asshole behind me yelling at me to sit down? :)
  • "Will the recording process suffer due to the hurry?"

    Compared to bootlegs from a recorder in the shirt pocket? I don't think so.

    They'd just use the output from the sound board.
  • ... Milli Vanilli were doing this years ago.
  • by kraksmoka ( 561333 ) <> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @10:39AM (#5258374) Homepage Journal
    is the new model that the musicians should be embracing. come to our concerts and pay us. pay more to record for yourself. buy an occasional album, a couple of t-shirts and follow the tour for a couple weeks. trade our music to anyone to make sure that they hear us and do the same.

    all the sudden you have a following and a few dollars in your pocket for your troubles

    i'm not a phish head, but i have been to a show. have plenty of friends who can't live without em. . . .

    too bad CC has basically taken over concert promotion in addition to the radio. . . ..

  • How's zat again? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bmetzler ( 12546 ) <bmetzler @ l i v e . com> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @11:06AM (#5258525) Homepage Journal
    How will the RIAA react to this, seeing as this is legitimizing one of the oldest forms of music pirating?

    How does the fact that a concert promoter licenses the ability to create concert CD's legitimize music pirating. This is no different then them playing the music on stations, or selling the bands other CD's. In every case I'm sure that proper royalties are being paid.

  • Interesting idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gojira Shipi-Taro ( 465802 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @11:16AM (#5258572) Homepage
    Too bad Clear Channel isn't likely to sponsor concerts by bands I actually give a shit about.

    Now that I think of it, they'll be sponsoring "acts" rather than bands. Performers with nameless backup musicians, rather than groups with musicians whose names are known.

    I think $15 is a little excessive, considering for a Clear Channel concert you're already paying around $100 a ticket (from what I've read).

    As to the "what does the RIAA think of this" quesiton, I'm sure the licensing and fees are already part of this. The RIAA is probably just trying to figure out how to get them to cripple these "instant" concert CDs...
    • Re:Interesting idea (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cei ( 107343 )
      Ok, so Peter Gabriel may be an "act" rather than a "band", but I'd have to take issue with anyone calling Tony Levin [] a "nameless backup musician." During the band introduction on Gabriel's last tour (promoted by Clear Channel), Tony's intro got an amazing response from the crowds.

      All session players are NOT created equal.
  • by RedX ( 71326 ) <redx@w i d e> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @11:16AM (#5258575)
    Pearl Jam announced a few months ago that for their world tour that's about to begin this month, they'll be putting a live CD of a show on sale within a week of the show. Better yet, if you order via their website [], you have the opportunity to download the unmastered MP3 version of the show the day after each show. For people that didn't already know, Pearl Jam released a concert CD for each show of their last show, around $10 from their website IIRC. Very interesting to note that if you go to, they are advertising this Pearl Jam deal in big graphics on their front page. FYI, Epic Records is a division of the evil Sony, one of the most vocal RIAA members.
  • by walmass ( 67905 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @11:22AM (#5258601)
    You think the RIAA bandits wouldn't be getting a cut of the proceeds? They probably thought this up to stop the concert-pirating.

    As for quality: this will come from the sound equipment straight to the recording device, and they will stamp out CDs. Much better than a crappy hand-held cassette-recorder can do. Yes, the quality will not be as good as a studio album, but you want the live album, right?

  • equipment needed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ibennetch ( 521581 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [hctenneb]> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @11:28AM (#5258630) Journal
    All you really need to do this is to split each of the signals, run it to a seperate sound board, the output of which feeds either a computer or stand alone CD recorder. Then you just get a huge pile of cd-r media and racks of cd duplicators...[near] instant copies. Not hard and can be done rather cheaply -- the biggest cost would probably be the duplicators -- we've got a 1x7 that runs at 24x that cost over a grand, as I recall -- you could easily get 20 or 30 thousand in duplicators.
  • This will work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by puppetluva ( 46903 ) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @12:46PM (#5258940)
    I did a consulting gig with ClearChannel a few years ago and a fellow consultant suggested this to them then. There are many reasons this is a good idea:

    1) Artists own their own performances. This is the reason why Record Labels don't really make money off of concerts. It is up to them and their artist representation as to what they do with their recordings of them.
    2) CDs distributed at street-level and concerts are an effective form of promotion - one that is very effective. . . The Wu-Tang Clan and The Grateful Dead know this cold and they did great even though they NEVER got airplay. (CCU is diluting their radio prowess a bit here - but don't thell them that).
    3) Music has a great "hook" into your memory. How many times have you heard a piece of music and it reminded you of some past situation when you heard it? How great would it be to have the EXACT rendition of that concert and the good time your friends had? Bill Graham (the famous San Fran concert promoter) both understood this and encouraged it.
    4) If you love a band (say RadioHead), and you go to more than one of their concerts (say MSG and Philly Spectrum), wouldn't you like to buy them both if they were unique experiences? How about a digital season's pass (over the web) to ALL of their concerts? (with video). Would you pay the equivalent of a box-set to have that kind of access? I would. . . most people would for their favorite band (if they have the coin).

    The sky is the limit with these opportunities and there isn't much that the RIAA can do about it. This is the kind of liberation tha technology makes possible. . . There is more value because there is more PRODUCT. There is more product, because there is more access to the ARTIST. Let's hope this catches on before the Label's start asking for exclusive rights to concerts and concert-proceeds.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.