Concerts in the Cloud Part 2

Last week I looked at the effectiveness and ethics of concert attendees recording and uploading live footage to the internet. The consensus on the internet seems to be weighted on the side of it being more harm than good. Despite promotional uses, people waving their phones around at a concert takes away too much from the experience and ultimately harms all parties involved.

This week I want to move on to a different form of “concerts in the clouds”. While it is easy to hate on the people recording performances on their phone during concerts, what can be said when artists or venues live stream and upload concerts? It’s a similar crime with a different perpetrator. But is it really a crime? Many services and sites exist that bring live performances to online viewers. Not only does it capture an intimate concert experience and extend it to the cloud, but it does so often in its entirety. Some sites offer thousands of concerts available for viewing for a subscription-based membership. Should this be a cause of concern for reasons stated from last week? Or is this a new breed entirely? Do people look down on this or is it more accepted? Below is a video about IRocke, a massive concert streaming services that spans countless venues and artists.

The fact that there are so many concert streaming services indicates that it must be at least partially accepted by the music industry. Concert Window, a streaming service based out of New York, is ran by “musicians, music lovers and tech enthusiasts.” IRocke is another extensive concert streaming site, with both of its founders being involved in the entertainment industry (one was involved with MCA/Universal and the other a venue owner). These are bound to not be the only examples of streaming services being handled by members of the music industry. Also, a majority of the streaming services work directly with the acts that they stream, giving them a portion of revenue earned. With venue owners, artists and other personalities involved in the creation and running of these sites, there isn’t too much of an ongoing conversation about whether it’s “wrong” or “right”.
The main objection that can be found on the matter is that streaming high definition concerts will deter people from going through the hassle of buying a ticket and physically attending the show. Sure, people are still paying some amount to view the stream, but they aren’t physically present to add to the experience and intimacy of a concert. A concert on a computer, phone or TV screen is less dimensional than actually being surrounded by the loud, energetic atmosphere of a show.
Despite the concern of losing potential physical concert goers, many venue owners and musicians see concert streaming as a way of promotion and expanding their reach. Forbes’ calls it a, “nice additive to the concert-going experience.” Alex Pham of Billboard says in a USA Today article that it doesn’t harm ticket sales, but, “drum(s) up excitement for the events.”
The video below features Nic Adler from the Roxy Theatre commending the use of streaming concerts, as well as connecting concerts to social media to help better future performances.

The ethical landscape for professional concert streaming seems to be getting a nearly unanimous thumbs up. Beyond ethics, it is almost indisputable that streaming has effectively helped bands and musicians with promotion and branding. This infographic, featured in the aforementioned Forbes article, displays the huge reach of streaming, as well as the continued growth in ticket sales revenue for festivals that are generally broadcast online.
I think Forbes summarizes the music industry’s use of streaming the best by saying,
“In the past five years, music festival and concert producers have quickly adopted live streaming as a surefire way to increase social media engagement, attract more advertisers, strengthen brands, and ultimately grow revenue.”
It may seem interesting, the contrast of opinion between fans uploading and streaming concerts and concert producers and sites doing the same thing. In summary, the distinction can maybe be put like this.
Concert goers streaming performances
  • Distracts performer and other attendees
  • Often poor quality
  • Detracts from the user’s personal experience

Sites and services streaming performances

  • Always have artists’ consent
  • Artists’ generally make some form of profit from streaming
  • High quality
  • Beneficial to the promotion and branding of artists

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

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