The Internet has undoubtedly transformed the music industry and radically altered the way we consume music. From mp3’s and cloud storage to buying music streaming subscriptions, the way we interact with music has changed forever. While all that may be good for us ‘consumers’, it’s not been a barrel of laughs for industry types and musicians – who have seen sales of music dwindle to such levels that even a company as iconic as HMV has hit the buffers.
There’s one aspect of ‘music consumption’ that hasn’t yet fallen into the internet’s money-draining trap, though, and that’s live music. As Noel Gallagher likes to point out whenever he’s interviewed, ticket and merchandise sales are the only way he makes money from his music these days. Unfortunately for him though, the internet is catching up – with better bandwidths and devices with 4G capabilities making it increasingly possible for huge numbers of internet users to live stream events. Last year Coachella broadcast sections of the festival live on YouTube, and the burgeoning market of illegal live sports streams on the net suggests it won’t be long until gigs are being broadcast all over the internet without the artists control.
For now, though, consuming live music online relies on unearthing the quality pre-recorded and very much artist-approved material, and here’s my favourite ways of doing it:
BBC iPlayer Radio
The Beeb’s radio version of its iPlayer service is a veritable treasure trove of classic live performances – as long as you’re willing to hunt them out. My personal favourite is Radiohead’s headline performance at Glastonbury 1997.
Good old YouTube. Whenever I fancy a quick blast of live music I always turn to the mega-popular video sharing site – which is perfect for quick fixes rather than the more prolonged experience of iPlayer. As favourites go, these take some beating:
As well as the above, there’s a few decent amateur sites where you can discover new and unknown musicians. They allow musicians to set up live feeds of themselves performing – which anyone can watch and comment on.
There’s also the usual streaming sites like Spotify, Grooveshark, Rdio et al, which all feature just about every decent live album ever recorded.
Do you watch/listen to much live music online? Let me know what services you use in the comments below…