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Live Music Comes to iTunes

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It’s such an obvious idea it’s amazing it didn’t happen sooner. Wired reports that Apple (s aapl) has teamed up with promoter Live Nation to bring Live music to its iTunes Store.

The reason for the delay is the tremendous difficulty getting all the required signatures on all the dotted lines. For each live performance to be made available to consumers, the performers, their management companies, record labels, venue management, promoters and countless others must have forged some sort of agreement deemed of value to them all. That’s far from easy, but it helps if you happen to own the venues; Wired’s Eliot Van Buskirk says that Apple and Live Nation are the owners of the more than 80 venues featured in the collection of live shows.

While Apple has made live performances available in the iTunes Store in the past, they was never marshaled together into one single place and made so easily searchable. As you’d expect, it’s possible to search the Live music by genre and artist, but it’s also possible to search by venue. Flagship Apple Stores are often the venues for intimate live shows and they’re now just a click away; Montreal, Sydney, London and New York’s SOHO stores are just a few of the locations in the list. (The mind boggles at the legal wrangling that must have taken place to clear the worldwide rights for those performances…)

A section is also reserved for highlighting iPhone apps that also deliver, or are connected with, Live music.

The content isn’t just reserved for music, either. Videos of Live performances are also available, and as you probably guessed already, do cost a bit more than music alone. Concert videos start at $8 and go as high as $13 while straight audio shows are usually in the $8 range.

I’d have thought this universally good news for music fans, though John Paczkowski, in his Digital Daily column for The Wall Street Journal, writes (somewhat sarcastically);

This year, Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, will put on some 22,000 live shows – each one attended by carping about the asinine “convenience” and “courtesy” charges the company likes to tack on to ticket purchases. Funny, isn’t it, how quickly a $28 show can become a $50 one?

So, in light of the news of Live Nation’s content partnership with Apple, and with tongue firmly in cheek, Paczkowski asks, “Does this mean we can expect a Live Nation ‘iTunes Convenience Fee’?”

I haven’t had a lot of luck with “Live” recordings of my favorite artists. The occasional missed note, a bit of microphone feedback or occasional volume dropouts are to be expected in a live setting and if I’m standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other fans, y’know, there in person, I’ll forgive every imperfection.

Having those imperfections reproduced on my iPod or desktop speakers, though…it just doesn’t seem right. I barely listen to the few live albums I own. I can’t imagine wanting to spend real money on any more.

What do you think? Am I in a minority? Should I just shut up and go back to my gramophone? Is iTunes Live Music gonna be claiming your hard-earned green?

10 Responses to “Live Music Comes to iTunes”

  1. Audio of live performances tends to be pretty poor compared to the studio albums but on video it is a chance to see the group in action. I only have a few live CDs, but many live concert videos.

  2. the idea of bringing live music on ipod is just awesome. searching from such a huge library of live music is gr8 but paying for live performances may not be such a popular idea such as podcasting . watching or listening a live performance on on ipod is just not as good as the actual one . .

  3. i believe monetizing the live music experience is one of the biggest opportunities for growth in the music industry heading into 2010.

    i think there’s an important distinction to be made though…plenty of fans that go to the show will walk away wanting to “relive” the experience, as long as it wasn’t (i.e.) your standard Britney show from the night before.

    if the venues can provide great sound recording equipment, it can spell future revenue opportunities for everyone involved.


  4. I was impressed by the U2 Rose Bowl concert from Youtube, I saw the replay several times. The result was that I bought one of the $95 seats for the June 16th show in Oakland, the first rock concert ticket I’ve bought since Jefferson Starship in the late 70s.

    But what if I had to pay to see the U2 Rose Bowl show on iTunes? I would not have paid for it, probably, which means I would not have bought the U2 ticket.

    That said, most concert goers no doubt will pay $10, let’s say, to see their favorite band, especially if they couldn’t get tickets. Livenation is going to make a bunch of money from this. Overall good development.

  5. So its now an honour to be able to pay Itunes for recordings that are circulated by fans for free and easily availble worldwide with current technology – and search enabled by google? And the high quality recordings that fans make now “upgraded” to 128kbps Mp3 or AAC files?

    Wow, what a “bargain”- no thanks.

  6. I love live music, but I’m not going to pay Apple for it, when I can choose from almost 71000 shows from nearly 4000 bands, all for free, over at the Internet Archive’s Live Music Archive. And that doesn’t even count the Grateful Dead section, which has nearly every Dead show ever recorded.