Live Music Comes to iTunes

It’s such an obvious idea it’s amazing it didn’t happen sooner. Wired reports that Apple 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?

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