Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The New Karaoke?

Ever since Napster, those embracing the Internet music revolution have always said musicians should just worry about concerts. Forget albums; share your music, because the new business model for music is about selling concert tickets.

This recent article gives us a taste of how the Internet music revolution may be eating some of its children:

In the audience at a recent Natalie Merchant concert at an 880-seat theater in Los Angeles, Adam Miles couldn't focus. The man to his left was holding up his cell phone, shooting video. "Please," Mr. Miles asked his neighbor, "turn it off." A few songs later, the phone lit up again, and the San Diego harbor police officer got more commanding: "Hey, dude. You're going to have to put that away. You're ruining the show for me."

A generation raised on instant, effortless access to all kinds of "live" performance (MP3, Napster, YouTube, iPod) is probably less likely to appreciate and TAKE IN a live performance, as they've never really had to wait for one. Today's young concertgoer hasn't had the same experience of marking the calendar for a new single or album, and I believe part of what makes people salivate and focus is anticipation; anticipation partly spurred by limited access to that which you are anticipating. Distance makes the eardrum grow fond...

More importantly, because every new tool--Facebook, Blackberries, iTelepathy--quickly becomes another enabler of today's cult of self-expression, recording a concert (formerly known as bootlegging) is now more of a: "Look at what I LIKE, look at what I'M EXPERIENCING" maneuver, rather than an attempt to create a collective, Grateful Dead-type vibe.

Maybe we're discovering you can't be a gearhead and a Deadhead.

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