Archive for March, 2009

March 31, 2009

Reading Festival leaves the metal behind

In what was the last big festival announcement for the summer, Reading Festival revealed its hand to a slightly surprised audience.  The fact that there is not one heavy rock band headlining will disappoint many but the fact remains that in these incredibly competitive times it is vital for a festival to offer a competitive advantage, especially as punters are keeping a closer eye on their funds.  KOL are clearly famous enough to be headlining – as shifting units is a pre-requisite for getting people through the gates – there has been no-one better than that during the last twelve months – even though they are appearing just about everywhere at the moment.  Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead on the other hand are playing no where else in Britain throughout the summer, which offers Reading quite a strong USP and after the Arctics incendiary performance there in 2006, coming on before Muse on the Saturday night, who can deny them a place at the summit.   No words can describe the brilliance of a Radiohead performance – expect this one to be truly memorable.                                                              

While many fans may scoff at the mainstream – safe presence of these three bands at least they are all sticking to the one partner this summer –
With too many festivals clogging up the English summer there is clearly not enough bands to go round – Glastonbury’s three headliners can be seen flirting withHyde Park the same weekend – (Blur the following) while Neil Young is whoring it with the Isle of Wight as well. 

This exclusivity is hard to come by in a crowded market place – many European and American festivals don’t have the same problem because of less festivals and larger distances between each one. Britain is oversubscribed and yet there are still festivals appearing for the first time – Sonisphere at Knebworth Park has emerged as a heavy rock competitor for Download, which is probably why Reading felt it had to re-adjust its position yet again to remain a significant  feature of the festival calender.  It’s probably the reason why its been rocking since 1971.

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March 20, 2009

Live music in your living room

With the live music scene in huge demand – PRS for Music recently announced it had finally succeeded recorded music in gross revenue – and tickets increasingly hard to procure at a reasonable price, as long as the touts are free to dominate – yet again the digital community is keen to cash in on the popularity.  If you missed out on Michael Jackson tickets then in the not-too-distant future people could be able to view his gigs ,along with many others, through live-on-line streaming….

The digital world has infiltrated and re-facilitated recorded music beyond recognition, now they want to get in on the live act.   Awdio – a digital live music broadcaster is starting to court the attention of Live Nation, with the clout of such an influential live promoter the new streaming system could become a serious feature in the years to come.  Of course this time the industry will be opening their arms to such a venture, as it doesn’t directly threaten live revenue like downloads did for recorded music.   Although nothing in the digital world could replace the visceral experience of the gig……or could it!!!

Already virtual reality games, like Second Life,  reconstruct real-life communities through social interaction and cultural experiences – this virtual world could be transformed to a live music experience, played through a home theatre system to capture the visual and audio essence of a real gig.  All you need is a sensory device to reproduce the smells and you could be transported to any venue you wish – minus overpriced lager and sweaty crowd – nothing you’d miss then!

March 10, 2009

YouTube flex their muscles

YouTube has had several years of dominating the Internet landscape with huge chunks of their content infringing copyright while simultaneously sticking two fingers up at the record companies. It was rather like Robin Hood – satisfying the needy while screwing  the bigwigs. Now the tables have turned…..
I suspect we are now entering a different phase of digital society. The famous gunslingers of the wild-west are now kings of the castle and sitting on a fortune (well parent company Google are), no longer content with persevering with their altruistic methods – we may see a radical overhaul of the Internet system for watching and streaming music. Now the key players have created demand and established their brand – entrenched their importance in a relatively new and unlimited market – we will see a slight shift in ideology.

Quite clearly the current model is not earning YouTube enough money or they would be willing to pay the Performing Rights Society the required fees.  The reluctance and subsequently slow facilitation of advertising on these sites has created little demand among the advertisers.  Now sites like YouTube are getting millions of viewers on a daily basis you would think the advertisers would be queuing to sign up.  Not so…..That initial reluctance to embrace the advertising world  has created a disinterest among many major companies – who are now unwilling to offer premium advertising rates.   Which could lead to a YouTube style subscription service or a similar type of model. 

With a global community of millions, YouTube could feel now is the time to act and utilize their popularity.  No one know’s who is to blame for this self-imposed embargo – whether it’s YouTube offering less or PRS asking for more isn’t the big issue,  we have now seen YouTube exert its huge digital influence in a gesture that’s sure to panic the industry.  Now they’ve mobilised their power we are sure to see them use it.