USB Music

Something that popped in my head as we were waiting for Alabama 3 to start, was offering the gig as a product. 

Imagine recording the concert live onto MP3, straight from the mixing desk.  Then you could copy the MP3 onto cheap, low storage USB memory keys for selling to people as they leave the venue. 

USB keys are pretty cheap these days and if you add on a pound or two for making a profit, you’ve got a nice little money making scheme, and a cheap way of promoting your band.

Or am I being daft?

21 thoughts on “USB Music”

  1. Selling the concert is a nice idea, but the USB key is probably a little OTT.It would be cheaper to copy onto CD, and that way it ensures maximum compatability for people who don't have a PC to plug the USB key into.

    But as I said – distributing the concert to people straight after it happened is a cracking idea.

  2. A while ago I heard on the radio (iirc) that some bands were selling a CD of the gig that people had just heard right after the show. A quick google search brought up this page, which seems similar to what you are suggesting.

  3. When bands/artists/performers play venues the sound is mixed for the accoustics of the room, to give the best possible sound for that gig. (The best sound is actually right in front of the mixing desk so stand there at the next gig!) If you were to record the sound out of the desk, it would sound flat, and incredibly poo. The way round it would be for line outs to be taken track by track from the desk, into another desk, Remix the sound and then record it.

  4. I've heard of bands doing something pretty much like this, selling a CD of the concert immediately afterwards. Floated around last year; I don't know if it took off or not.Doing it with USB keys is much the same concept, although more expensive – you can sell a CD copy for, say, 1+music_cost, whereas the USB key might cost 10+music_cost, which would prove quite expensive and possibly limit your sales.


  5. it would take longer to burn the disks, wheras simply copying to a usb key would be fairly quick

  6. Bob Schneider does this at his concerts. I went to one a few months back and 5 or 10 minutes after the show ended they had a stack of live CDs for sale.

  7. surely that would depend on the capacity of the memory stick. Get a lowish capacity keyring one, print it up with the band name and you've got a nice merchandise deal there.merys

  8. it would take longer to burn the disks, wheras simply copying to a usb key would be fairly quick

  9. The Pixies did this on their tour last year; the company manufacturing the CDs was DiscLive. There's another company called eMusic who were talking about doing the same thing with USB dongles (selling you the dongle if you don't have one already.)

    But of course, ClearChannel put a stop to all that! ClearChannel bought the patent on “recording a concert and burning a CD right away”, and are now claiming the exclusive right to sell CDs after shows.

    Yay ClearChannel.


  10. The bonus of Keyring music (from the industry's standpoint) is that you could encode the concert in a proprietary format that would only play on a bundled jukebox. Alternately you could use Microsoft's DRM or iTunes and simply include a unique key which then requires authentication with a server. Dabs sells 64Mb keys for as little as 6. Buy in bulk and you are probably looking at less thana a fiver – add a logo etc… you could probably flog them for as much as 20 each.

  11. I have seen litte USB keys in the format of a credit card, they were given as promotional gists at a conference, I can't imaginge they were expensive (certainly not the prices quoted above for keyring USBs which sound like retail prices – what's the mark up these days on consumables ?). That format means you can have a lovely print on them and no worries about packaging which you would have with CDs.Nice idea

  12. Well, if you were that way inclined you could put DRM on it as well.But…The Grateful Dead managed to do pretty well with an active bootlegging market. How better do you think sales would be if you could get live stuff over the internet, it would promote your band quite a bit don't you think?

    (There are a tonne of other copyfighters who could put this arguement better than me – and I don't feel particularly up to rehashing the same stuff)

  13. “Alabama” are a different band to “Alabama 3”, although I do believe that Alabama is the reason why Alabama 3 is known as A3 in America…And yes, I'm looking forward to that dinner, although I'm _still_ waiting for info on how to pay for my Reboot tickets…

  14. It would require special equipment to make enough copies fast enough to make a worthwhile profit.A concert recorded at a decent bitrate is likely to be around 100MB in size. Copying 100MB even with USB 2.0 is likely to take 20 seconds. Since copying cannot proceed before the show has actually ended (for obvious reasons), you would need a massively parallel copying facility to be able to produce enough copies for the crowd yearning to get home but maybe willing to wait 1 minute to complete a transaction to buy the show.

    So it would probably be better to ditch the flashcard part of it and just let people sign up to have a copy of the gig sent to them via gmail or as a bittorrent seed.

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