Jam bands like the Grateful Dead and Phish have always been ahead of the curve with how they let their fans record their concerts because as Jerry Garcia famously said, “Once we’re done with it, it’s theirs.”
These bands have always made more money on their tours than record sales anyway and because each show was uniquely different, fans created a community around the trading of bootleg tapes on sites such as etree.org
Phish made the jump to digital and saw an opportunity to feed the demand for high quality recordings of their concerts and turned it into a business on their site, livephish.com. The site featured high quality FLAC format recordings of their concerts just days after each show. Included with each download was a pdf file of artwork related to the show, title tracks with timings, all formatted to fit into the standard jewel case for the CDs that you’d burn at home.
The downloads are non-DRM but are priced such that it’s really not worth trading anyway (unless you want to gift someone) and the site offers special discounts for people that order all concerts from a tour in advance, kind of a futures market for the band’s performances.
Today I got an email which explains their latest innovation in conjunction with a big show they are doing for Halloween in California where they will famously appear in “band costume” and play an entire album from a yet-to-be-announced other band.
THE HOUSE OF LIVE PHISH
It’s back for Festival 8 with a nice twist. Get out of the heat, the House Of Live Phish will be air conditioned! Think you can do a better job mixing Phish? The House will feature mix-your-own-track stations complete with skilled instructors from ProMedia, and you’ll be able to re-mix tracks from this Summer’s Tour while drinking a Shasta (Wait, scratch that last part — Shasta’s just pulled out). Final tracks will be uploaded to a blog at livephish.com for everyone’s listening pleasure.
Also, everyone who visits the House of Live Phish will receive a free card redeemable for a Live Phish Summer 09 Sampler. Download and burn your own sampler onto CD using a Mac from our buddies at Small Dog Electronics in Vermont, or just enjoy listening to any of the songs at LivePhish.com on a Sonos listening station.
We’re also making each show from the weekend available on slotMusic micro SD cards, so that you can grab them on your way out of the concert field and listen back right away. Each card comes with a USB sleeve ensuring interoperability with all computers as well a microSD-enabled mobile phones and MP3 players. Listen to the concert on your way back to your campsite (you will never not be listening to Phish. Get used to it). Stop by the Phish Dry Goods tent for more details.
Letting fans remix their shows and uploading them to a site so that others can listen in? Cool!
Providing a kiosk where fans can download their favorite tracks from the tour and take them home on a CD? Nice!
Liked the show? Grab a microSD of the show on your way home. Priceless!