Santana Talks Tech, But…

by guitarkadia on October 21, 2008

in Electric

Santana talks about technology, music distribution, and a gadget he can’t without. (That same gadget is my favorite too!) but misses a crucial factor about making money with his music advantage he has over a lot of other bands.

Do you agree with him regarding music being free? His comparison, however, restricts us to thinking that the only method of music not being free is in the actual song being the only way to make money.

If you ask me, Santana has a better chance of giving away his music free and still make money. If you’ve ever been to his concerts (I have), you know his live performance is the shit! No one will dispute that, I’m sure. He will make money touring and with his merchandising, licensing tracks, selling live concerts.

Selling video/audio of live concerts, or selling while you’re in concert is a big opportunity for a lot of bands to make and promote their music. For bands like Santana or Radiohead…each concert is different because the experience is different. The concert goer remembers it as being special because they’ve had a good time with friends, family or whatever have you. Wouldn’t they like to own a piece of that experience? If you can provide that right there at the concert, you will make money.

Here’s how:

  1. Use mobile commerce! Who doesn’t own a cellphone? During concert announce: “If you’d like to buy this live concert for $1.99…text – for example – livevideo – to the number. You’ll receive a link to download the concert when it’s available. If you like to get the audio – liveaudio.” You don’t need to fill out shit. Your phone number is it!
  2. Sell merchandise! The giant screens during breaks could advertise merchandise and let people text to buy.
  3. Have people vote or take polls! They’ll do it then and most likely won’t later. They’re in the moment!! AC/DC and Linkin Park involve their fans a lot. Why not do that on-site?
  4. Let them download a free song from the upcoming album.
  5. Let them record their comments and thoughts about the concert they just attended and upload them on a social site. How could that hurt?
  6. What if you could tag yourself on the live video and let the cameras on the site find you and magnify you on the big screen? Mmmm…wouldn’t that be awesome!
  7. I could sit here and keep coming up with these things all day. But then again, maybe I don’t know about it and bands are already doing it.

The point is…we all remember concerts because we use them as landmarks of our memories. You utter the word ‘Woodstock’ and it is bound to open up floodgates of thousands of pieces of history and memories made by every single attendee. Now if you’d attended either or both of the ’69 or ’94 concerts, wouldn’t you have liked to own a piece of that experience? Those two concerts, however, have been documented. What about the thousands that are memorable for different reasons but not documented and available for you to keep?

When I’d attended the 1995 Page/Plant concert at MSG, it was a big deal for me. What do I have from that event to tell my friends, family, or kids (when I have them…eventually)? Don’t you think I’d pay to download live video/audio of that concert for keeps? I’d pay for it because I paid to attend it, and I’d pay for it because I was there.

I’ll give you a personal example of how live concerts one attends take on a different level of meaning, if given the chance to have a sense of humor about it.

I happen to be part of a Grammy winning album.

Hear me out.

8 years ago, Carnegie Hall organized a farewell concert for Ravi Shankar. He was touring with his daughter Anoushka. It was a wonderful experience! I was taken by Anoushka who made pops proud. Months later, I learn that that concert was recorded live and went on to win the Grammy.

Which led me to joke: “I am on a Grammy winning album, you see. The crowd’s cheer and applause you hear between the performances…I am one of them!” :)

Newsflash: Wrote this post two days ago, but found out today that Metallica already does most of what I talk about here. Lesson: If you think you have a great idea, someone else probably has thought of it already. Perhaps Metallica is not the only band letting folks download concerts – no video yet, but can’t complain. The site has almost every single concert available for download, including tons of free ones. Don’t know how deep their mobile commcerce is, but they’re, I’m sure, on it. Have to give kudos to the band for this.

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