But that was MY idea!
Yesterday I opened up EMedia Magazine, saw an ad for an industrial multi-CD burner and again thought about an idea I had a while ago. Use fast CD burners to make a live recording of a music concert just minutes after the show is over. I had this idea maybe a year ago while looking through a similar magazine. So last night I went out to my local music house, The Stanhope House, to spec it out.
Perfect. The place held about 150 concert goers. I guessed that maybe 10% of concert goers would spend the money on a CD… That’s 15 CDs…. such a burning rig would cost under $2,000… working 3 or more nights a week, it could make money. The Stanhope House already had a good permanent mike setup. I could tap into that. There wasn’t much room in the soundboard area…. hmmm… and it wouldn’t be cost effective to have me come out and mix the album for just 15 sales. I could make a small box with 2 or 4 burners, a mini PC, maybe running Linux with special software and just a few buttons on the case. Buttons for “Start recording”, “Stop”, “Next song starts here”, “No music here”. The sound engineer could make the CDs. But what music licensing when a band plays a cover? Ah. The Harry Fox Agency is all about music royalties. For just $0.08 per song, we can burn a CD of a cover… Figuring out the exact royalties to be paid is a technical task…. But well suited to the computer: it could keep track of every song burned and at the end of the month export a list of who gets paid what. But that means the track names (and authors) have to be inputted into the computer as it’s being burned, to give proper credit. Hmmm. The sound engineer might need to have a keyboard and screen, tied to the Harry Fox music database. That’s ok, it’s doable.
I called my sister, asking about Greatful Dead bootlegs (she knows about such things). She offered good advice (except for the part about my idea being dumb and unworkable, but hey.)
I was getting ready to call the owner of the Stanhope House today or next week to talk about my plan. I called up TJIC to mull the idea and maybe look for programming support. He said, “Oh yeah. I read about something like that in the New York Times a while ago.” ERK! What? No. It’s MY idea. So I go online and…. fuck.
- The NY Times article (I think it is anyway… close enough) (local version)
- Instant Live from Clear Channel
- From Rolling Stone (local version) This article cinched it for me.
- Newbury Comics Instant Live Category
…the Who jumped on the idea and wound up grossing $1.2 million on live CDs from their 2002 tour. Early this year, Phish made every 2003 show available — within forty-eight hours — on livephish.com; the band has sold more than 150,000 of the recordings and earned more than $2 million.
There is probably room for me in this industry. I could probably even make a living at it if I worked hard at it. But it isn’t my idea.