After The Encore: EMI Will Sell Digital Concert Recordings At Shows

With recorded music sales still ebbing away, the only part of the industry that can truly make money from fans, conventional wisdom goes, is the live experience. But now EMI Music is trying to marry the two.

It’s setting up Abbey Road Live, a new “live music recording and instant production service” that will let fans buy recordings of gigs they just attended, within minutes of the encore’s end.

Concert-goers will be offered recordings on CD, DVD, USB sticks/bracelets or via “secure digital delivery” to PCs and mobiles, as either streams or downloads. HD videos may also be available.

Abbey Road Live is actually an extension of Live Here Now, a service launched by EMI label imprint Mute in 2004 for this purpose. It has sold the quick live recordings at concerts for The Pixies, Franz Ferdinand, Depeche Mode and others.

But EMI is now growing the service by plugging it in to its own Abbey Road Studios, where Abbey Road Live will be based.

The service will deploy an on-site crew to engineer multi-track audio and video recordings of events, then cut them for sale digitally within minutes of curtain-up. The team also plans to sell older shows via an online archive destination.

It could work. Whilst, in the digital age, when every original is also a copy, recorded tracks are becoming devalued, people still have an emotional attachment with the live experiences they attend. EMI says…

Ten percent of those who attended two Blur concerts this summer went on to buy the live recording in CD or MP3 from

— A fifth of those at a recent City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra concert bought the recording, which was mixed live from a 50-microphone input and burned to CDs.

— The label also retailed not just audio but visuals from a recent Deadmau5 concert on a USB bracelet.