Shouldn’t We Be Streaming Concerts Like Mad by Now?

When Canada played the US in the semi-final for men’s Olympic hockey, the CBC served up around a million concurrent streams with nary a hiccup.  That’s a lot.  It also means that we’ve come a very long way in when it comes to be able to broadcast to mass audiences over the Internet.

So why hasn’t the concept of streaming concerts taken off?  Billboard takes a look.

In some form or another, jam band Umphrey’s McGee posts every show it performs on the Internet — you can find its 2006 version of “Dick in a Box” on YouTube, listen to nearly 1,000 shows for $9.99 per month via and hear dozens of live tracks on SoundCloud. But despite this massive archive, the band rarely video-streams shows live as they happen — webcasting makes up 15 percent of its concert content.”The production cost can be prohibitive, where you spend more money than you would make,” says Kevin Browning, a member of the band’s management team who oversees the live content. “There’s often union fees. Bandwidth is actually a sizable hurdle. You also have promoters who aren’t into it — they think it’ll affect ticket sales.”

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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