The Next Step in Bootleg Concert Recordings
Soon listeners can trade their bootleg recording devices for a high-fidelity live-mix feed of some of the concerts they go to. eMusiclive features unique live recordings captured at clubs and other live events, that can be legally downloaded from their website. The BIG news is what eMusicLive brands as the next evolutionary step in entertainment - being able to walk away from a live concert event with a legally-obtained high-fidelity copy of the show.
On May 21st, people going to Maxwell's, a small indie-rock club in Hoboken, N.J will be able to purchase a $20 USB drive from a kiosk and then fork out another $10 to download an MP3 of the evening's show. It is uncertain if or how the company will prevent users from using their own USB drives to obtain the music. For now, once the music is brought home, the rules are open. Users can share and copy the music as desired, thus providing free publicity for the artist (I think someone needs to tell the mainstream music industry that this is a form of publicity.) Of course, this single statement may be one of the factors that keep eMusiclive from becoming popular with more popular artisits (read: RIAA).
The single advantage of this format (if you can call it that) over other methods such as direct to CD concert recordings is that instead of getting an audio CD of the concert the user now has direct access to digital MP3 files without ripping. What I have not heard discussed yet is the obvious downside - you also get precompressed music in MP3 format instead of 16-bit/44.1kHz CD-quality audio.
This is a great solution for smaller venues and independent artists/labels. I think it should be followed to see how it progresses and expands in the future. The trend, no matter which methods wins out, is clear: users want to be able to purchase or obtain recordings of live concerts. I doubt, however, that without built-in encryption or some other means to limit distribution, this format will make it in the mainstream - but for now that isn't its intent.