In this post, I will focus on the way that the production and distribution of music is being framed through the practice of live performance satellite streaming. While at my internship last Wednesday, I was given the great opportunity to conduct a phone interview with Cold Chisel front man Jimmy Barnes. Cold Chisel has just released their first studio album in 14 years and are also performing at the Hordern Pavilion on Wednesday. However, the article I was required to write was not merely about the band’s reunion. Instead, it focused on their unusual choice to stream the Hordern Pavilion gig live to cinemas across Australia via the CinemaLive program.
When asked about this Barnes initially lamented the undeniable impact that technological developments are having on the music industry. “I don’t think you get that same rush watching a concert on a screen at the movies than when you’re in amongst everything at a gig,” he said. “At a gig there’s that intimate exchange of energy between the performer and audience. A lot of that is lost if you’re just watching the streamed version.” He also joked that the band had hired ‘atmosphere roadies’ to go around pouring drinks on the people in the back row at the cinema.
Despite his hesitation, Barnes did acknowledge that there are benefits to such a widespread music event. An element of inclusiveness is at the heart of the CinemaLive concept. It allows people who would not otherwise be able to attend the concert to have a simulated live experience. The CinemaLive website summarises their intended purpose as ‘Imagine experiencing the raw energy of a major rock band, the magic of a theatrical performance, or the unrivalled spectacle of a pop icon? These are shows you may otherwise never get to experience live.’ (2012)
In The New Music Industry is Not Coming (2011) Casey argues that we need to stop waiting for the arrival of the new music industry. Instead, we must acknolwedge that ‘the only thing that will change is change.’ New models will emerge and these will reshape the way that music is marketed and distributed and ‘continue to change the landscape’ (2011) I believe that the CinemaLive project is a perfect example of one of these models. It manipulates the concert experience by enabling it to be disseminated amongst a mass audience. However, it differs from watching Youtube video footage of a gig because it maintains the element of liveness.
Casey, T (2011). ‘The New Music Industry is Not Coming’ Music Think Tank <http://www.diigo.com/bookmark/http%3A%2F%2Fwww.musicthinktank.com%2Fblog%2Fthe-new-music-industry-is-not-coming.html?tab=people&uname=andersand>
CinemaLive (2012). ‘What is Cinemalive?’ <http://www.cinemalive.com/>