Sunday, June 11, 2017

Gently Down the Stream

As I sat behind a camera that was transmitting a live internet broadcast of a performance by the Chris Burnett Quintet at Westport CoffeeHouse last week, I contemplated the validity of the bandleader’s assertion that “this technology will create more performance opportunities for artists in an age where live venues and clubs are not capable of booking all of the artists on the scene today.”

The impulse is commendable.  Given the scarcity of jazz venues and the ostensible tyranny of the owners of some establishments, many musicians are undoubtedly eager to circumvent the existing gatekeepers.  Even so, I wondered if Burnett was delusional for requesting that online viewers pay for the privilege of joining the 18 flesh-and-blood members of the audience in the room during the 30 minutes I spent taking in the first set.  He was competing with a vast universe of free live video content, including feeds on the behemoths Facebook Livestream and YouTube’s Live channel.  Remarkably, Burnett reports that 11 people forked over money to watch the concert online.

I hope Burnett continues the initiative.  For the purposes of Plastic Sax, however, I’m more desirous of shareable footage.  The shortage of well-lit, high-quality performance videos of representatives of Kansas City’s jazz community occasionally results in dubious weekly Now’s the Time posts that inspire derisive commentary from Plastic Sax readers.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)


Anonymous said...

It's an interesting experiment, but I have little interest in watching video streams of a jazz performance. I would much rather be there in person.

Unknown said...

It is great that you'd "rather be there in person" Anonymous June 12, 2017, at 1:26 PM because ultimately 40 people came out - which is great for a weekday concert in Kansas City.

But, it must also be noted that this live webcast platform actually proved to be useful to some people.

25 people watched on a Tuesday night in the summer, with 11 of them paying (or tipping).

It's just like using the Internet for music distribution in the 1990s. Some people preferred walk-in record stores and some didn't mind listening to music via their computers online.

I plan to offer live webcasts from this point forward because I play original music and don't have to be concerned with copyright or music performance licensing issues.

Thanks to Happy In Bag for posting about this aspect of the concert performance.

The full report is linked to in his original blog post, but here it is again:

V/r, Cb
Christopher Burnett
Artist, Composer, Educator, Jazz Journalist
Based in the Kansas City metropolitan area

Carolm said...

I had out of town guests last weekend who said they would definitely pay a subscription fee to be able to see my daughter's performances in KC. They are 4 hours away and want to stay up on what she's doing. So would her uncles who are out of state. When I record with Facebook live many people from Hays (where she grew up) join in. Finally, people who are in poor health and house-bound would feel connected and could support their favorite musicians during times when they can't be there in person.
I think this has the potential to be a great thing. I would expect the quality of the sound and video to be better than my grainy Facebook live videos. It's the quality and convenience you pay for. - Carol Murray

Unknown said...

I agree wholeheartedly, Carol. The reports I received from friends and others who attended the live webcast said both audio and video quality were great. Some of that undoubtedly had to do with the superb job Tom does with the live sound at Westport Coffeehouse Theater too. I'm convinced live webcast is the next "thing," like MP3 technology was to the 1990s. Cb