I am pretty sure I just saw the future of music earning potential, and it was a blast. Tonight I attended a live webcast concert of The Maine on DeepRockDrive ( thanks to TechCrunch for the freebie tix). I dialed in for the Product Launch announcement first and then watched the concert. There is actually a second artist performing at 1am, but it is getting too danged late here in the EST timezone to watch that and THEN do a write up.
Just for kicks, I decided to do a dual trial test and did my first initial beta testing with CoverIt to "livecast" the live webcast. I was not doing this to test the interactive features of Coverit( we will play with that another time), but just to test out the mechanics of it. The archive of that transcript is saved here: http://roguepuppet.blogspot.com/2008/01/coveritarchive.html
But now to focus on DeepRockDrive and the concert.
Here is the setup:
Las Vegas sound stage- a fairly big one, from the pan shots after the announcements. Not a movie set, but nice space. From here you can have Musicians, Comedians, even- god forbid- politicians perform. That performance is broadcast live over the web. In the browser window, you have the video feed, as well as a box to type "shoutOuts" to the band. These are broadcast on multiple large monitors that the band can see. There is also a listing of songs, that the audience can interactively use to vote on the next song they want to hear. You have 4 potential camera angles and you can click and switch between them live at any point. There is a slight lag when switching cameras- at times up to 3 seconds- but the audio continues through fine and it all re-synced seamlessly.
The other audience members were not at any time quiet. The shoutOuts flowed in a fast and furious continuous stream across the bottom of my screen. If you really hate that sort of thing and just want a fine concert experience, go full screen mode and the text chat disappears.
The Maine were a great pick as a first highly promoted band to show.. they have great energy and appeal and even more important, they have the interactive rock gig down pat. They paused between songs to talk to the audience, reading aloud and responding to the messages that flashed on the screen. There was even a series of marriage proposals flying back and forth! It did seem that the band had to step off stage to read the monitors well, then step back on stage to perform again. Because they had mobile cameras, you did not lose visual, but this is something some artists may not be comfortable with at first. The Maine did great, calling people by name, having running chat, and even calling for the audience to type certain messages to respond. There were so many messages flying in simultaneously that there were at times delays of a minute or longer before the message you typed made it to the display. The band did note that everyone's oddball nicknames and online handles made it very odd and difficult to talk to the by name out loud.. they suggest people use their real names.
Here is the compelling business model I see looming from this. During the product launch, they indicated that in the future real even tickets would cost $6.99. At first this seems like a lot for a web event, but this is a fraction of the cost for real concert tickets. It is even less than typical cover in a bar. This was a fun, high energy event that engaged me WAY more than I was expecting it to. And then I started imagining this with a room full of friends.. I was even standing and dancing to the show here in my bedroom at one point.. I can imagine how silly a group of us with some snacks and drinks would get. This is a concert event I would attend over and over and over again. I am ready to go and cruise the concert catalog right now and see who else interesting is going to be performing soon. They split the concert take with the artist, so the musicians get 3.50/ticket. This does not sound like a lot, but if you can get a few thousand ( or more) people attending an event, that is not a bad take for an evening's work..
I have to unwind and head for bed soon.. but I am absolutely not done with this topic yet.. Part of me is hotly curious what the web hits on the band page looked like right after this event.. and what the download of their songs does in the next 24 hours. I also have some thoughts about improvements for the deeprockdrive guys, but I am getting too tired to type coherently, my typo rate is starting to scare even me.
although part of me is very very curious if this will play over the wii browser on my tv....... 1am is not that far away, is it??
EDIT:: FYI, I really did stay up and test on the wii... no dice. I am not blaming this on the DRD guys, however- it has to do with the Flash install on the wii. Hulu will not work yet either. Hopefully Nintendo will get their acts together soon, so I do not have to break down and buy an XBox360 or something...