There was once a time when the only way you could get hold of the pop music you liked was by visiting a record store. If you didn't own either a record player or a tape deck of some kind, the only way to listen to your favourite music was the radio. Which meant you were at the mercy of whatever your local station played. So if you didn't like the top 40 of the day you were usually out of luck. As for seeing your favourite band perform, that was only possible if they happened to go on tour and show up in your home town. If they were really popular they might show up on a television variety show and lip sync to one or two of their songs.
Prior to the 1980s, MTV and Much Music, there was precious little live music on television in North America. The one or two shows – The Midnight Special and Rock Concert – to feature bands in concert were on late at night and the sound was usually crap as it was coming through your television's single tinny speaker. While advances in video and digital technology gave us more access to music through an increased variety of sources, we were still limited by the technology available for playing and transmitting. If you were lucky enough your television might have been able to hook up to your stereo, but the signal being broadcast was still only mono so you weren't much further ahead in terms of quality.
Everything changed with the Internet. First there was file sharing with sites like Napster allowing people to upload and download their favourite music. When the record companies panicked at the thought of losing control over their product, they moved to quickly shut these sites down until it could be figured out how they could get their piece of the pie. Now that the dust has settled on that front, there are a seemingly infinite number of sites out there allowing you to download and stream music or watch videos and concerts. However, like in the bad old days of top 40 radio, the majority of them seem to be fixed on what is popular. If you have somewhat eclectic tastes finding one source to satisfy a craving for music of all genres and from all eras is as difficult as it ever has been.
Thankfully there are some sites out there which take into account that not everybody can be fit into the same round peg. One of the newest to launch specializes in recordings and video of live concerts of all genres of popular music. Concert Vault is the brain child of Bill Sagan, best known as the CEO and founder of the music site Wolfgang's Vault. As with Wolfgang's Vault, the bulk of the material on Concert Vault is taken from the archives of arguably the man who was the greatest promoter of popular music in the 20th century, Bill Graham. Sagan managed to purchase the archive and has been making the music and memorabilia available to the public.