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Fans justify buying a CD, T-shirts, and other swag at a concert because they want to remember the event in more ways than a Facebook-uploaded pic.

MusicTech Summit: Why Live Music Matters

musictech summitThe 2013 San Francisco MusicTech Summit took place in early October 2013 and drew, as always, an eclectic crowd. Bringing music and technology together is the goal of this popular gathering.

Developers, musicians, startups, and entrepreneurs meet for one basic purpose: using digital technology and innovation to create, share, and enjoy music. This might seem like a pretty tech-heavy approach, but at the 2013 summit, there was a welcome touch of “throwback,” with a focus on the importance of live music.

Unlike annual summits, this one takes place twice a year because it takes that kind of commitment to keep up with technology. There’s a multitude of eye-catching topics such as video platforms, mapping technology, and of course the parade of apps to keep people tapped into music on a variety of favored platforms.

It’s all about helping (future) fans connect with upcoming artists in a world that becomes more digital every day. How else can artists compete in a world where revenue from record sales is dwindling?

Digital Can’t Touch Live

Nowadays, artists can’t just be about the music, at least not if they want to make the most of their talents. They also need to be sharing videos on YouTube, tweeting to their fans, and basically building an entire brand.

People don’t just want great music anymore, they want to feel a connection to their favorite groups and artists. Record sales might be down, but live concerts are booming in size and number.

It’s an interesting cycle to behold: Technology makes people feel closer to their favorite artists (and in many ways it does), and has enhanced the quality of sound, enabling fans to enjoy the music better. However, the best way to feel connected to an artist is to see a live show.

That’s not always possible, of course, which is where technology has made great strides in getting people as close to live as possible. Over the past few years, live concerts have been made available to the Internet community through live streaming for a fraction of the ticket price, or sometimes even free.

A Return to the Basics

Live shows are a staple for making money. In fact, DeliRadio spokesperson Sara Mertz says, “Some bands aren’t making any money, except for live shows.”

Yes, going live is more expensive, but it can be very lucrative if the band has a good following (not to mention a good publicist). “Fans will pay for a CD at a show. They want to bring home a souvenir. That is where the commerce happens.”

Fans justify buying a CD, T-shirts, and other swag at a concert because they want to remember the event in more ways than a Facebook-uploaded pic. However, “live” doesn’t necessarily mean technology doesn’t play a role.

There are a slew of apps that help people find (and get tickets for) concerts, and you can win tickets online. There might be options for backstage passes, early or VIP tickets…the list goes on and on.

Marrying Live and Tech

Some favorite apps help concertgoers share part of the live performance, which of course is free publicity for the artists. Big data can also be derived from technology, which savvy artists can use to their advantage.

There’s a smorgasbord of music festivals, and technology is driving them forward. It seems impossible that Woodstock even happened, but when it comes to great music, people will find a way to make it work – technology or not, but it certainly makes it easier.

Bay Area startups such as DeliRadio have jumped into the live concert space, turning out web and mobile applications that aim to help fans more easily find and attend concerts. There’s a whole crop of technology applications emerging to offer concertgoers restaurant suggestions near the venue, early-release tickets, and a chance to win merchandise or meet the artist at a show.

Take a look at some of the best bands in Texas, and it’s easy to see hot technology and great music go hand in hand. It’s a balancing act of course, but when it works, it’s sheer magic.

About Jenna Cyprus

Jenna is a freelance writer who loves the outdoors; especially camping while relaxing with her family.

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