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Music Fans Finding Way To Peek Into Sold-Out Concerts Via Live Streams

(The "Made in America" festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway was streamed live over the Internet.  File photo)

(The “Made in America” festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway was streamed live over the Internet. File photo)

Ian Bush Ian Bush
Ian Bush is an anchor, reporter, news editor, and technology editor&nb...
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By technology editor Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you missed out on tickets to see your favorite band performing live, or you just couldn’t swing the cost, social networks might still help you see the show.

You’ll probably have to deal with shaky video, plus a sound track of fans screaming and singing along, but it’s a growing trend.

“I could hear it, which really was the thing that mattered most to me,” says 16-year-old Lindsay of Cherry Hill, NJ.

She didn’t have a seat at One Direction‘s big show at Madison Square Garden this month, but she got to see it — live — anyway, thanks to ticketholders with smartphones broadcasting to Livestream, Ustream, and TwitCast.

“They knew they were helping other people who couldn’t see it, and other people who were in other countries see it,” she tells KYW Newsradio.  “As fans, we have to stick together and help each other out, and I think that was really a sign of that.”

Still, there’s nothing like being there, says David Niedbalski of Live Nation, the concert production giant.

“The energy of a live concert — it doesn’t matter where you sit.  It’s just being in the room to feel the magic,” he says, though more than half a million people watched the free livestream of the “Made in America” festival from Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend.

(Eve:) “Philly — c’mon, give it up!”

Niedbalski says more bands are turning to pro webcasts to bring in the bucks when a show’s sold out.

“With artists not making as much money on record deals, they’re looking to gain new forms of revenue, such as streaming. A band like Phish, when a show is sold out, looks to add streaming to make a couple of bucks on it.”

Recording (and, less explicitly, streaming) policy at a concert is set by the performer and a band’s management, and sometimes by the venue itself. At many shows — with some notable exceptions — video and audio recordings are officially prohibited.

However, in practice — and with the popularity of smartphones — enforcement of this rule seems to have slipped. Perhaps artists realize YouTube clips generate free publicity; perhaps the sheer number of devices in use overwhelms a security staff who have other concerns at a live show.

Still, those who insist on holding up their phones for an entire show risk being removed from the venue — or the wrath of someone sitting next to or behind their fellow concertgoer who doesn’t want to see the show through a glowing screen.  (And don’t forget the data bill — streaming two hours of video can ring up several gigabytes.)

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