New Digital Live Music Services: Live Nation-iTunes, EMI’s Abbey Road Live

Live Nation and iTunes just announced a partnership to sell live digital downloads from concerts at various Live Nation venues. Eliot from Wired’s Epicenter blog has a bit more info on the new offerings, which also include concert video as well as audio:

The new section represents another breakthrough in the promising area of live digital music, which has been hampered by complicated rights issues even as other forms of music proliferate legally online…Live Nation recorded the shows at over 80 of its venues, “which have been transformed into next-generation ‘wired’ live recording studios” according to the announcement. Live Nation will sell these recordings exclusively through iTunes….iTunes Live Music (iTunes link) also lists Apple’s more extensive live archive, including recordings by Sonic Youth, Regina Spektor, Pete Yorn, The Rapture, Kings of Leon, Gnarls Barkley, The New Pornographers and others…It also includes concert videos. Apple had already racked up video exclusives of shows by It Might Get Loud, The Killers, Kings of Leon and other bands, selling them in iTunes a week before they were available on DVD.

While I don’t think this is really a game-changer or that big a breakthrough, expanding the live offerings at the largest online music retailer is pretty big news and generally a good thing for all of us live music fanatics.

The news above comes only a few weeks after EMI announced a live/digital initiative called “Abbey Road Live”, which will be an Instant Live-style service for fans to purchase live recordings immediately after a concert:

Headquartered at Abbey Road Studios in London, Abbey Road Live will provide a service that enable concertgoers to purchase live recordings just minutes after a show they’ve just attended. The recordings will be available in a variety of formats, including CD, DVD, USB or through digital delivery…Abbey Road Live will initially launch this week in North America and Europe, according to a news release from EMI. The new company expands on Live Here Now, which was started by Mute Records. Live Here Now produced instant live recordings for such artists as Blur, Depeche Mode, Franz Ferdinand, the Pixies, Goldfrapp and Moby, among others.

Although many of us have grown accustomed to having easy and consistent access to live recordings from many of our favorite bands, it’s easy to forgot that so many other great bands don’t have tapers at every show or an ongoing live downloads service. As more bands turn to live as a way to earn additional revenue, it seems only natural that we’ll continue to see more of these services being rolled out.