Rocker Creates App To Better The Bootleg Video Experience

from the connect-with-everyone dept

Techdirt has been writing about artists and bands enabling concert-goers’ use of smart phone video since its article URLs still ended in numbers. But this has always been something of a gray area, where for every band that likes amateur films promoting them, there’s another band (or copyright holder) who hates it.

Perhaps that’s about to change. Business Week has a fascinating story of a new smart phone application being created by Joe Sumner, bassist for the rock band Fiction Plane, to sync multiple crowdsourced movies into a single experience. The idea came to him when his band was touring Lithuania and he noticed that there was a ton of amateur video of the previous night’s concert up on YouTube. A ton as in 450 or so videos. And, rather than freak out about people being able to see the band for free on the video site, he created a company, Vylcone, to design an application that would empower and enable those same fans by creating something to link all that footage together and make something awesome.

“Its free program debuted in Apple’s (AAPL) App Store on July 18 and lets two or more people in close proximity shoot video with their iPhones, upload the clips, and view a movie automatically spliced together from different angles. To recognize that multiple users are filming the same scene, Vyclone tags each video with the location where it was shot using GPS. To synchronize the clips, it lines them up by the date and time they were shot, regardless of when they were uploaded. A simple-to-use video editor lets users play director, toggling from one angle to the next with the tap of a finger.”

If you’re feeling that tingling sensation in your naughty bits, don’t worry, that’s normal. As music moves through the digital age and bands recognize that the concert experience is where they need to really be making significant money, they and the music labels that will now want a piece of that action had better get on board concepts like Sumner’s. Commenters often ask why people would continue to pay the rising costs of concert tickets; this is why.

Concerts have always had the draw of the social experience, but now you’re talking about deepening the social aspect of a concert by encouraging fans to contribute to a crowdsourced concert movie. Something they will feel a part of. Something that will create a connection between the concert goer, the band, and other concert goers. And the app is (GASP!) free!

And it does look as though people in the entertainment business are paying attention:

“The startup is based in Los Angeles and London, and has 13 employees. Lassman is chief executive; Sumner, chief creative officer. They’ve raised $2.7 million from [Guy] Oseary and [Ashton] Kutcher’s fund A-Grade, along with movie studio DreamWorks, concert promoter Live Nation (LYV), and VC firm Thrive Capital.”

Technology that helps artists connect with fans and gives fans a reason to buy (concert tickets, merch, etc.). Concerts may have just gotten more interesting.

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Companies: vylcone

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Comments on “Rocker Creates App To Better The Bootleg Video Experience”

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sehlat (profile) says:

Extra Angles to This

Gather the movies and have a pro editor link/set them together and sell a subscription to the “premium/pro” edition. Basic movie(s) are free, and the pro is at some reasonable price possibly also with screen credit, kudos for the people who took the videos, and discount tix for future concerts?

And not a dime goes to the RIAA if you keep a gimlet eye on their contracts. Talk about revenge as an art form! 🙂

cosmicrat says:

This could go beyond concerts

I started my career in media at public access, largely in order to make live performance videos of heavy metal bands. We would record the concert with 2 or more cameras, then edit the results in a traditional tape to tape editing room. YouTube has supplanted public access cable tv, and now this moves the technology further along. I think it’s great!

Obviously, this kind of app/social networking site could apply to much more than just concerts. I’m thinking of things like he Occupy protests first up, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We should strive to make this invulnerable to corporate/government censorship though, move it to the darknet and keep the servers distributed, because the big commercial interests will probably try to squash it.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Any news is good news...

Or so the common phrase says. I’ve been turned on to a number of musicians solely through someone sending me a link to their concert video online. Some bands now pull audio and video from their concerts and make it available to the fans via USB flash memory right after the show for ~$20, and I’ve never seen a copyright warning on them (and most actually have a txt file that says “feel free to do whatever you want with this stuff.”) Most of the bands I go and see in concert and whose music I most listen to are the ones that do stuff like this…and the ones I can’t stand and don’t want to listen to are the ones that rail against this practice (I can only assume because they are worried I’d discover their lipsyncing or lack of skills on the video.)

Some of the bands even ask their fans to send them links to the videos or recordings online, and then send out emails with links to everyone on their mailing lists. Sure, these bands don’t make millions of dollars, but they seem to be quite successful and they are doing what they like to do.

Bruce Burbank says:

audio quality?

I’d be excited for this if there was some way to incorporate some higher quality audio than the crappy mics on the smartphones and point & shoot cameras or whatever they’re using. Always terribly distorted, either super bass heavy with no highs, or devoid of all low end, or just simply unlistenable for one reason or another.

You could take the highest quality, best produced concert dvd, and if its audio quality is comparable to something recorded on a smartphone, I’m not even gonna bother with it.

But I might be in the minority when I say I go to concerts for the music, not for the staging or the lighting or the theatrics or the video projections or the communal experience of it all. Just the music.

Patrick (profile) says:

Sounds awesome! I do hope they exercise some editorial control over the quality of the videos that go into it though. Most concert vids on YouTube are blurry iPhone captures where the phone was shaken around so much you can’t see what’s going on, the microphone is absolutely overloaded by the bass, and they have “vertical video syndrome” to boot. Keep those out and maybe it could create a decent video. Otherwise it would be horrible!

Anonymous Coward says:

“Technology that helps artists connect with fans and gives fans a reason to buy”

it’s not clear that this would end up being a reason to buy. Why pay for a ticket for a concert and get a single seat, when you can enjoy it for free, on other people’s dime, from 400+ different seats in the house?

It’s a basic lesson that major league sports learned a long time ago: When the television coverage of an event is TOO good, better than the real thing, there is a point where people start choosing to watch at home rather than attend the event.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I understand that as a SHORT TERM benefit. But I am not clear that it’s a long term selling point. Rather, it seems to be a step towards making the concerts less of an event, over covered, over exposed, and therefore less special.

Whatever social benefits you get out of the camera aspect would seem to be worn out by people seeing the same concert being redone on a daily basis online. Seeing the same show 160 times before it gets to your town doesn’t seem to be something that would encourage participation. Part of the value of a concert (to me anyway) is that it’s a unique event that I may not get to enjoy for a long time to come. Instead, this project seeks to destroy that magic, and make it as mundane as watching a local weather report.

Short term thinking in a long term business? Perhaps yes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 But I am not clear that it's a long term selling point.

The real success of the Greatful Dead has little to do with piracy, and more about timing, location, and attitude. They ended up with a large group of deadheads who spent their lives moving from city to city with the band, selling stuff in makeshift flea markets at the shows, just to have enough money to buy a ticket to see the next show. It’s not unusual to find a past deadhead who has seen hundreds of shows.

It should also be said that the Dead were an exceptional case, not a rule by which the world can run.

Pointing to an exceptional case and acting like it’s normal doesn’t help your arguments very much.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You shills always completely miss the point. Equating videos of a concert to the concert itself doesn’t even come close to making an exact copy of an original file, yet somehow, you’re convinced that watching other people watch a concert somehow is the same thing as being there at the concert and watching it for free.

Through YouTube I saw “Weird Al” Yankovic perform his latest polka medley “Polka Face”. I live in a sector of Asia that is extremely unlikely to get him in concert. (Actually, aside from maybe Japan where a limited edition single of another polka medley was released I don’t think he’s ever been to Asia.) Watching the videos of him performing in no way diminished my desire to catch him live in concert. I even have a legitimate copy of “Alpocalypse” with Polka Face on it, DVD with music videos and all (which can’t run on the computer due to copy protection).

But noooooo, as long as we don’t agree with copyright maximalism we’re all filthy chubby pirate chicken littles to you shills.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“You shills always completely miss the point. Equating videos of a concert to the concert itself doesn’t even come close to making an exact copy of an original file, yet somehow, you’re convinced that watching other people watch a concert somehow is the same thing as being there at the concert and watching it for free.”

No, you aren’t watching someone else watch a concert, you are watching a concert from all of the best seats in the house, with perfect sound, in the comfort of your home. It’s the perfect combination.

It’s a key question, because the concerts are suppose to be the “upsell” that pays for the free music, remember? This is another case where the problem continues to move upstream. If you start to give part of the concert away for free, will fewer people actually pay for it?

“But noooooo, as long as we don’t agree with copyright maximalism we’re all filthy chubby pirate chicken littles to you shills.”

For that, all I can say is too bad for you. Clearly you aren’t able to accept that there are two possible outcomes (and neither proven), nor are you willing to consider that the answer you don’t like is possible. Narrow mindedness isn’t a good thing.

PS: I’m not a shill, I just don’t agree with your point of view. Can you accept that simple concept?

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“PS: I’m not a shill, I just don’t agree with your point of view. Can you accept that simple concept?”

I can, but I’m afraid I just don’t understand your viewpoint. Watching a video mashup of a concert, even assuming great video/audio quality (which phone recordings don’t have, btw), absolutely does NOT replace the experience of attending a concert. Concert DVDs are somewhat like this and yet people still go to concerts.

All this should do is add value to the concert experience by injecting both a social aspect to it and a connection with the band, assuming they’re the ones making use of these mashup videos on their own sites to market future concerts. This seems wholly like a win/win for everyone…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“absolutely does NOT replace the experience of attending a concert. Concert DVDs are somewhat like this and yet people still go to concerts.”

Ever notice that official concert tour videos are never released until the tour is over, even if the tour runs for a couple of years? Generally they are not released in the middle of tours because they are not a positive. Rather, they reveal many of the things that we go to a concert for, from the set list to the staging and special effects that might happen. Concerts aren’t just about the music, but about the surprises that can happen at them – things you don’t expect. Most people these days are smart enough to understand that those “surprises” (just like encores) are generally VERY well scripted, and repeat every night in every show.

The positives (promotional) may be offset by ruining a big part of the concert experience for many, making the shows themselves less desirable. No, the videos don’t replace the experience, but my feeling is that they may reduce the value of the experience, perhaps making buying tickets less desirable to at least some fans.

The “win/win” you speak of isn’t quite so obvious.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Perfect sound”? You mean like camcorded videos of movies? Yeah, if that’s your analogy, it’s less than fantastic. You equating “video of concert” with “concert” makes as much sense as “camcorded video of movie” with “the movie itself”.

Years ago I saw the video for Linkin Park’s Live in Texas concert – with multiple camera views of the audience, close-ups of the drummer, etc. I have no idea how you think that the average bootleg video even comes close to that level of video production, and that the bootleg video is a full and complete replacement of a tour video. Does a bootleg video “cheapen” the tour video? Maybe, if you think that it being of lower quality doesn’t really feel quite right. Does it “replace” the video experience? I really don’t know how you come to this conclusion. Especially if bootleg videos tend to get filled with nothing but shaking and blurred laser light shows. (And, again – “perfect” sound? Really? You really think that the average video camera or camera phone can capture sound at the same level of quality and fidelity matching an official tour video?) And what if said artist doesn’t even have official tour videos, or even go to a country to perform?

No, I’d say the one who is unwilling to consider the other answer is you. You’re the one who’s dead set on thinking that bootleg video equals bad, because it completely eclipses and cheapens the concert-going experience to the point that nobody will ever want to see an artist perform live. Do you really think that people go to concerts after seeing videos of artists performing, and say, “No, wait a minute, I’ve already seen this on a video. That has completely fulfilled my desire to see you in person. Don’t bother with the encore surprise at the end either; I know you already scripted this and I completely don’t want you to perform another song!”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No wonder shills like you cannot figure out how to connect to the fans. You see no long term benift to giving them a reason to go.

My wife and I eagerly watched all of the video clips for the last San Diego Comic Con. There were so many movie stars, artists and other fans there. I would have loved to meet Robert Downey Jr. (my wife too but for differing reasons I suspect.) and all of the other movie stars there.

So even though I could not fly cross country to go, watching the clips of the happenings there has convinced me and my wife that we will go as soon as we can.

You are missing not only the point of this discussion, but also the profit to be made of showing the fan why they should go next time. This type of advertising is far better than just a newspaper review or some other static means.

This is the ultimate form of advertising and excitement inducing hype. Money to be made in the future, not just now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

While I may enjoy a video of the rock concert, in no way will the video reproduce the experience of being there. I far prefer my concert experience live and I suspect that many people feel the same.

The major league blew it on many other aspects. Replacing “Being there” is in no way one of them.

The only reason I would want the video is if there was no way I could go. Travel to costly, distant, etc. Then I would seek out the video but at that point:

1. I am becoming a bigger fan watching the video because one day, I know I will go to be part of that scene. Think of it as excitement to be there delivered to my screen. Or free advertising to a die hard fan.
2. No sale was lost because I couldn’t go anyway, no matter how badly I want to go.

Like I said, I know that being there is a far better, more exciting venue to participate in and I in no way can confuse the two.

Atkray (profile) says:

Sound and video quality

I think that the app itself will drive better video quality. As people start to get their videos posted they are going to want to have the best shots.

As far as the audio it should be a simple thing for the band to pull the audio off the mixing board using the same time sync.

I can see why they might not want to do that, but if they made a high quality version available for each show for a buck download, they would probably sell one to everyone that went to each show.

lfroen (profile) says:

Most hilarious part

Actually, most hilarious part is this “The startup is based in Los Angeles and London, and has 13 employees”.
So, to create not-so-complex iPhone program they need 13 (sic!) people?! Really? And result is gonna be free? Maybe I’m missing something here, but – WTF?
Looks like some investors have some spare money …

frank simon (user link) says:

Rocker Creates App / ConcertTronix the future of live concerts

Check out ConcertTronix! The revolutionary new way to attend, listen and record live concerts with your Mobile Device!

This is the future of attending, listening, recording live concerts with your smartphone that is patented under US patents 7,995,70 and 8290174 with other patents pending. The user will be able to do whatever they want while at the show for recording and listening to the show, audio and video all depending on what the band allows them to do. ConcertTronix turns your phone into a live recording studio and listening device live at the show and then remix it all and record your self on top of it while playing with the band later if you want!!

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