Thursday, April 13, 2006

FestivaLink live downloads debut at MerleFest

For several years now, bands and festivals have experimented with ways to offer for-pay performance recordings that would be available on CD or over the Internet soon after the live event. Now a new service, FestivaLink, has been launched that could provide a standard system for providing such content.

The upcoming MerleFest event is the first festival to partner with FestivaLink. According to MerleFest, all performances on the festival's main stages (Watson stage and Cabin stage) will be made available through the FestivaLink site. All recordings will be fully legal, since both the artist and the festival will share in the revenue stream. The music will be available both in lossy mp3 and lossless FLAC formatsPricing has not yet been announced, or already burned to CDs.

This one bears watching, since free unauthorized festival recordings are routinely shared among music fans today. Both festivals and artists have tolerated such recording and trading, but many in the industry would like to see a standard system for deriving income from recordings of live performances.

FestivaLink hopes to sign up other major festivals after its debut at MerleFest. If it succeeds, it could do for concert sharing what Apple's iTunes store did for recorded digital music.

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