Periscope: Will live-streaming be next to change the music industry?

As much as some artists may not like it, technology and music often merge together and form a love-hate relationship. Technology has enabled musicians to have stunning audio-visuals at concerts, but at the same time, illegal downloading has been a big problem in the industry for a while now. The use of mobile phones at concerts to record music has also been considered as damaging to the live show experience.

But now, the advances in technology may change the music industry once more.

Periscope launched in March this year. Image source: Periscope.tv

Earlier this year, Twitter launched Periscope – a new mobile app which enables users to live-stream videos to an audience. Since its launch, numerous musicians have used Periscope to broadcast part of their shows to a global audience.

However, aside from when artists use the app themselves, what does live-streaming mean in terms of how it may affect the experience of a live concert performance?

Users of the Periscope app can live-stream video straight from their mobile phone. Image source: Periscope.tv

Already, a video has gone viral on social media after it shows an audience member at a concert on FaceTime to his friend. Whilst it may be funny at first, does the video tell a cautionary tale about the future relationship between technology and music? Could Periscope affect the live show experience?

Image source: Periscope.tv

It is possible, but the change may not be slowly – and perhaps somewhat reluctantly – accepted by the music industry like that of using mobile phones to record concerts.

On this occasion, viewers from across the world can be part of the audience without having to pay the price of a ticket. In that sense, we face a problem slightly similar to illegal downoading – where it is those who pay to listen to music and attend concerts who keep the industry alive when compared to those who don’t.

But if there’s anything to learn from the rise of illegal downloading, it’s that identifying the issue early could stop it from developing. Whilst illegal downloading was – and still is – hard to monitor and prevent, we shouldn’t let live-streaming at concerts develop to a point where it is accepted by the music industry because it is hard to control.

For example, concert venues could place restrictions on cameras or restrict internet access during performances. Whilst it is only a few individuals that might be using live-streaming at concerts, then the problem is more manageable.

It is once the issue is adopted on a national or global level that things become serious. Those who pay the money to see the show live feel ripped off if they see 200 people seeing the show for free via. live-streaming.

Granted, TV channels adopt a similar position when it comes to live-streaming certain festivals, for example. But as much as live-streaming by audience members might frustrate or rip-off others in the crowd, it also affects the musicians and their companies when they don’t receive the money they deserve.

At a time where live-streaming has only just become mainstream, now is the time for questions to be asked before technology leads to another change in the music industry.

Periscope have been contacted but were unavailable for comment.

By Liam O’Dell

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Review – ER20 Earplugs

I’ve mentioned on the occasional blog post that I am deaf/hard of hearing. The problem here is that for someone who plays the drums (very loud) – how do I balance hearing protection with actually being able to hear?

I knew earplugs would be the answer. At first, I was given the generic earplugs by my dad that are used for anything from industrial environments to those who have to put up with snoring other halves…

The problem here was that, although they had a greater protection rating (around 30 decibels), the earplugs were so protective that I couldn’t hear the music I was playing along to that much!

So I decided to buy ER20 earplugs. Shaped almost like a Christmas tree (with semi-circles increasing in size towards the ear), the earplug is designed to reduce sound to a safe level and thus make the person hear the music, whilst their hearing is protected.

They have now recently arrived, and over the course of the past week, I have had two occasions to try them out. Here’s my review!

So immediately, inserting the earplugs was difficult, uncomfortable and sometimes painful when getting them to fit in the right position. I later learnt that there is a specific way to insert the plugs – pull on the earlobe, then insert slowly…

Anyway, the first time I used them was for a generic drum practice. In the past, I have had to play my music (dangerously) at the loudest volume on my MP3 player, in order for me to hear both the drums and music I am playing along to. But now, I can play at the loudest volume, but after removing my headphones I am not (immediately, at least) met with the high-pitched ringing of tinnitus in my ears. It actually works well.

The second time was at a gig I went to on Saturday. There, I chose to try them out for listening reasons, rather than me playing. If anything, I couldn’t hear the vocals that well (but not really a problem in my opinion), but other instruments felt much more refined. I could hear the instruments well, and the volume was safe too.

So, the uncomfortable feeling should hopefully reside when I know how to insert the earplugs correctly. But for any other drummers/musicians out there, I do recommend at least trying out the earplugs. Let me know what you think!

Liam

NaPoWriMo – I’m a Poet and a Musician

I’m a poet and musician,
But never a songwriter – not at all!
Writing a song would take me a whole day,
Which wouldn’t be cool at all…

And when I say I’m a musician,
I mean I play the drums.
So I wouldn’t be able to create melodies, just lyrics,
And funky drum rhythms!

I think for the time being,
I shall keep poetry and music apart.
Since despite them both being based on creativity,
They are very different arts!

Liam

Musical Discovery: ‘The Man’ by Aloe Blacc

OK, so I may be a bit late to comment on this song, what with the music video being uploaded to YouTube at the start of March, and the song itself being released at the end of March. But, nonetheless, I’m still going to talk about it!

Now, a lot of people reviewing the song on iTunes, as well as others, have commented on how similar the chorus is to Elton John/Ellie Goulding’s Your Song. However, I don’t particularly like that song (either version) that much, so it doesn’t bother me on those grounds.

Also, songs have similar melodies all the time! Recently, I couldn’t help but notice how similar Imagine Dragons’ song, Demons is to Cover Drive’s Sparks.

If I’m right, Aloe Blacc also credited Elton John when it came to the song itself. But anyway, the song itself!

Like Aloe Blacc’s previous chart successes with I Need a Dollar and the great collaboration with Avicii on Wake Me Up, this single sees more soul from the musician.

Overall, Aloe’s powerful, soulful vocals combined with funky instrumental is what made this track a number one single.

Liam

Sub Focus teases new single, ‘Close’

Using an image to tease fans, Sub Focus today posted the cover work for his new single, Close on Facebook and Twitter today.

The artwork for the track was published on the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter shortly after 4pm today.

The future single will be the DJ’s sixth track from his second album, Torus, to become a single. Previous singles from the album include the massive tracks: Tidal Wave, Endorphins and his most recent release, Turn Back Time.

The track itself features singer MNEK, known for providing vocals to Gorgon City’s track, Ready for Your Love.

No release has been announced as of yet.

Liam

Musical Discovery: 3 Musicians for 2014

This post is going to be a special Musical Discovery edition. Rather than review one track or artist, I thought I would provide you with 3 artists I look forward to hearing more of in 2014!

1. Capital Cities

I’ve loved this band when it came to their single Safe and Sound last year. However, when listening to the song on Bandcamp, I got a preview of some of their other songs. Since then, I’ve been more explorative of bands. But now, I have downloaded 4 more songs from the electronic duo. Their debut album is brilliant, and look forward to them creating some great new music next year!

2. Chlöe Howl

Chlöe Howl became popular when she was nominated for The Critics’ Choice Award for 2014’s BRITs. Interested with what each of the nominees had to offer, I gave her a listen. Immediately, her soulful vocals mixed with electronic funk fitted perfectly with my particular music taste. Sadly, the winner of The Critics’ Choice Award has since been announced as being that of La La La singer Sam Smith. But despite her not winning the award, I am sure that Chlöe will have be even more successful this year.

3. Clean Bandit

I do occasionally glimpse at the charts occasionally, and a while back I did see Clean Bandit’s track Mozart’s House appear in the chart. However, I didn’t really give it much of a listen. This time, with their 2014 track, Rather Be (featuring Jess Glynne) I managed to hear about it before its release. This track was great, and I personally think that their combination of electronic dance and orchestral violin solos will give them a bit of originality and success in 2014!

Are there any musicans/bands that you’re loving at the moment? Perhaps you think that there’s an artist/band that might debut this year! Comment below with your predictions!

Liam

Drums: The Performance Problem

So most of you will know that I play the drums, but there’s some problems that come with playing the drums for some things… Here are the two problems at the moment:

1. You can’t really perform solo…
Drums, to be honest, are a band instrument. In a classical band or jazz band etc. they help the conductor with tempo, whilst in a modern band, they are the conductor. They control most of the technical elements of the band/song, whilst adding the occasional flair in what they play.

Now, since the drums are so technical, and interdependent on other instruments, they can’t really perform solo. You don’t see singer-songwriters that sing whilst playing the drums, which is a shame.

2. You can’t create songs with the instrument.
I’ve always wanted to go down the route of writing a song, but I’ve always seen it from a negative perspective. The process – to me – appears long and complex when it comes to creating melodies for each instrument.

Also, if I was to have a tune in my head, I would be unable to use drums to help discover the melody. Instead, I have to reach for a keyboard and search for the note that matches the one that I am humming. Another sad problem.

But nonetheless, the drums are by far a great instrument to play for the fact that it can be so simple at first, but can become progressively difficult. As well as that, there’s great opportunities for amazing drum solos!

Any drummers out there that know what I mean about any of these? Comment below!

Liam