Broadcasting live from inside your practice room

If you surf over to right now you might be disappointed. The site’s in beta mode, the musician accounts are nearly bare, and the menu structure is wishful thinking at this point. A thousand viable sites like this launch each week, most evaporate into the web ether.

But ignore this one at your peril.

What if your favorite musician (for argument’s sake say it’s flutist Alex Sopp) decided to live-stream her morning warm-up? Imagine the Emerson Quartet broadcasting a sight-reading session where they’ll decide what to play on their next tour, or pianist Seong-Jin Cho (winner of this year’s Chopin Competition) allowing us to peek into his practice room.

Now imagine a centralized site where you could connect to all this. That’s what could be.

We already have sites where TONS of live shows are available, and the quality of these is very high (see: But we’re living in an era where fandom means more than just going to shows and buying albums. People want more access. They want to know how it comes together.

These sites can serve as virtual busking centers. As album sales slide (and streaming royalties stay low-ish) your group would seem reasonable charging a mere five-spot for an hour stream. You could sell “subscriptions” to a season’s worth of rehearsals. This is found money, and established groups wouldn’t even need an aggregator site like — they could set up their own (like the Berlin Phil did with its Digital Concert Hall, and the Vienna State Opera will do on Amazon Fire and Apple TV, although both are for live performances, not rehearsals).

The arguments against this are 1.) the need for permission to broadcast from players & music copyright holders, 2.) a “cheapening” of the subsequent concert experience because rehearsals are so informal and “spoil” the surprise, and 3.) yet another web project for overburdened IT people to take on.

The first argument is the strongest. Staging online performances (or rehearsals) is still a legal minefield, as this article on streaming service Meerkat outlines. If you’ve been reading this mailer for a while you know I’m of a mind to “ask forgiveness, not permission,” but in this case bigger groups need to understand the liability of broadcasting on a livestream. The second is a tired argument only because this is the age we live in. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. If it screws up your show, don’t broadcast rehearsals. And the third is completely valid, which is why a site could handle everything except turning on the camera for you.

Something to think about.

(Images: practice room; Steve Martin)


By dubuquecello

I'm a Dubuque, Iowa native. Interested in cello, tennis, donuts and other things. I'm a classical music optimist.

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