Or rock out to catch your favourites next time they’re in town. Interested in getting a copy of what you just heard on CD within an hour of the concert’s finale? Or would you rather have it turn up in the post to save you having to stand around waiting? Or would you prefer to wait a couple of months and have the opportunity to buy copies of any of the concerts from that tour? Those things are possible with technology which mightn’t be ubiquitous at U.S. concerts, but it’s there. There’s no reason why that technology couldn’t be expanded to cover video. How long will it be before the images that are flashed onto screens at major concert venues or music festivals are recorded digitally and released on DVD?

While we can currently head over to the iTunes Music Store to download the latest tracks from our current favourites, that’s only one of an increasing number of sites where you can legally download music. At you can buy copies of concerts by the Grateful Dead, Little Feat, or performances from last year’s New Orleans  Jazzfest.

Again, how long before we can buy the video footage as well?

Or are you sitting around waiting for thatobscure album from the days before CDs to be re-released? At least one major company is looking to re-release thousands of out-of-print titles for digital download. No need to worry about how many copies to produce in a run. A copy on a server somewhere is all they’ll need to produce.

Getting away from official recordings it’s a pretty fair bet that any concert by any major artist will be recorded in some form. There are plenty of artists who have accepted the inevitable and turn a blind eye to sites that offer downloads or bit torrents of concert recordings. That’s if they don’t actively encourage non-commercial sharing of their music. For an indication of what’s out there, check the Live Music Archive at There aren’t many people who need all three thousand concert recordings by the Grateful Dead listed there, but fans of the late Warren Zevon might be interested in some of the sixty concerts hat are up there, some of them sourced from Warren’s son.All those things are happening right now and we can only expect they’ll develop to their logical conclusion and end up at some unimagined destination beyond that. Ee’ll still hear moans about illegal downloads from companies who’d prefer you bought whichever conveniently packaged product they’re currently pushing, but as we head further into the twenty-first century the old models of music distribution will increasingly become irrelevant.

Not that everything is sweetness and light. When the music majors have worked out how to do it you can bet your boots they’ll be looking to extract a premium price for their wares. And if you’ve written a decent tune that’s being widely performed in concerts that are being recorded and shared for free, you’ve got Buckley’s chance of seeing a penny in royalties from those performances.

B© Ian Hughes 2012