It’s a tough travel itinerary getting from Jacksonville, FL (after a long, late show) up to Vienna, VA, then zipping down the next day to Dallas before zooming up to Boston–especially if you’re gonna try to be in Charlotte for the KISS show on Saturday night. But that’s what you’d have to do if your week involved seeing Dave Matthews Band followed by The Fray, The Neighbourhood, Michael Franti and then Gene Simmons and company. Or you could do what Yahoo hopes you will–stream the shows live from your sofa, and revel in a virtual view of the action. Together with partner LiveNation, Yahoo is offering you a pretty good incentive to watch, too–every show is free. And Screen, Yahoo’s answer to YouTube, is also working to differentiate itself with high production quality, so the sets should look and sound tight. This week is just the kicker to a planned 365 live performance broadcasts in a row by Yahoo/LiveNation–a consecutive show streak that would put even an old Deadhead to shame.
LiveNation, in case you haven’t heard, pretty much owns the concert business. Teaming up with Yahoo gives both companies a chance to burst into the music streaming business in a more meaningful way. Streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and others have become the listening tools of choice for music lovers–and YouTube is, well, YouTube, the 800-pound gorilla. Live-streaming shows isn’t new–which is probably why Yahoo and LiveNation are investing so much into the year-long commitment, which is half-gimmick, sure, but half-practical. One-off shows–even if it’s Springsteen, Beyonce or Vampire Weekend–are unlikely to change viewer habits. And viewers have yet to turn up consistently in large numbers to live-streamed concerts. Part of the Yahoo/LiveNation gambit is now that there is a show every night it gives people ample time and opportunity to establish a habit–to get to like the offering. After all, nobody wants to miss the next Last Waltz (Scorcese) or Stop Making Sense (Demme). Yahoo and LiveNation want people to feel that if they don’t tune into Screen, they just might.