Written by Mike Malone
Published by The N
The Internet has taken over the way we communicate in today's world. It has quickly caused a paradigm shift in many markets, including music. The recording industry adapted as music became standardized to digital mp3s, articles and reviews have been compressed down into blogs and other websites, and social media resources have provided music fans with the opportunity to stay engaged and follow their favorite bands and musicians in a very personalized forum.
Most recently, a drastic change has occurred with the live music experience. As a musician, I feel torn between two sides of this topic. The ability to view concerts in the comfort of my own home has provided a great opportunity for fans of music (like myself) to witness a live event happening in true jazz venues like Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in New York's celebrated Lincoln Center, or tune into a jam session at the club atmosphere of Small's Jazz Club.
Being located in a Midwest suburb I don't always have the opportunity to witness these incredible events in person. As a performing musician, I often spend much of my time working to get people to come and watch live music. Part of me believes that experience of live music is not limited to an auditory event. Sitting in a small, dark, basement club like The Artists' Quarter in St. Paul or hearing the clinking of glasses and chatter of people in a restaurant like Shanghai Bistro in Eau Claire is all part of this live music experience. Although I truly believe that there is no substitute for the live, in-person experience, I do find these live webcasts to be a rewarding alternative for those who cannot be based in the music capitals of the world.
The resources available for streaming events are overflowing all over the internet. One of my favorites that popped up recently is the live webcast provided by Jazz at Lincoln Center. Although not all of their concerts are broadcast over the internet, they do provide a free streaming option for many of their events that feature internationally acclaimed musicians. They are currently providing streaming capabilities to the Rose Hall, Allen Room, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola and JALC Doha in Qatar. In addition to Jazz at Lincoln Center providing access to their events, Small’s (another prominent jazz club in New York) also provides streaming options. They often charge various rates for the ability to stream, but occasionally provide free webcasts of certain events. Another great source for live concerts is NPR, providing full concerts in both video and audio format for many events including the recent grand opening of the SFJazz Center in San Francisco, California, and regular streaming of concerts at the famous Village Vanguard in New York.
One last source for these free events, often unnoticed, is university ensembles. Many colleges have hopped on the live webcast bandwagon, providing access to their entire music events calendars in hopes that alumni, parents, friends, and potential students can witness the work of the university even at a great distance. I was fortunate enough recently to witness concerts by the Latin Jazz Ensemble at the prestigious Indiana University and the Grammy nominated One O' Clock Lab Band from University of North Texas. Both were amazing concerts and were located across the country from my current Midwestern home base.
The ease of broadcasting over the web has no doubt made this possible in the past few years. Almost anyone can easily set up an account through U-Stream and start broadcasting events within minutes. I encourage all fans of music to stay updated with their favorite musicians and bands via social media to learn when a live webcast of their performances might be taking place. I also encourage music enthusiast to never forget the essence of a live concert. There is no substitute for being around others and witnessing the magic of a live event. Computer speaker are not equivalent to the power of Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis or the walls of the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis.