OpenLIVE's new Artist Dashboard feature puts the power in the players' hands
Live albums are, for the most part, a double-edged sword for artists and listeners alike; while a good live album can properly capture the spirit and energy of the room and provide an enjoyable approximation of a concert experience, more often than not the end result can wind up sounding like a bootleg recorded on the first tape deck ever invented.
This is obviously not an ideal situation, especially for independent bands who mightn't be flush with the necessary cash to ordinarily ensure high-quality live recordings — and that's where OpenLIVE and its new Artist Dashboard feature come in, providing Australian (and UK) artists open access to its MasterBuilder recording hardware installed across 11 venues Down Under and in the motherland.
The Corner Hotel, Northcote Social Club, Shebeen, Max Watts, The Reverence and The Evelyn — all in Melbourne — and national contemporaries the Oxford Arts Factory (Sydney), The Triffid (Brisbane), the Astor Theatre (Perth) and the Coolangatta Hotel (Gold Coast) have all signed on for the MasterBuilder/Artist Dashboard initiative, with UK participant The Silver Bullet, in Finsbury Park, getting the ball rolling back in Europe.
Bands and performers can utilise the new Artist Dashboard feature at any venue equipped with MasterBuilder hardware to schedule, edit and manage their live recordings for shows played there, allowing artists to book in sets to be recorded (with the system even being intelligent enough to continue recording past the scheduled 'finish' time if the band has not actually finished playing).
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Once recorded, according to OpenLIVE, "a mixed, mastered and optimised version of the artist's recording will appear on their Dashboard in a large single waveform".
"Artists can then insert track marks, remove tracks they don't like or don't have the rights to, insert artwork, name the relevant rights holders, and push the recording live to monetise on the OpenLIVE platform," the company explained in a statement, with chief executive Dale Moore elaborating:
"At the moment, this can take up to 72 hours to get through our distribution chain and onto our store," he said. "We expect to bring this down significantly over time with the goal being within an hour of the performance being complete, pending the artist completing the 'cutting up' of the waveform into tracks."
Although the company concedes "this will change down the track", at present the system carries no upfront costs for artists, meaning they "can go and record as much as they like without incurring a cost", Moore said.
"They'll get a free copy of the recording to download and it's theirs to keep."
"This is completely new infrastructure for the music industry and, for the time being, we're letting bands and artists sign up and use it for free," OpenLIVE audio & technology director Simon Tait added.
"Capturing your recording is literally as simple as booking a plane ticket. We've engineered an automatic scheduling, recording, mixing, mastering and optimisation routine that produces very high-quality recordings that some artists have already turned into full albums.
"Importantly, artists retain all copyright in their recordings. It's a dead-simple way to monetise live recordings, but the artist (or rights-owner) will always have the final say as to whether the recording is released or not, be that a single track or an entire tour's worth. If they don't like how they played, or the recording doesn't fit with their album-release schedule, then they can archive the gig, release it down the track, or simply hang onto it as a reference for how they played on the night."
OpenLIVE has previously teamed up with troubadour Dan Sultan to release a limited-edition recording of his sold-out National Theatre concert, with additional plans to record his show at Northcote Social Club on 18 November as well as other performances down the line.
"With what we have been able to achieve so far in terms of artist sign-up, we can really see the validation for what we’re doing, and with the official launch today I only see this improving dramatically over the coming weeks and months," Moore said.
For more information about OpenLIVE or its newly launched Artist Dashboard, and how you can get involved to craft a high-resolution live recording of your own, head to the company's website and have a click around.