About 11 months ago, one of my favourite bands Anberlin aired an acoustic performance on StageIt. If you've never heard of StageIt, they call themselves the "online venue where artists perform live, interactive, monetized shows for their fans directly from a laptop, offering fans unique experiences that are never archived."
So in a nutshell: I paid $20 to watch a live performance of my favourite band online.
Last week, I watched a live performance of my favourite band online for free.
The difference? The experience. Last week, my twitter feed was blowing up and it was hard to keep up with all the different fan interaction. The StageIt performance was inherently exclusive - you had to pay for it and only about 50 fans actually paid for it. This meant that the comments went slow enough that the band could actually read them. They directly interacted with the fans, they answered our questions and they played the songs we wanted to hear.
I noticed that a lot of bands are now doing StageIt. It seems like the secret is a super dedicated fanbase who don't mind paying for something that tends to end up on youtube. Bands include Korn, Plain White T's, Bowling for Soup, and Jimmy Buffett. I wonder how successful they've been for the other bands.
It seems like this might be another way to communicate with your favourite band, but something about the fact that you have to pay for it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Anberlin, for example, does live shows pretty frequently, and they'll play acoustic shows a lot for free. However, at the same time, I love that it's another way for the band get the much needed funds in order to keep doing what they're doing.
Would I pay for the experience again? Maybe not. But it's really neat that for that hour or so, I knew my favourite band was reading my comments and even played the songs I requested.