[Rumori] long live clear channel

kembrew mcleod kembrew-mcleod at uiowa.edu
Fri May 28 11:07:52 PDT 2004

it's like clear channel is writing its own "evil empire" script... from rolling 


Clear Channel Limits Live CDs

Company to block bands from selling instant albums 

In the past few years, fans leaving some concerts have discovered a souvenir 
far better than a T-shirt: a live recording of the show they just attended. 
Bands including the Allman Brothers, moe. and Billy Idol have sold instant 
concert discs, and the Pixies and the Doors plan to launch similar programs 
this summer. The recording-and-burning company DiscLive estimated on April 12th 
that it would gross $500,000 selling live discs this spring alone. 

But in a move expected to severely limit the industry, Clear Channel 
Entertainment has bought the patent from the technology's inventors and now 
claims to own the exclusive right to sell concert CDs after shows. The company, 
which is the biggest concert promoter in the world, says the patent covers its 
130 venues along with every other venue in the country.

"We want to be artist-friendly," says Steve Simon, a Clear Channel executive 
vice president and the director of Instant Live. "But it is a business, and 
it's not going to be 'we have the patent, now everybody can use it for free.'"

Artists net about ten dollars for every twenty- to twenty-five-dollar concert 
CD that's sold, no matter which company they use. But with Clear Channel 
pushing to eliminate competition, many fear there will be less money and fewer 
opportunities to sell live discs. "It's one more step toward massive control 
and consolidation of Clear Channel's corporate agenda," says String Cheese 
Incident manager Mike Luba, who feuded with Clear Channel last year after 
promoters blocked the band from using CD-burning equipment.

The Pixies, who are booking a fall reunion tour with several probable Clear 
Channel venues, say Clear Channel has already told them DiscLive can't burn and 
sell CDs on-site. "Presuming Clear Channel's service and product are of equal 
quality, it may be best to feed the dragon rather than draw swords," says 
Pixies manager Ken Goes. "Still, I'm not fond of doing business with my arm 
twisted behind my back."

Clear Channel doesn't plan to stop Phish, Pearl Jam, the Who or other bands 
that make live recordings available days after the show. It has also granted 
one-dollar licenses to a few up-and-coming bands to record and sell instant CDs 
of their own shows. But Clear Channel executives maintain that they have the 
right to stop anyone who tries to infringe on the patent. Many say this 
strategy prevents inventors from jumping into a marketplace and creating 
further innovation. "We'd like to see this industry opened up to everybody," 
says Erik Stubblebine, founder and vice president of Hyburn, a Phoenix company 
that has sold instant CDs for dozens of concerts in the past three years. 
"They're trying to squeeze us."

(Posted May 24, 2004)

kembrew mcleod
1218 college st.
iowa city, ia 52245
kembrew-mcleod at uiowa.edu

"What is corporate fraud? Corporate fraud is what happens when cool, indie 
fraud loses its cred and becomes totally lame." - Jon Stewart

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