Instant Audio Replay?

It's not uncommon for bootleggers to record live performances of favorite artists and then send copies of the tapes around the world. But in an interesting twist that could add a whole new dimension to concert merchandising, the Virgin Entertainment Group and Liquid Audio recently teamed up to record a live performance by the Joshua Redman Quartet at the Virgin Megastore in San Francisco. The recording was then immediately digitized and burned onto CD.

Virgin says that the more than 150 jazz enthusiasts who attended the one-hour event were entered into a raffle to win one of the 12 limited-edition autographed CDs burned just minutes after the performance. The company feels that Redman's in-store event marks a significant shift in the way artists and retailers can provide music to fans: "For the first time ever, fans can attend a performance and take it home with them that day."

Warner Bros.' Randall Kennedy clearly sees the event as a success. "Album sales went through the roof at Virgin after the performance. We wanted to put Joshua in a cool, hip, and cutting-edge environment to support the Beyond CD debut." Liquid Audio's Charly Prevost adds that "the distance between the artist and the audience is shrinking dramatically," noting that this is likely the first in a series of such documented events.

Redman was recently profiled by Rick Rosen in the April 2000 issue of Stereophile.