Keef’s call­ing, col­lect

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS -

IT’S only rock ’n’ roll, but the Rolling Stones think you will like it — on your tablet or smart­phone. In ad­di­tion to a tra­di­tional live payper-view spe­cial for the band’s Dec. 15 con­cert at the Pru­den­tial Cen­ter in Ne­wark, N.J., the Stones will also of­fer live stream­ing of the con­cert on PC, smart­phones and tablets.

This first-of-its-kind world­wide dig­i­tal of­fer­ing to mo­bile de­vices is a Stones’ stream­ing ex­per­i­ment that, if suc­cess­ful, could set a new in­dus­try prece­dent that brings a wave of live mu­sic to Net-con­nected porta­bles.

“Th­ese guys have al­ways been on cut­ting edge,” says Perkins Miller, ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of dig­i­tal me­dia at World Wrestling En­ter­tain­ment, which is pro­duc­ing the event with on­line video tech­nol­ogy com­pany NeuLion. “They are us­ing the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to de­liver (and show) that they are still on top af­ter 50 years,” he says.

The Rolling Stones: One More Shot can be seen on Shaw pay per view Dec. 15, for $24.24, $30.29 HD.

As the band per­forms its lim­ited num­ber of 50th an­niver­sary con­certs, it con­tin­ues to push the lim­its of the mu­sic busi­ness. Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of the Bea­tles, the Stones were among the first to have their own record la­bel — they folded that in 1992 when Vir­gin Records paid them $45 mil­lion.

They were also the first to have a ma­jor tour spon­sor — Jo­van Musk Oil for the 1981 — which net­ted the band $1 mil­lion and the prac­tice grew into an in­dus­try stan­dard for other acts. Sub­se­quent Stones tour spon­sors have in­cluded Bud­weiser, which spon­sored the 1994 Voodoo Lounge tour, and Sprint on the Bridges to Baby­lon tour.

The Stones even had their own credit card and the band has had ex­clu­sive deals with Best Buy for dis­tribut­ing con­cert DVDs.

Once the an­niver­sary con­certs were set and a tra­di­tional pay per view event was ar­ranged, the at­ten­tion turned to dig­i­tal. Ya­hoo came on board as the web part­ner to de­liver the con­cert to com­put­ers.

The WWE, which con­ducts monthly pay per view events, con­ducted its first mo­bile pay per view with the Nov. 18 Sur­vivor Se­ries event. That led to a sug­ges­tion to the Stones and their man­age­ment about “the op­por­tu­nity and the trend, par­tic­u­larly on tablets and the speeds on mo­bile de­vices and smart­phones,” Perkins says. “The Stones have been very fo­cused on mak­ing sure it’s a high-qual­ity ex­pe­ri­ence and Mick (Jag­ger) wants to make sure the global price is ap­pro­pri­ate. I think this will be a real tran­si­tion point.”

The Rolling Stones Dec. 15 con­cert will be avail­able on pay-per-view on iPads, An­droid tablets and smart­phones. View­ers will also be able to watch Twit­ter streams. (Photo: NeuLion)

Fans can ac­cess the One Last Shot con­cert dig­i­tal pay per view di­rectly from rolling­stones.com/watch and mu­sic.ya­hoo.com or down­load apps in the An­droid mar­ket­place and iTunes store. They can pur­chase the event on an iPad, An­droid tablet or smart­phone.

Dur­ing the con­cert, por­ta­ble de­vice view­ers can hit in­stant re­play and go live at any point. (Tra­di­tional pay TV pay per view is lin­ear only.) Tweets will be part of the pre­sen­ta­tion, too.

“Fans have grav­i­tated to in­ter­ac­tive sports on dig­i­tal. There’s the same op­por­tu­nity for live con­certs,” says Chris Wag­ner, ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of NeuLion, which de­signs and de­liv­ers dig­i­tal con­tent for numer­ous clients in­clud­ing the Na­tional Foot­ball League, NBA, NHL and UFC.

“We have fo­cused on the sports mar­ket,” Wag­ner says. “Now we are lev­er­ag­ing that ex­pe­ri­ence with this live event.”

Video qual­ity will vary across de­vices, based on the band­width that users have. On iPads, view­ers will get high def­i­ni­tion video and bet­ter than CD qual­ity au­dio.

“The qual­ity is crit­i­cal,” Wag­ner says. “It’s really a great au­dio ex­pe­ri­ence and I think that is maybe what peo­ple are go­ing to get sur­prised about. Who­ever thought Mick Jag­ger would be on an iPad?”

Keith Richards is as close as your phone.

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