Dial Me Up: Stones Offer Concerts Over the Phone
Tue, 01 Aug 2006 09:42:24
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If you want to hear The Rolling Stones play a few songs in Paris, but you don't live anywhere near France, your old choices were to start scrounging for airfare or to wait patiently for a bootleg to show up online. But thanks to a new technology called Listen Live Now that the band is helping to champion, there is now a third option: Call a toll-free number and pay $1.99 for every seven minutes of live, real-time Stones piped in over the phone. Presumably the sound quality will be a little better than what you get when your buddy in the cheap seats holds up his cell phone.
"It's a great thing for the artists," said manager Marty Erlichman, one of the partners behind the service. "It's passive income, and they're helping fans enjoy the experience without affecting ticket sales."
The Stones are the first group of rockers to utilize Listen Live Now, which is built to accommodate approximately one million visitors per day. Listeners can call in on either cellular or regular phones. Bootleggers and traders may be frustrated by the message that breaks in every sixth minute, giving listeners the chance to purchase more time.
The contract between the band and Listen Live Now currently expires on September 3rd, so it is not set to extend into the American leg. No other artists have confirmed plans to bring their concerts to the telephone, although Erlichman said that Barbra Streisand's upcoming tour may follow the Stones' lead.
Despite disruptions like Keith Richards' unexpected brain surgery and Ron Wood's brief readmission to rehab, the Stones are comfortably atop a new list of the year's top tour earners, having pulled in $147 million so far. U2 stands in second place with a measly $73 million.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff