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Jimmy Chamberlin - "Do We Even Need Record Companies Any More?"

In a new interview with The Guardian, Smashing Pumpkins drummer emeritus Jimmy Chamberlin talks about his new company, LiveOne, Inc. (of which he is the CEO) and how it can potentially revolutionize the way fans and consumers experience live content, be it from sporting events, mega-churches to of course, bands. LiveOne seeks to use a program called CrowdSurfing that allows users to view live performances through streaming, and also connect with other fans and advertisers in the process.

Says Jimbo:


“Today’s consumer is less interested in possessing things and more in experiencing them...That’s something the music industry needs to get its head around. Do we even need record companies any more? It’s going to be an interesting two to three years as we see this whole transition evolve. Music is always going to be only as sophisticated as the culture that consumes it.

...When I saw the CrowdSurfing application, it immediately took me back to scenarios with the Pumpkins....We looked at live streaming as another revenue source with the Pumpkins. Corgan and I used to talk about it, but we always whittled that reality down to the way people consume the content. Somebody looking at the event through a laptop with crappy speakers isn’t going to drive the economics. We needed to wait for live streaming to get better.

...There’s enough data around making things available or not, that the availability of content online is a good thing for the economics of the physical space.....As CrowdSurfing evolves, it will never fully replicate the physical experience. But we’re looking at live streaming as a vivid business card for the experience.

...I’m of the opinion that whatever the culture drives, that’s where you’ve got to run your business. It doesn’t pay to stamp your feet. Streaming is going to be a big part of the future.”

Jimmy's assessment seems to be in sync with the numbers, as the article states that revenue from the music business is down 5% from the same time last year, and it is largely attributed to streaming.

LiveOne Inc. is also doing well. Since Jimmy became CEO 15 months ago, the company has grown from 3 to 25 employees, and has raised $4 million dollars.

I might add, that television channels like AXS television happen to show great performances of live shows (or recordings of them) that are great. With all the crap that is on TV, hearing and seeing an amazing band play on a large screen with the volume up is still pretty entertaining, even if you aren't there in person. And with the advent of SmartTV's that can connect to the internet, the potential for live streaming of a band in a home-theater environment (and even surround sound if you've got that) is an appealing idea. I, for one, would certainly pay a reasonable amount to see The Smashing Pumpkins play a great live, streaming show on my SmartTV. Invite the friends over, whip out the popcorn and drinks and make an evening of it.

So I feel Jimmy is right. The market is definitely there. But market's are like deep reserves of oil. The key will be tapping into it. But the company seems like it's off to a great start, and it'd be great to see Billy & Co. (The Smashing Pumpkins) contribute to this project musically.

Discuss more at Shadowland Forums.

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