You may recall that earlier this month I mentioned attending a show where CDs of that night's performance were available immediately after the show, and how cool I thought that was.
Well, ClearChannel is going to put a stop to that, by golly! In case there was any doubt that ClearChannel is the Great Satan, check this out: Clear Channel Limits Live CDs: Company to block bands from selling instant albums.
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.'"
"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."
Apparently the patent in question is US Patent 6,614,729, issued September 2, 2003. It is, as you would presumably expect, bullshit. From what I can tell, what the so-called "inventors" have patented is this process:
- Record audio digitally;
- Manually divide the stream into "tracks" as it is coming in;
- When finished, send the tracks to multiple CD burners.
The United States Patent Office has found this "invention" to be so novel that is has granted a twenty year monopoly to the "inventors." This means that ClearChannel will get to decide who, if anybody, can make on-the-spot recordings of any concert until 2023.