Sorry Taper420, Phish Will Take It From Here

Now, Live Phish is actually Live Phish.

Thanks to today’s technology packed into phones, live video streams (more for the audio) started becoming popular during 2009’s Summer Tour. By the end of the first leg of 2010’s Summer Tour, AlphaPig was providing some of the best streams of the tour. As the second leg rolled around, Taper420 quickly took over the crown as the best streamer. He provided the best audio, putting no focus on trying to capture any video. He knew that people would rather have great audio than horrible video mixed with over-saturated sound. When Fall Tour started, Taper420’s quality was kicked up to about as good as a live audio stream could be; straight through a taping rig, through a laptop, and into our houses–no other stream could come close to comparing.

Phish, Inc caught onto the new and popular way of people getting their impulsive Phish fix; they amended their taping policy to accommodate the recent trend in concert taping. Taper420, realizing the possibility of legal scrutiny, stopped allowing HoodStream to carry his broadcasts. Instead, he forced anyone who would like to listen to his stream to go directly to his UStream account. On top of concentrating his audience to one website, he required a password–often spreading like wildfire over Twitter, email and IMs.

“…The band lacks the legal rights to permit real-time streaming of live shows under any circumstances. Real-time streaming is defined as passing along a live recording before you leave the venue.…” Official Taping Policy

Although Taper420’s practices are certainly shunned by Phish, he made a point that he would only broadcast shows that were sold out. He stirred up the online Phish community when he refused to broadcast (if memory serves me correctly, correct if wrong) Augusta’s concert. People were up in arms, people were claiming that Taper was “playing God”. Because of the fact that he wouldn’t broadcast non-sellouts, I have a hunch that he will be respectful and won’t try to cut into LivePhish’s recently announced MSG stream.

As you can see from the poll on the right, some people plan on trying for fan streams before shelling out the $15 – $20 dollars for Phish’s official stream. However, if Taper420 is not available, there will be close to nothing available that would justify trying to save the $15 (divided by how many friends are with you).

Thoughts on an Official PPV Stream

busting out the ::popcorn:: and getting your face melted live!

As fans started calling for Phish to stream their own shows, I found it hard to side with either argument–for or against it. I told myself if streams were 5-10 dollars a concert, I would probably pay for it every night I wasn’t doing something else while missing a concert. Since it’s $15 for the normal 12/30 and 1/1 shows, this would probably be the price of two-set shows in the future. At $15 -a-pop, I’m not certain I would buy it every night–however, if I have nothing else going on, or am simply doing computer work, it’s going to be hard not to purchase the stream.

Quality will certainly play into my decision to purchase future streams. I assume, since they tape all their shows with multiple cameras (behind stage cameramen, soundboard cam, cam on each front corner of stage), the streams will have multi-cam views–much like the Alpine DVD and other officially released videos on their Vimeo site. Also, the video will be paired up with the soundboard audio–something that will accompany your nice stereo very nicely when cranked all the way to 11. I suppose the last unanswered question I really have is: will the steam be smooth? If the stream isn’t smooth, a lot of people are not going to dish out more money in the future. However, Phish knows this–they realize this is a very important first impression they are about to make.

Of course, before we can decide on if we are going to purchase any streams in the future, we need the most obvious question answered: is this a special event or will this be a permanent addition to Phish’s evolving digital business model? I suspect it will be permanent considering the fact that every show is filmed anyway. If it is permanent, I also expect it to eventually take over all the fan streams.

While a lot of people probably plan on hooking their laptop up to their big screen TV for the stream; I’d like to mention that OPT fan, Michael H., confirmed this stream will be accessible through PS3. You can simply locate the LivePhish site via your PS3 browser–clicking on the test stream works.

Unfortunately, I am the only member of the OPT crew that won’t be making it to the NYE shows. I plan on having a Phish party on 12/30 at my place (yes, the FB invites have already been sent); I am going to watch via my PS3. I don’t plan on being home NYE, but, depending on how the 12/30 stream goes, I may purchase the 1/1 too. I will be sure to write about how well the stream is executed.

This is an exciting time for fans. Not only are we able to enjoy soundboard recordings hours after a show is finished, but now we are also able to watch our favorite band live. What a great country.

To test your computer or other device with their stream (and to see Alpine Valley’s YEM -> Piper) click here.