Mark Knopfler is the first major label artist to offer downloads of his concerts within 24 hours of an appearance.
The former Dire Straits leader will offer perfs from his 2005 world tour as digital downloads through an arrangement with Crowfly Digital Entertainment.
Knopfler’s performance tonight at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium will be the first to be made available at www.mark-knopfler.com.
Concerts will be recorded and mixed and offered online the day after the show.
Downloads of concerts will be available for $14.99. There is no limit to the number of times a file can be burned to a CD, but Crowfly founder Eric Geadelmann said that decision is Knopfler’s. Technology is available to limit the number of CDs burned.
Crowfly assumes all costs of the project and pays Knopfler a portion of each download.
Knopfler, who records for Warners domestically and Universal internationally, will be offering about 15 shows from his world tour.
“The service, overall, is primarily directed toward artists with credibility in the artist community,” Geadelmann said. “And he’s someone who has an international following. In our opinion, it’s a phenomenal opportunity to connect Mark with his fan base. And to use his words, ‘It’s money for nothing.’ ”
Crowfly, a division of holding company 821 Entertainment Group, was created to provide artist-driven digital media management and a delivery system for interactive services on artists’ Web sites. Company has created an online rewards program for Knopfler fans that’s offering his discography for $9 per album.
While researching how to set up their company, Geadelmann said the company considered joining the firms providing CDs of concerts soon after their conclusion. Clear Channel and others have been running CD recording and burning enterprises for the past two years. Clear Channel’s Instant Live sells the discs usually for $20-$25, but there are no downloads offered.
Geadelmann said their research found mixed feedback. “People go with a certain amount of money to a show. From an artist’s standpoint, onsite CD sales can cannibalize other merchandise sales.”
Crowfly later may offer physical CDs with artwork and liner notes. “That has to do with the demographics that relate to tours and people’s (computer) aptitude and desire to have physical media,” he said.
Geadelmann said Crowfly is in talks with about 10 other acts that will be touring in late summer/early fall.
A number of acts have provided downloads of concerts on their Web sites, most notably Metallica and Phish, but concerts generally are put online two days after a show.
The online redeemable points system is handled by PassAlong Networks, which launched its media commerce platform last year and set up licenses with major labels.