March 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm

SXSW: Shows HD Indie Music Performances to the World


Music fans have a new option for discovering and enjoying new independent music:, which films touring bands in San Francisco in high definition, records their sound at a high quality, and posts the resulting videos online. The site is currently in beta, with plenty of videos currently available for free, but plans to charge $20 annual subscriptions or individuals for $1, splitting profits [updated] equally with the artists, after it launches officially in the spring with full-length concerts.

Plenty of companies have tried to crack this particular nut, from Riffage, a now-defunct start-up that purchased San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall and outfitted it with cameras only to fall into bankruptcy in 2000, and Amsterdam’s FabChannel, once the most promising of the lot, which fell by the wayside in 2009. The chief problem lies in the difficulty of securing the myriad rights associated with streaming shows online from artists, managers, publishers, venues, and so on. Nonetheless, thinks things will be different this time around.

“We’re excited to say that all the bands that we’ve been working with are very flexible, and they have open minds,” business development director Fernando Estrada told “They’re trying to get to markets that they didn’t have access to before.”

The company’s global, perpetual license from each artist allows it to put the band in front of audiences they never would have reached otherwise, offering artists a new way to make money.

“In Taiwan, for instance, we have a contract with a cable company,” added Estrada. “A lot of Taiwanese people are really curious about western music, and they pay $2 to watch an HD version of our episodes. We’re not only focusing on the United States market; we see a huge opportunity in other markets as well.” asks artists to stop by their studios as their tours take them through San Francisco to record a live session consisting of 8-10 songs, two of which the artist can do with what they please, and the rest of which will be available behind’s paywall. The current plan is to release this as a paid web app, as well as for smartphones and smart televisions. On all three platforms, these shows will surely look and sound much better than the shaky, distorted cellphone recordings available on YouTube.

Among the more prominent artists to have recorded sessions so far: Hollerado, Adam Haworth Stevens, and SXSW favorites Ha Ha Tonka.

Note: This article originally stated that splits revenue with artists; the company later clarified that it splits profits.