Lively: Fans Can Download The Concert On The Ride Home


I used to be a jam head.  I grew up going to DMB, Phish, Umphrey’s McGee, The Big Wu, Rusted Root, John Mayer and Blues Traveler concerts as well as all the local and regional jam bands near Wisconsin.  I have (somewhere) a huge CD wallet full of bootleg concerts recorded by Tapers.  Tapers are a unique community.  They get to the show early and setup their recording rig (typically next to the board if they can manage).  Some bands allow Tapers to plug directly into the board on a first come first serve basis.

Back in the day, people literally traded CDs and cassette tapes of concerts through the mail.  There were discussion boards and tape trading websites to officiate these relationships.  Paying for bootlegs was strictly forbidden and against what the culture stood for.

Fast forward to the digital download era. became the de facto hub for Tapers to upload concerts and jam heads to download.  However, once non-jam bands realized their fans would love to relive the concert they were at, more bands began to record and upload their sets to  Currently there are over 4,700 bands and 123,000 live concerts on (in the Live Music section) for free download.

But what about getting the show you just saw?  The night of?

Umphrey’s McGee, for years, recorded their concerts through the board and burned CDs directly following the concert and sold them on the spot.  Now they host all shows on their website and for $9.99 a month (or $99.99 a year) fans can have access and stream all 978 concerts (and counting).


This new startup out of Seattle looks to completely change the concert culture. Their mission statement is:

“To bring artists and fans together by capturing the live performance and encouraging people to live in the moment.”

I spoke with 4 representatives at the company (no really… 4!) to get the full run down and learn the ins and outs of what Lively is doing (and will do).

Lively launched in May of 2013.  Currently over 100 shows are on the platform with thousands of downloads.

Basically, the app enables fans to download the concert they just saw.  As fast as the band can hit Stop, add track markers, label the songs and upload the set to the Lively servers (about 30 minutes) is as fast as fans will have access to the concert to download.  Lively likes to boast “on the ride home.”

Artists currently need an iPad and an iOS compatible audio interface (they recommend Apogee Duet 2).  Artists record the concert (either from the board or a room mic) and use the iPad to create the set list names and upload to Lively.  Bands can omit songs if they want.  Lively mentioned that Macbook, PC and iPhone applications are coming within the next 3-4 months.

Artists can charge for these concerts (however many are free on the app) and make 70% of the net revenue (the app store takes its cut – Apple, Google and Windows take 30%).  Lively recommends charging $4.99 per concert.  So after a 30% app store cut and a 30% Lively cut, the Artist would receive $2.45 for a $4.99 concert.

Similar to iTunes sales in the US, the mechanical royalty is built into the download*.  Artists who own 100% of the song (or do not have a publisher) agree that they wave their mechanical royalty (if they offer the concert for free) or the mechanical royalty will be built into the payment for the download.  Regardless, they aren’t going to receive anything in addition for the mechanical royalty.

*When artists have a publisher, Lively obtains compulsory mechanical licenses through the Harry Fox Agency as well as strikes deals directly with Publishers.

Download Not Stream
Lively utilizes the download model (not streaming) so PROs will not be involved in this process.

All downloads are locked within the app and will not appear anywhere else on the mobile device and cannot be transferred to the desktop.  Lively does work with certain TV applications like AppleTV, Airplay and Chromecast.  If Lively ever goes under, I imagine, so will your downloads.

Lively currently sends video teams to select shows (mostly around Seattle) to capture the concert and offers the full video concert the next day for download.  For video, Lively obtains the sync licenses directly from publishers whenever necessary.

Lively has struck some deals with venues in Seattle, LA and DC (and are adding more every month) and have made them “Lively Enabled.”  Basically, Lively sets the venue up with the iPad and the Duet 2 and teaches the house engineer the program.  Venues can offer a Lively recording to every Artist that plays the venue.

Signing Up
Currently, Lively is functioning on an invite-only basis. Artists who’d like to be considered can email Lively at [email protected] to request an invite.

Audio Quality
I’ve listened to a few concerts and it actually sounds fantastic!  Surprisingly great.  Lively mentioned the audio bit rate is 320kbps in mp3 form (which is a higher bit rate than iTunes at 256kbps).

Download Speed
I tested this out and it literally takes only a few seconds to download a song.

Not Just For Musicians
They do offer comedy shows and talks as well.

Artists Who Have Used The Platform
Keith Urban, Blues Traveler, Aijia, Hunter Hunted, Ryan Cabrera, Jamestown Revival, Hello World, Austin Jenckes and others.

My Take
This is a very innovate app and artists who utilize it effectively could theoretically make serious dough – similar to how Umphrey’s McGee sold post show CDs.  However, for $5 a concert, with Artists receiving less than half of that, this could have a counter effect and cut into merch sales.  I imagine fans who would otherwise purchase the CD may skip the $10 purchase for a $5 live concert.  The artist receives 100% of the CD sale and less than 50% of the concert download.  However, CDs are becoming extinct anyways, so it’s important that bands offer Ts and other fun merch items and learn how to sell them at the show.

I think Lively is going to need to alter the pricing structure to be more favorable to the artists. It’s hard to justify giving away over 50% of the download sale – when labels and DIY artists get 70% from an iTunes sale (possibly a bit less depending on their distribution company.)

This could be another revenue generator not just from fans who were at the concert, but from hardcore fans who MISSED the concert.  Umphrey’s McGee is proving this model effective with their current concert subscription service.   Lively mentioned that the Hunter Hunted show at the Crocodile in Seattle was attended by about 300 people, but so far that concert has been downloaded over 450 times (for free).

Lively is still a very new company and working out many kinks.  With 25 employees and heavy funding, they are moving quickly, but are still in the baby stages of what this app could be.

Download the Lively App

Request an Artist invite:[email protected]


Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based DIY musician and the creator of Ari’s Take. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake

7 Responses

  1. Pudding

    Lovely idea, but how’s it DOING? I know Umphries McGee made it work… but is that scalable to the rest of the world? I’m already getting smashed on the ticket price… you want me to pay more?

  2. BB

    Don’t you think its a bit unethical to basically name bands that he was fan of but they have NOTHING to do with this system? What does UM have to do with Lively? Are they clients? What about Phish and the dave Mathews band? What do they have to do with Lively besides that guy is their fan? That would be like anyone that sells a product like I don’t know, a Jason Mraz album, and then sending out a press release saying that growing up in life, influences such The Beatles, Led Zep, david Bowie, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, and/or any world leader can be mentioned just before say to buy the Jason Mraz album. It is s cheap way to introduce your company unless again, those are actual clientele. I assume when you have no track record, you have to deal any way you can. Its weak. And, why can’t any band do this with their own system? This is not a hard concept. No matter that so called patent on the program. And, this company is obviously a competitor of Nugs/Live Downloads. Although, this Lively company has somehow affiliated everyone that has worked with Live Downloads and Nuts, into this Press release. It is actually weak.

    • BB

      I meant to say Nugs…(not nut). I think I made my point and btw, I grew up loving the NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA which is why i created my company today. What does my interests in life have to do with my current business? OK. So I was a fan of those brands. I guess I am now an expert at my sports company. Whatever….

      • Don Lichterman

        Thats me that wrote the above. I am not sure why I was hiding it because I wanted you to know it was me and btw…no to that guy above me..its not sustainable which is why I abolished the idea years ago after three months…Think about live downloads today…Its download is now part of the price of the ticket. Obviously that model from the mid 00’s did not work….I’ll tell you what…do the math and you tell me if this company or any live download company can live off 30% of those sales if you do NOT have a Phish or DMB….For me…during my debacle try with it…like I said here above…..that lasted three months or four months before I knew it could not work. Thats why I abandoned it after a few months…..Plus I was being scammed and ripped off bringing my margins to nowhere…..but aside from those issues…it still would not work in broad scheme of life..its mere mkg tool..and its an expensive one of you deal like Phish and dave mathews, etc. and who cares about any others as far as making a huge living…Then look at bands that do NOT switch up their sets lists metalica..obviously that did not work or they would have kept doing it…The space needed on servers may as well be the rent….but one the thing that is way off base (selectively of course) with regard to this company Lively is that they consider this to be a download. They said somewhere that it is not a performing rights issue. I have to say they are the ONLY humans that feel that way….because to me and real people in the music industry and/or anyone that knows their ways around a recording contract…this is a PRO issue and nothing else….its a new master the second its played live..its not the one copyrighted on a cd or in stores…that one on the cd or the one copyrighted with the Library of Congress is the real master by any real law or contract I should say…this live shit is the performing rights no matter the outlet..its a totally new master technically by any contract…its a download per se..but of a new master…it is not of the original one copyrighted in the DC Library of Congress…the only one registered there is that one…no when anyone plays anything live..its a new master….its not a cover of the one you have on a record or on a cd. Thats like saying Phish covered their own album on Halloween…Oh wait…forget that one…..In seriousness, that will be an issue if they get any real acts to use this service. no label would stand for it..No major label….and if a band dealt on their own, they may have breached any recording agreement…anyway…i wanna announce that I grew up seeing 381 Grateful Dead Shows and because of it…you should love my company and its serv9ces….BTW and also..i think this dick head dogged me for posting a radiohead show when that internet archive listing said not to or some weak 15 minutes of fame he need to get part of….and yet he acts this way when introducing his company throwing every fucking band name into the mix as possible…even though they have no affiliation with that Lively company…thats ok to do in life? But when I use radiohead to do whatever to promote or cross promote sunset live 365 (I was not or NEVER selling it..i was merely giving it out gratus for normal people to hear….)…that was NOT ok for this same guy? Must be part of that GOP…..

  3. Simon Tait

    You’re way off the mark I think regarding the artist’s cut. Remember that for a CD the physical pressing & artwork & packaging is going to cost between $2 and $4 (depending on scale) plus the cost of production plus promotion plus session musos etc etc. There’s no way any independent artist can make 50% gross profit off a physical CD sale for ten bucks.

  4. michaelmackey

    im a stage hand just bib the Doobie Brothers Joplin Missouri casinothe Ojays a drant Boston 3 doors down the Eagles all sorts of different singers any way i run the camra r a spot light I also work at the Civic Centerdoing teatrical playsPhantom of the Opera all sorts of showes that are not televisedthat I would like to bring to you .for a small feeI’ve got 32 around the waist and I’m looking forward in the face help me out folksI need a grill


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