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Instant Souvenirs For Concertgoers

Instead of a $50 T-shirt or a $25 program, how'd you like to leave a concert with a CD of the concert you just attended?

Clear Channel Communications, a giant in the radio industry and the music business, is reportedly betting that you'd be glad to buy one of their near-instant CDs.

That's according to the New York Times, which says Clear Channel - which has never before been in the recording business - has the technology to distribute the CDs within minutes of when the concert ends, fast enough to give them to fans as they leave the performance area.

In an interview with the Times, industry analyst Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research points out Clear Channel's announcement - expected today - could shake things up, since no record label dominates the market in the way that Clear Channel dominates the radio and concert business.

Until now, that has meant that job one for record companies in the U.S. has been to get Clear Channel to broadcast their acts and promote their concerts, explains Bernoff. But the game could be completely upended if the record companies were in competition with Clear Channel's own CDs.

Clear Channel execs say that's not what the company has in mind, and that their only intention is to find yet another thing to offer concertgoers, and thus boost revenues from concerts.

One veteran rock band manager is enthusiastic about the CDs-to-go concept.

"I think it's the future of the touring merchandising business," Irving Azoff told the newspaper.

The new CDs, to be called Instant Live, have been tested at small-scale concert venues for the past few months.

Boston has been the test market and will also be the place for the first real rollout, with expansion to other cities if all goes well.

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