Fresh Pie

Some fans at the recent Cult show at House of Blues left with a live recording of the band's performance. A table manned by a Live Nation employee took $25 from patrons during the sold-out show; ten minutes after the last song, those people got a CD.

Live Nation was created four months ago in a joint venture between Napster and Clear Channel Entertainment. According to Live Nation general manager Stephen Prendergast, his company is now independent.

Unlike Ticketmaster, which makes recording arrangements with venues, Live Nation makes deals with artists to accompany them on tour. Prendergast won't divulge sales figures. He says the income from live CD sales (priced between $11.88 and $29.95) has to be divvied up between the artist, music publisher, record company, and possibly the venue.

"They are individually numbered, so they also have collectible value," says Prendergast. The Cult concert was the second Live Nation production at House of Blues San Diego; the Echo and the Bunnymen show in December was the first. Prendergast says Live Nation has accompanied tours by the Decemberists, the Black Crowes, and Yo-Yo Ma.

Casbah co-owner Tim Mays says, "We tried ["instant" live recordings], and it didn't work out.... [E Music] had trouble getting the bands to do it." But Mays says the Casbah allows bands to make such arrangements on their own. The Supersuckers had Live Nation record their February performance at the Casbah. "This way it's their deal, and they keep all the money. Steve Poltz does it all the time."

Soma owner Len Paul says a company expressed interest in recording at his venue, but "We wouldn't let them do it.... They wouldn't give [Soma] a percentage. We felt we were entitled to a percentage. But I'm not saying it isn't something we would never do in the future."

Paul says he won't cut any such deal now because "We have an exclusive agreement with [TV music channel] Fuse for them to produce ten one-hour live shows here." Paul says the series will start production once a sponsor is secured.

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