While the rest of the world is watching as Clear Channel slowly gobbles up every concert ventue in the known universe, AT&T is positioning itself as the go-to online concert venue, via a sub-domain called blue room. Yeah, I can’t believe I typed that sentence either.
I won’t bore you with the thread that lead to this almost-improbable happening, but suffice to say that AT&T is not, as you previously thought, just a communications company. They are communications and entertainment. And they want to entertain you.
I know, I know, this is not a secret or even a revelation. It’s been clear for some time that phone companies want to be content providers (see: Net Neutrality, proposed legislation in California), and I think that’s just fine as long as the phone companies are not allowed to give their content higher priority. It’s not like consumers have a lot of choice when it comes to who owns the phone lines into their homes, and we’re a long way from broadband wireless connectivity.
AT&T is starting out by providing disappointed would-be concert-goers with an online alternative. Not, again, a particularly new idea. We were watching New Year’s Eve webcasts from New York’s Knitting Factory as far back as 2000, 2001.
What will make or break AT&T or any other company in this arena is user experience. Live streaming is fine, but what about those of us in other time zones? How easy is it to access the content? What about costs? Can we download the concert or not. These questions and more will be key factors in the highly competitive online music world.
In the meantime, we encourage you to check this venture out and see if it answers your questions, like, oh, why oh why, does it only work with Windows Media Player? Choice, people, choice.