Live Albums At Every Show: CelebrityAccess Talks To Exit.Live Founder Giorgio Serra

Live Albums At Every Show: CelebrityAccess Talks To Exit.Live Founder Giorgio Serra

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LONDON (CelebrityAccess) Let’s be clear: There’s nothing new about music being recorded at performances, on the fly.  One can go back to the relative rock ‘n’ roll Stone Age when the Grateful Dead encouraged fans to bring tape recorders to their shows.  But there are other pioneers like Joseph Arthur and Bob Schneider who supplemented their live performances, making them available after the shows on burned CDs.  Or Barenaked Ladies, who would provide the shows via thumb drives after their performances. 

But the concept has never caught on, for whatever reason.  There were physical hindrances like, for instance, getting a dedicated sound engineer and the bulky equipment into a station wagon. Imagine that increased to a U2 stadium show.

And there were legal hindrances like licensing and royalty payments for cover songs. Yet, the acts that did provide the recordings never stopped because it was financially beneficial.  

And now there’s exit.live, which is about to launch this year with the attention of Google.  It promises to have the live performance available to a fan “as the last verse of an encore is still being heard”  and guarantees 80 percent of sales will go to the artist. The platform, founded in the U.K., has been used mostly for overseas classical music performances so far.

But that is expected to change, and quickly. We asked founder Giorgio Serra for all the details.

Giorgio Serra

How did this business idea come about? What inspired it?

It was personal and a little bit selfish. I was living on a remote Indonesian island and some of my favourite bands including The Rolling Stones and The Waterboys were going on tour, and I had no way of either getting to those shows nor listening to them.

Music has always been a part of my life and I’ve always loved going to live concerts where that combination of electricity and magic spark occurs between an artist and the audience. I’ve been to so many concerts and wished I could listen to them again on the way home, or the next day in my car.

So I got to work on the idea and eventually found the right people with the same passion to start developing the platform

Within a few months, we were invited to Google in San Francisco where we did a keynote presentation, and we have spent the last couple years building the platform pretty much under the radar.

The second reason was my drive to build something that would make a difference to artists. Too many artists today are struggling and the royalties from streaming are simply not fair. I believe that fans are still prepared to pay for music, especially for something unique. Concert recordings are a souvenir of a great night out, or are a great collectors item.

I mean, we buy the T-shirt, we buy the programme, so why not buy the live recording too directly from the artist?

With that in mind, we built the platform from the artist perspective. The artist always comes first.

Exit.live is an easy to use platform, with a great interface and design, which artists can join for free and keep full control of their recordings. Creating a profile and uploading shows is easy; artists set the price and the majority of the money goes directly to them at the press of a button. Exit.live pays the rights and the VAT for the artist.

I see it is not only for classical music; will you be expanding genres in the near future?

Yes definitely. We are now inviting artists of all music genres to visit https://exit.live and sign up and follow us on social media.

We are a brand-new out-of-the-box service and at the very start of our journey.

What will 2018 look like?

2018 will see us roll out exit.live to all artists, regardless of genre.

How much of a presence to you expect to have in North America?

A major presence.

North America is hugely important and has amazing music and concerts happening every single day, ranging from country to classical and rock ‘n’ roll to jazz.

Now artists have the opportunity to earn extra money via their concerts, easily creating a new revenue stream.

Recording and distributing music from live shows, immediately after the performance, has been around for a while but few artists use it. What are the hesitations in your opinion? Licensing concerns for cover songs? The burden of the “old days” of bringing along CD burners and a dedicated recording engineer? A desire to keep fans buying the studio albums? What can change those attitudes?

Buying a live recording from one of your favourite bands / artists / orchestras will not stop people buying a studio album and we also make sure the original writers of cover songs are compensated.

To quote one of the bands on exit.live:

“For my band Gin Ga, the main reason we didn’t want to record our shows was because we didn’t know what to do with it afterward. We had a few audio files from a few gigs, and we mixed and mastered some of them to have really good live albums, but … then what? In most cases, you don’t want to release it as an actual album because you’re not 100 percent happy with it (many released live albums have been put together after a tour, and the best versions of each song has been collected) and you don’t quite see the worth in doing all that’s necessary to release it. You need a cover, you need to register it, publish it on distribution platforms etc.

“On exit live, that hurdle is a lot smaller. It’s not as official as an actual album release, so you don’t feel the same pressure. It’s meant to be more like a bootleg and the prices can be adjusted to reflect recordings that a band might not feel comfortable putting on a CD, but that nonetheless, many fans would like to hear.”

Below are just bunches and bunches of questions that exit.live has answered on its website:

Q. Which countries are supported?


You can sign up from any country except the following: North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan and Timor-Leste.

Q. Do venues get paid?

Yes. We pay approved venues 3% of the total net sales which comes out of our own fees and not from the Artist fees.

Q. Who can register?

Anyone can register to sell their live recordings to fans providing they own the rights. This includes Bands, Comedians, Orchestras, Poets, Record companies, Managers and Rights Holders etc. Literally anyone with recordings that they would like to offer for sale. We call all of these ‘Artists’.

Q. Where can I sell my recordings?

Fans can register and buy Artist’s recordings from any country except the following: North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan and Timor-Leste.

Q. Do Artists get a cut of the sales?

Of course. Thats the whole point! We split 80/20 after VAT and Mechanical Rights. That’s 80% for the Artist and 20% for us. We pay the Mechanical Rights for you to ensure that Authors and Publishers receive the proper respect and financial rewards for their work.

Q. How do we get paid?

You just click the “Pay Me Now” button in your dashboard to get paid your balance immediately via Currency Cloud who charge a very reasonable transaction fee for any supported currency.

Q. I am only in a small band. How can Exit Live help me make some money?

Our platform is perfect for small bands. Create a show. Upload a recording and tell your friends and family about the our platform. There is nothing to lose by trying. Your music remains your music.

Q. Can I sell a live concert held anywhere at any time?

Yes. All shows can be recorded and sold at any time. You can even make a solo recording in your living room and sell it on our platform as a unique collector’s item.

Q. What if we do a cover song?

Cover songs incur rights payments. We withhold 12% of any revenue generated from a cover song and through our Royalty Payment Agent (“RPA”), we will pay the songwriters. There is a small check box next to each title to indicate whether the work is a cover or not.

Q. What do I do if the sound quality is not good?

Sometimes lower production values create a unique recording and a special live feeling that fans can relate to. You may be very surprised what your fans would love to own. The history of rare bootleg recordings support this view with incredibly high resale values.
We are also developing special suite of Artist Tools that can help you with Mastering or Re-mastering. Stay tuned for the release dates for these tools.
Live music has a history of not being perfect, sometimes that contributes to the overall feel of the recording. Saying that, we will do our best to keep quality high on our list of priorities.

Q. Can I eliminate some songs?

The short answer to this is yes. All Artists control their content so a recording can be edited or removed from sale for whatever reasons the Artist chooses. However, if users already downloaded the songs, they own the files and Exit Live will not ask users to delete them.

Q. Is it OK to talk about Exit Live during the show given that it will be heard on the recording?

Yes it is. We actually encourage it! The more viral marketing your recording gets the more fans you will reach and the more revenue you will make from your live performances.

Q. Can I change the price if the show doesn’t sell?

Yes. You can alter the price of any of your recordings at anytime.

Q. Do the same rules apply for support bands?

A support band is the same as any other Artist and is considered a separate show on our platform.

Q. What happens if I sing songs not on the song sheet?

You can go in after the show and edit titles and other pertinent information that may have changed since you created the show.

Q. Where do I pay tax?

We have created a dashboard to help you prepare statements but taxes are both complex and not standardized across countries therefore please discuss this with your tax advisor.

Q. Will this stop piracy?

Sadly not. We do not believe in DRM (Digital Rights Management), however, we have put in place a DMCA take-down procedure as well as automated and regular scanning of the largest pirate file sharing sites to protect Artists from people who do not respect the creative process.

Exit Live is about supporting the artist and that fans will recognize that value. Most people pirate because it’s more convenient for them and because they don’t believe in paying big labels where the artists get next to nothing. Exit Live gives users a reason again to pay for music.

Q. What is to stop a fan from file-sharing our work?

Frankly, there is nothing to stop file sharers from illegally uploading your work. We have built highly sophisticated tools to constantly scan databases and to issue DMCA notices in order to protect the Artists who have trusted us with their live performances.

We hope that Artists set a fair price that fans can afford and that true fans support their favorite Artists by paying a fair price set by the Artist for their work. As long as mankind exists so, sadly, will illegal sharing.

Q. Can the fans complain to me for bad recordings?

Yes. Fans can complain and they probably will. However we do not allow fans to communicate directly to Artists through our platform. They will have to contact you independently. We will also not display ratings or comments on the platform, but we will investigate reports of bad audio quality and intervene if necessary.

Q. If fans can download the concert might they not come to the concert?

There is nothing like attending the concert and experiencing the live show in person for the sheer atmosphere and being a part of the event. We have looked at the early days of televised sports and have concluded that live broadcasts did not negatively affect attendances. In fact, since blackouts and TV delays of live sports broadcasts ended, overall attendances have only increased. Recent research also suggests that the more recordings people own, the more likely they are to attend a live performance.

Q. Will Exit Live check the sound quality?

No. Artists have full control of what is available for sale on our platform.

Q. Are R rated songs allowed?

Yes. We do not believe in censorship, however, we do believe in the rule of law. There is a procedure for anyone to report abuse by flagging inappropriate material as well as a process for the authorities to formally request information which we are duty bound to comply with.

Q. Can Exit Live also sell non live recordings?

Our platform is primarily for live performances, vintage shows, live living room sessions and historic live shows.

Q. Why do I have to use a modern browser?

We have developed our platform using the most advanced tools available today. In fact we are pioneering many of the coolest functions to be seen on any platform.

Up to date browsers give us the best and most secure environment for Artists as well as fans. We love Google Chrome.

Q. Why are there no Genres?

We do not believe that genres help anyone anymore. Perhaps there was a time when Alternative Rock really was alternative but in 2016 the genre has disappeared as the boundaries between types of music became blurred and then vanished altogether. We also do not believe in forcing anyone into a specific category. Most of the music we love does not belong in any single genre.

Every band dreads the question “What kind of music do you play” so we decided not to ask.

Q. Can I sell my work in another currency?

We will initially support USD, CAD, AUD, GBP and JPY. Fans can pay in any currency but you will be asked to set your account to one of those currencies.

Q. Will the compression ruin the quality?

We offer fans a high quality, variable bit rate recording instantly after the show ends. We will also offer fans the ability to download a lossless version of the same show as soon as it has been approved by the Artist.

Q. Can we check the quality before selling the show?

Yes. You can playback any show you have created directly on the platform.

Q. How can we help fans to find our stuff?

You can easily post to your social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc to get the word out directly through the platform.

Q. How can we get a vanity url like exit.live/test

Vanity urls are only on request for now, since they are unique, and are only given to verified pages. Soon we will add an input field for verified pages where you can request a handle from your profile.

Q. Does Exit Live treat classical music differently?

We do not. classical music is music from the classical period. A classical music live recording is a live music recording.

Q. What equipment do we need?

There is no special equipment needed for our platform. You most certainly already have the ability to make recording directly from your current sound setup.

Q. Should we have WiFi at the venue?

Any modern Internet connection will suffice including 3G for more remote locations.

Q. Could I use booked downloads to establish the viability of concerts?

You can but our platform is geared toward confirmed live performances. We would discourage trying to use our platform as a form of market survey.

Q. Who retains ownership of the photos?

All copyrighted material on our platform remains with the Artist. We also consider Photographers as Artists.

Q. In what format do you want the photos?

PNG is our preferred format. TIFF and PSD files as well as high quality JPG are also acceptable.

Q. What is the recommended and minimum file size (or resolution) for photos?

We have a minimum requirement for photographic submissions. This is essentially an aesthetic decision. Images should be a 1920 x 1080 or better with a resolution of 72 DPI or better.

Q. Do you strip my Metadata?

Yes. We re-encode or re-mux every file you provide, and use the information you have inputed to set the new Metadata.

Q. What browsers are supported?

Every modern browser is supported. We do not support IE below version 9 for security, stability and performance reasons. We love Google Chrome.

Q. What is Dart?

Dart is a new platform for scalable web engineering. It allows us to write code for use on both the client and the server. If you happen to be a Dart programmer reading this then drop us an email

Q. Which countries are supported?

You can register from any country except the following: North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan and Timor-Leste.

Q. Do I get a refund if the recording is no good?

We have built some sophisticated analysis into our platform to deny abusive behavior. We ask all fans to abide by our terms of service and to remember they are supporting Artists by purchasing recordings on our platform.

Q. What happens if the recording is interrupted?

If there are any technical difficulties in your download (like a power outage) you can re-download the performance anytime.

Q. Who sets the price?

The Artists set the price. This is one of our core philosophies. We hope to enable Artists to make unique material available to fans for a fair price and we hope that fans in turn support Artists by paying for that material.

Q. Is Exit Live a record label?

No. We are a technology company.

Q. Do I get a receipt?

Yes. You will receive a receipt for each purchase via email as well as having full records available on your dashboard while you are logged in.

Q. Will you keep a record of my downloads so that I can retrieve them if I lose them?

Yes. Once you have made a purchase from us you can always re-download recordings if they have been lost, if your hard drive crashes or you lose your phone. In fact for any reason whatsoever.

Q. If I change operating system will I lose the recordings?

You may re-download any or all of the shows you have previously purchased at any time. Yes, really!

Q. What happens when I follow an Artist?

You will be notified when new recordings are available.

Q. How do I share my favorite Artists on Twitter or Facebook etc?

You can post to your social media accounts to let your friends know after making a purchase.

Q. How is my privacy protected?

We are committed to your right to privacy. Please see our Privacy Policy

Q. Do you track my browsing like Facebook does?

No. We do not track any of your browsing activities outside of our platform.

Q. How are my payments recorded?

All payments are made through our chosen payment processor and we both keep records available on-line.

Q. How do I turn off notifications?

Unfollow any Artists and the notifications will automatically stop.

Q. Can I get a lossless FLAC or WAV file later?

We offer fans a high quality, variable bit-rate recording instantly after the show ends. We will also offer fans the ability to download a lossless version of the same show as soon as it has been approved by the Artist. Check your notifications.

Q. What is Dart?

Dart is a new platform for scalable web engineering. It allows us to write code for use on both the client and the server. If you happen to be a Dart programmer reading this then drop us an email

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