The Webcast Arrives

10.30.10 - (Dave Lavery)

Almost two years since their fan base called for simulcasts of their Hampton reunion shows — some of the toughest tickets in history — Phish has finally answered them, offering live pay-per-view webcasts of their upcoming, sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden. Easing the pain for thousands of fans around the world who can’t make it to the Big Apple, everyone will be able to listen and watch the climactic New Year’s celebration as it unfolds over three nights.

Without packaging downloads with the webcasts, Phish is creating a completely separate revenue stream selling online access to their shows with little extra effort from their crew. In a win-win situation for all, people will surely gather for listening parties and the price of $15.99 per show ($19.99 for NYE) will dissolve into nothing once a few friends come over to share in the groove. Much like “No Spoilers” listening parties popped up around the nation for Hampton’s comeback, now real-time, New Year’s parties are sure to materialize — with soundboard feeds, nonetheless! Upping the ante for all fans with other plans this holiday season, I wonder how many people have now canceled their New Year’s Eve plans to virtually rage it with Phish?

NYE 1998 - MSG

Revolutionizing “couch tour” for these MSG shows, the question that now begs to be answered is — “Will webcasts be the norm moving forward?” Is this the future of Phish tour? Several community members have already offered free and illegal live streams of every Phish show this year, though the quality of these feeds have, allegedly, varied from unwatchable to fairly perfect. Might this move be the band’s response to their fan base’s successful pirating efforts? If continued on conventional tours, people would be more apt to order shows individually, at home, potentially increasing total sales. This next step would seem logical. With all shows already videotaped for the archives, this service can’t add much additional cost to the organization whether webcast receives fixed or multi-camera shots. Regardless of what type of video is offered, Phish just made a huge step forward in allowing their entire community to share in the holiday season. For the first time in history, major shows will accessible — live — by anyone, anywhere in the world. An unquestionably epic move.

10.20.10 (M. Stein)

But with this move, many questions follow. Is this service just being offered for the New Year’s extravaganza? Will Phish webcast every show from now on? Will they only webcast sold-out shows in the future like the NFL? Could this really be the “couch tour” of the future? Though they are certainly not a substitute for the live experience, would webcasts actually deter some people from making insane trips to see Phish — something that has always been part and parcel of the addiction? While webcasts would, inevitably, involve more people in any given show, would they somehow devalue the experience? Would college students and beyond choose bong hits and surround sound over paying for, and trekking to, shows? If this is even a possibility, what is the implication of having access to something sacred from the couch? Is some of the mystique stripped away if fans anywhere can flip on the Phish show for a small fee, just as they flip on any pay-per-view movie or boxing fight? The questions go on and on…What do you think?


Jam of the Day:

Ghost > Ha Ha Ha” 12.31.98 I

Another moment of MSG New Year’s Eve history.




5.2.1994 Five Points Music Hall. Birmingham, Alabama

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Here’s a random stocking stuffer for your collection, straight from the deep south in 1994. Phish concluded this show with “Mike’s Song” featuring two guest bass players — Oteil Burbridge and Stacy Starkweather. Enjoy!

I: The Great Gig in the Sky > Split Open and Melt, Bouncing Around the Room, Down with Disease, It’s Ice, Glide, The Divided Sky, Suzy Greenberg, Foam, Sample in a Jar

II: Runaway Jim, Mound, Reba, Golgi Apparatus, The Lizards, Julius, Lawn Boy, Mike’s Song* > Jam**

E: Cavern

*Oteil Burbridge on bass.
**Oteil Burbridge on bass and Stacy Starkweather on stand-up bass. Band members switched instruments.

Source: AKG 460

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464 Responses to “The Webcast Arrives”

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  1. hislittlecatposternutbag Says:

    I won’t make to any New Year’s shows, but will definitely not stream them. I can’t really see the point of listening to a show live as it’s virtually the same as downloading it later except for the no spoilers factor. Either way you not IN the show, you are appreciating it detached from the things that make live music an experience. The lights, the crowd, watching your buddies back as he fires up the joint. The music is still great, but it is different from being part of the excitement as you hear a song developing out of the jam. It;s akin to watching the ball game live on TV. On NYE I will have an experience where I am, and catch up on my Phish later. And then be jealous and ache for the next crazy road trip to IT.

  2. Le Pheesh Says:

    I think that the price is high. I seem to recall watching a live webcast of a Vegas show, back in 2000 maybe, and it was free. I also really hope that people do not cancel their New Years plans to sit on the couch and listen to Phish. The shows will be available for download, and if you are not there live and in the flesh, it is not the same, even if you are listening while it is happening. Just my two cents!

  3. Foul_Domain Says:

    If it werent for solid NYE plans, I would be all over the PPV webcast.

    I think the price is right on.

    Morning All

  4. ThePigSong Says:

    I am so grateful to be able to spend NYE inside MSG!

    This is really a win for west coast fans…

    Watch phish’ ring in the new year>ring in your own new year

  5. Hunter Says:

    I also take issue with the cost. With all the band has literally given their fans throughout the years, it seems like a cash-in to charge this much money for streaming. I would pay this much for video downloads of each show, or as a complete NYE run bundle, but streaming pay-per-view? No thanks.

    I really think this whole thing will test whether some fans have a problem:

    Family: “Come on, son, we’re cracking open another bottle of champagne and setting off fireworks! Happy new year!”

    Fanboy: “Just a minute, I have to hear what comes after Auld Lang Syne!”

  6. JerZ Says:

    I think this is a win for everybody. It has sometimes been difficult for me to embrace going from Seeing every show live to being in a place in life where I am catching 7 or 8 a year. This seems to soften the blow a little bit. There have been times over the last couple years when I just knew they were gonna throw down and there was nothing I would be able to do to be there and I would get a little frustrated following the setlist.

    If they offer this moving forward, I will probably hit the same amount of shows, still wish I could make it to more, but enjoy the ones that I can’t rather than be pissed that I couldn’t be there. I look at this as a huge win

  7. butterflyeffect Says:

    mornin’ all, happy monday. i am going to say f work (as per usual) and go buy a video game to play all day.

    @AJ, if you’re reading, can you resend the email you sent a week or so ago? idk where it went yetanotherfakeemail420 at gmail

    as for the streamin’ phish, <3. it is a business, after all, so i would never judge them for charging a fee for a service, and i think the price is reasonable. the bottom line is, if you can't make the show, and you're home, and you're jonesing, would you want the option to pay the price of a simple meal out for a meal of live Phish in? i say hell yes.

  8. Little Buddy Says:

    I’d guess that when Phish set the price they were imagining a room full of friends taking in the stream together, not one dude at home by himself. For the room full of friends, the price is right on – maybe even cheap. For the lonely dude, it’s a little pricey.

    I hope this begins a trend of steaming sought after shows. With all the developments in the lives of my wife and I who knows how many shows we will be making it to in the coming years, so this could take the sting off a bit. Nothing beats being in a show – nothing. I can’t imagine finding IT at home on my couch. You have to be present for that. But, as opposed to seeking out a download the next day and watching the setlist pop up on (I never really did the pirate streams much), this could provide for a fun party a couple times a tour. This offer would definitely not affect my desire to see shows, but it would be great to tune in when I can’t be there.

    Does it affect the sacredness of being there? Nah – I used to think so, but with all the streams that have been going on that last couple years, I never thought about all that once when I was in the room with Phish.

    The future has arrived.

  9. willowed Says:

    I am surprised people are not embracing this option. It’s a great opportunity to feel the connection. We are always talking about the “connection” between fans and the band. This is a chance to get a small piece of it if you are unable to be there in person.
    I would love to be at MSG with all of you great people. I can’t. I spend New Years with my wife and trying to find a baby sitter on New Years for three kids is impossible. This option is perfect for me. Is it the same…NO. Will I chose not to go to shows from now on if this becomes the norm…hell no. The sights, the sounds, the long bathroom lines, the traffic, the merchants, the bad choices, the hugs and high fives, the feeling you get when the lights drop….a TV or Computer can never take that away. People will still trek to the venues.

    Have you ever watched a football game or baseball game on DVR? You had a wedding or something and you weren’t able to catch the big game in real time? I have. It sucks. There is something not right about watching a game after it already took place. It loses its luster.
    An opportunity to watch these shows live is exciting….truly exciting. Down loads are great and all, but being able to participate in real time is next level type shit. I love it.

  10. joechip Says:

    I can’t believe you people are complaining about the price. As if all this stuff was free to do and didn’t require people to be paid to make it happen. It’s $15 a show for christ’s sake. Are you really that fucking broke? Then don’t get it.

    One thing I would like is if it were possible to disable the video and just listen to the audio stream. That would be a key option for those who are worried about their download speeds. I don’t need to see Trey’s nose hair during a sick jam to get an more out of it.

    Also Miner: Not to be that guy, but you used the word “nonetheless” above when “no less” is the appropriate term.

  11. bhizzle Says:

    “I spend New Years with my wife and trying to find a baby sitter on New Years for three kids is impossible. This option is perfect for me. Is it the same…NO. Will I chose not to go to shows from now on if this becomes the norm…hell no”.


    What up Little Buddy

  12. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Morning BB. Any further coverage of Phish is always a great option. Keyword: option. Nice Phish. I’ll be taking advantage for a night at least.

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I ageee with willowed. I don’t think they will do this for every show going forward, but what do I know.

    From now on getting “electric” at shows will now be refered to as getting “desean’d, or getting “vick’d”.

    I’m still in shock.

  14. BTB Says:

    morning bb,

    I embrace the option…

    My 2 cents – they will probably only offer webcasts for “special events” in 2011 like Halloween, Festival, Hampton or NYE etc. An every show webcast is not likely going to happen. Also, they will only offer webcasts for sold out shows.

  15. poop goblin Says:

    I think it is a fun option for the occasional new years or halloween show.

    but like joe said I’d be just as happy with an audio stream. never quite udnerstood needing to see the visual image. I don’t look at the stage when I’m there so shouldn’t be any different when watching at home.

    I usually listen to fresh shows when running the next day so on a regular basis I wouldn’t really be streaming many shows as the next day live phish releases are soon enough for me.

    price is fine. get one friend to come over and it’s the price of a movie.

    if I end up not being able to hit Worcester it would have been a great option to see how the boys sound getting ready for MSG.

    anyway seems like a good alternative for kids that can’t make it out to MSG.

    Don’t want to miss that Fat Man in a Bathtub > Bathtub Gin

    have a good one today
    laterz kids

  16. willowed Says:

    I truly hope Fat Man and Moon make a visit this run.

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    mornin’ y’all
    one week ’til new phish!

    whaddya mean “you people”?!? 😉

  18. jdub Says:

    It’s one thing to not be into couch tour but seems kind of like entitlement to think the band should give this away. These guys put in their time and paid their dues for many years. Why begrudge of them for making a smart business move?

    I love the idea, probably wouldn’t pay this much for standard shows but this is a New Years run at MSG. Watching and listening to this New Years show unfold in high quality video sounds very enticing.

  19. Little Buddy Says:

    What up, Bhizzle. Long time-no speak. I hope the fam is well.

    re: stream – I also think the audio only option would be very nice.

    @ Mr P. – That was the mots painful loss in my 30 yrs of watching the G-Men. I mean, just horrible. I can’t stop thinking about the horror. Coughlin is going to lose his job bc of the inability to recover an onside kick and a punter who kicks it down the middle to the fastest guy in football. Damn special teams. WTF? Worst – loss – ever!

  20. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I hope the Moon shows up too 😉

  21. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Little buddy- that was a haunting loss. I couldn’t watch another play of football yesterday after that debacle. TC very well may lose his job . Cowher will be the next coach. Manninghams fumble was also a killer. I can’t talk about it anymore

    Go phish.

  22. willowed Says:

    I was going for that TIII

  23. Little Buddy Says:

    Mr P – I have avoided all sports talk and TV since 4 PM yesterday. I just told a co-worker to go tell my Eagles fan co-worker that I don’t want to see him or talk to him today. Haha.

    Yep. Done talking about it. I’ll just wallow in the pain now.

  24. KfL Says:

    go bills 😮

  25. Mitch Says:

    If 15 bucks is too expensive then you need to make more Phish friends. Stock 5 dudes in a room, pay 3 bucks and pass the dutchie to the left hand side.

    If people do end up choosing this over the real thing, which I don’t think they will, that’s just being lazy. Phish will still blow up the non webcast shows. In that case, they can just blackout a few undersold shows and make the fans get off their butts.

    I think this is a great step forward. Anyone who doesn’t see that is missing the point. Even an audio stream is fine but video. Wow. That would have totally redone my fest 8 experience and I already thought listening was great.

    Also, think about how much money they will make by putting videos out on They better do HD if they wanna keep up with harpuafsb that’s for sure.

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