Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wolfgang's Vault: Streamed music With a Difference
When we spoke to a musical friend Tim Hardy in Sedona, Arizona and mentioned we had just been looking at Spotify and enjoying the streamed music, he suggested www.wolfgangsvault.com. Today we experienced that and were suitably impressed.
Wolfgang's Vault owns one of the world's largest collections of original concert posters; hundreds of rock, political, sports and comedy posters all for sale in mint condition, and many are signed by the headline performer or the graphic artist. These like the promotional and backstage memorabilia, passes , concert tickets, tee shirts, books, magazines date back as far as the 60s and will appeal to many memories of the rock heydays. Read record reviews and in-depth articles about the greatest performers of yesterday and today in their Crawdaddy magazine going back to the sixies and now an online webzine. There are also many concert recordings available and streamed for free within the vault. You will find thousands of legendary live recordings with hundreds available for download and the Vault is also available as a free app on iPhone.
The list of streamed music free to listen to includes live tracks from concerts by the likes John Lennon live at Maddison Square Garden in ’72, or legends at the Fillmore such as the Grateful Dead in ’66, Jimi Hendrix in ’68, Led zeppelin in 69, or Derek and the Dominoes in ’70, or David Bowie at Montreal in ’83, U2 in ’83, right up to the White Stripes today. The list is vast and provides something for everyone.
Where did all this come from? Wolfgang was Bill Graham , a music entrepreneur who commissioned works of art to promote his shows and he overprinted and preserved the exceptional art, photography and recordings that came from these shows. For over 30 years, his company accumulated and stored this material in newly minted condition. The vast majority of material in Wolfgang's Vault comes from the original archives of 'Bill Graham Presents'and music and concert reviews.
So why do we report about it here and does it have any relevance to today’s digital explosion? We believe that it demonstrates that its digital content often needs context to provide a rounded experience. If we look today's musicians they are now signing up to Live Nation and controlling the concert and merchandising and Biil Graham understood this back in the 60s. Wolfgang’s Vault will stream rare concerts for free and sell merchandise and memorabilia today. It was George Martin, who when asked in the 60s where the value was, said ‘the album was the menu and the concert the meal’.