A recent trend among live performers is to record a concert, immediately transfer the recording to flash drives, and sell them as fans walk past the merchandise table on their way out. I first heard of Willie Nelson doing this on a Fourth of July show back in 2007, and I saw the Pixies offer a recording of the Seattle show I attended through EMI's Abbey Road Live program.
Aderra, which provides turnkey services for musicians who want to record and sell their own shows on USB drives, is offering a new twist: flash drives that give users access to a continually updated stream of new content, including future live performances. The technology is called PushOvr, and its latest customer is a Los Angeles rock band called Killola. Fans can buy a $40 Killola "dog tag" at the band's shows or online. The dog tag is actually a USB flash drive containing the band's three studio albums, including a new album that won't be widely-released until August 10. Whenever the fan plugs the USB drive in to a computer, it checks an online server for new material, such as downloadable recordings and videos. On July 22, the band will stream a live concert over the Web, but you'll have to have one of the USB dog tags plugged in to watch it. Aderra also offers other options for artists, like the ability to transfer live recordings over the air directly to a fan's mobile phone. Music fans can check out the company's client list, which has links to buy Aderra products from artists like Crowded House, David Grey, and Antthrax. And if you're a touring act and play to more than 300 people a night, Aderra might be able to get you started with no up-front costs--just get in touch.