News Column

Rolling Stones to Roll 'Live' on Social Media Mobile Devices

Dec. 7, 2012

Mike Snider

It's only rock 'n' roll, but the Rolling Stones think you will like it -- on your tablet or smartphone.

In addition to a traditional live pay-per-view special for the band's Dec. 15 concert at the Prudential Center in Newark, the Stones will also stream the concert live for PCs, smartphones and tablets. The digital ticket costs $39.95 -- same as the home TV price set by most TV providers -- but has interactive features that include rewind and Twitter feeds. And unlimited viewings for 30 days on multiple devices.

This first-of-its-kind worldwide mobile digital offering is a Stones' streaming experiment that, if successful, could set a new industry precedent for live music on portables.

"These guys have always been on the cutting edge," says Perkins Miller at World Wrestling Entertainment, which is producing the event with online technology company NeuLion. "They are using the latest technology to deliver (and show) that they are still on top after 50 years," he says.

As the band performs its limited number of 50th anniversary concerts, it continues to push the limits of the music business. Following in the footsteps of The Beatles, the Stones were among the first to have their own record label -- they folded that in 1992 when Virgin Records paid them $45 million.

They were also the first to have a major tour sponsor -- Jovan Musk Oil in 1981 -- which netted the band $1 million. The practice became an industry standard for other acts. Subsequent Stones tour sponsors have included Budweiser and Sprint.

The Stones even had their own credit card and exclusive deals with Best Buy for concert DVDs.

"The Stones have been very focused on making sure (the mobile concert) is a high-quality experience," Perkins says.

On iPads, viewers will get high-definition video and better-than-CD-quality audio. "The quality is critical," says Chris Wagner of NeuLion, which delivers portable content for the NFL and other sports leagues.

Adds Wagner, "Whoever thought Mick Jagger would be on an iPad?"

Source: Copyright USA TODAY 2012

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