Montreal's Breakglass Studios is hoping to position itself as the place on the internet to find the best audio and video of live music.
The recording studio in Montreal’s Parc-Ex neighbourhood is already celebrated for its work with Arcade Fire, Patrick Watson, and Half Moon Run.
It's now started streaming free live internet broadcasts of concerts hosted in the studio — all recorded in studio quality.
"We’re giving people exactly what they want," says Breakglass co-owner James Benjamin. "There’s a huge appetite for music online and I think I can say without offending anybody most of it looks bad and sounds worse. So, if we can put shows out there that look and sound the way music is supposed to, then I think people will appreciate it and flock to it."
Tuareg blues guitarist Bombino live to the world from Breakglass
Earlier this week, CBC Radio went to the control room after a live internet broadcast of a show by Bombino, a blues guitarist from the Sahara.
Benjamin told us the broadcasts aim to immerse music fans in the studio experience.
"The concept is we take these incredible moments that happen within the walls of the studio... There’s magic that happens — an incredible guitar take, a beautiful vocal take, a beautiful effect chain, reverb, and I want to try to share those moments with people all over the world," he said.
But who’s going to pay?
Benjamin thinks his live internet broadcasts will make the best quality listening and viewing experience. That will attract viewers which will in turn bring sponsors and advertising to the studio and help offset the cost of the free internet content.
The end of the tour?
Not only will it enhance the reputation of Breakglass Studios internationally, but some of the Montreal musicians who turned up to sip beer and listen to this week’s performance think the streaming concerts could be the future for them as well.
Andrew Barr from the Barr Brothers hinted that the band might release their forthcoming CD with a similar live internet performance.
He also says he’s been talking to fellow musician Patrick Watson about whether or not this kind of event could replace touring.
"I remember talking to Patrick Watson a while ago about getting to the point where we just go to each others’ houses and that’s it. That's touring. I’m gonna go over the Pat’s house tonight and we’ll film it and broadcast it to the world and the next night we’ll go to Brad`s house and sit on the porch," he said.
At the least, Barr says it gives fans a great idea of what a live show looks like up close. That, too, is a great marketing tool for the musicians.