Premier 3G Concert Broadcast

U2 special edition iPods, ‘phone cast’ Rooster concerts on 3G mobile phones, Robbie Williams new video premiered on 3 mobile phones – is rock becoming virtual?

Avoid the crowds, the heat, the general mayhem, (but sadly also the atmosphere) and virtually experience live gigs on your 3G mobile phone wherever you are, and make as many calls as you want during the intermission.

Yesterday in London, rock band, Rooster played the first ever concert broadcast by 3G mobile phone. Rooster was chosen because 3 is already in partnership with their record label, BMG. The 45-minute gig was really a trial run by 3 to discover more about how people use their video phones. 3, which already provides 1.2 million customers with 3G services in the UK, has already planned a series of gigs to happen throughout 2005, and is hoping that the move will lure more people into buying video phones.

The broadcast was trailed on Rooster’s Web site and on 3’s own phone-based news and entertainment channel, and about 10,000 people signed up for a free pre-gig reminder. Ten minutes before start-up, these 10,000 users were sent an SMS inviting them to visit a “virtual box office” where they could pay £5 to view the gig, and the first 1,000 were admitted.

Another world first was the release of Robbie Williams’ new video ‘Misunderstood’, exclusive for a week on 3 video mobiles before being premiered on the TV or the Web. The deal between EMI and 3 allows fans to either stream or download the video straight to their mobiles. This is a clever choice since the video for ‘Misunderstood’ – which features in the Bridget Jones sequel, ‘The Edge of Reason’ – includes clips from the forthcoming film.

Staying in the digital arena, Robbie Williams also recently announced the release of his greatest hits album on memory-card format for mobile phones, which will be released this month.

Some commentators might say these developments let fans get closer to artists, and if you were selling the equipment you would say that, wouldn’t you?

“It sounds exactly as you would expect a live band playing down a telephone line to sound”, says Alexis Petridis today in his Guardian review of the Rooster event – “a Library Of Congress field recording from the 1930s.”,11711,1342211,00.html