The Web's most intriguing music-related destinations. This week: JamBase.com, BBC's Radio 1 and Jimmy Buffett.
JAM-BAND BASE CAMP: "Go See Live Music!"
That's the motto of online portal JamBase.com, which promotes the ever-growing scene of improvisational music-makers, aka "jam bands." The site is essentially a marketing tool for hundreds of bands whose only true connection is their predilection for improvisation in concert. In accordance with its mission statement, the site's most prominent feature is its extensive database of concert dates, but it also offers streaming music through its Rhapsody distribution deal, ticket sales and fan contests.
JamBase allows fans, concert organizers and bands themselves to update its databases. One can add a band or a set of tour dates to the site's resources by way of a simple entry form. In this way it has built a unique resource for live show information, one that includes lesser known bands and regional acts alongside scene staples like Phish, String Cheese Incident and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Users on the site's message board applaud it for expanding their knowledge of like-minded groups that don't get much radio airplay or mass media exposure.
The site's own ticket-sales program allows bands and concert organizers to sell tickets to fans with lesser service charges than those assessed by other online ticketing agencies. According to its site, JamBase does not charge the event organizers to use its ticket-sales system, and the average service charge assessed to customers hovers around 15% for $20 tickets.
In the summer of 2002, JamBase inked a deal with the Rhapsody subscription service to distribute a targeted catalog of streaming content through its site. The JamBase Live Archive catalog features soundboard-sourced concert recordings from 50 artists including moe., Little Feat, Charlie Hunter, Bruce Hornsby and Soulive alongside a host of albums by jam-friendly artists. The site's stand-alone catalog is available for streaming at $7.50 a month and also as part of the Rhapsody All Access catalog for $9.95 a month. The service offers CD burning capability on a per-track basis at an additional cost.
JamBase also offers jam band related news and reviews on its home page, and regularly sponsors contests to win concert tickets. Fans who have signed up for free JamBase memberships are eligible to enter each contest and can customize a "My JamBase" home page with news, reviews and concert information pertaining to their favorite bands.
THE BRITISH ARE STRUMMING: England's top media company BBC still dominates the airwaves in the U.K., and its flagship music channel Radio 1 -- like many other radio stations -- now offers music fans from around the world a chance to tune in to its various programs through its official Web site.
The site boasts music news and features, a summer festival events guide and an audio/visual page with RealAudio interviews, music videos and archived Radio 1 broadcasts organized by radio host and genre.
Renowned BBC DJ John Peel, curator of the "Peel Sessions" shows -- which feature cutting-edge bands recording live songs in the studio -- holds court over a dedicated section of the site. His area includes a text archive of Peel Sessions performances/recordings, Peel's recommended new releases, a label-of-the-month feature written by the DJ and RealAudio archives of the most recent three sessions.
PARROT FIELD RECORDINGS: Jimmy Buffett is joining the ranks of artists making their concert performances available quickly through the Internet. The island-themed party rocker's upcoming six-date tour of the West Coast will be recorded and released in double-CD versions next month.
Recordings of the six concerts -- Sept. 15 in Seattle, Sept. 18 in Vancouver, Sept. 20 in Las Vegas, Sept. 23 in San Diego, Sept. 25 in Mountain View, Calif. and Sept. 27 in Irvine, Calif. -- will be released on Buffett's own Mailboat Records, and are available for pre-order now exclusively at Amazon.com. It is not known whether the discs will be sold in retail stores.
In the meantime, fans interested in listening to live Buffett online should check out Radiomargaritaville.com, where concert recordings are streamed as part of a continuous 24-hour-a-day Buffett-related Webcast.