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Kanye West and other artists stream live concerts to your iPhone with new Spacebar app

Kanye West and other artists stream live concerts to your iPhone with new Spacebar app

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Spacebar iOS 640 stock
Spacebar iOS 640 stock

Live music fans already have some excellent choices for listening to concerts on an iOS device: Archivist, which taps into the massive Live Music Archive, is one great option. The just-launched Spacebar app is another. Rather than serving up concert recordings, however, Spacebar lets you listen in on live shows as they happen. There's no archive here; once a concert is over, that's it. In fact, before you can even hit the play button you'll need to agree not to record, copy, or distribute the live stream. That strict usage policy helps Spacebar avoid costly licensing deals with publishers, according to TechCrunch.

There's no rewind button here

Artists have begun lining up to support Spacebar, and these aren't just your local indie acts; a partnership with Backplane will see performances by Kanye West and John Legend streamed through Spacebar this year. Users can listen to five minutes of each concert at no charge, after which they can pay $0.99 to keep streaming. That nominal fee is split between the artist, venue, and Spacebar. Generous fans can even "tip" artists an extra $0.99, $1.99, or $2.99 if they like what they hear. Musicians are paid for these "audio tickets" via PayPal shortly after the performance ends.

Spacebar for iOS screenshots


Venues also receive a good bit of promotion in the app, always listed beside artists on the "Now Playing" screen. Each participating venue's location is highlighted on a map for anyone interested in catching future performances in person. The concept behind Spacebar is unique, and the app could quickly prove popular if more mainstream artists join in and concert streams prove reliable. (Spacebar says quality ranges up to 256Kbps.) A visual revamp wouldn't hurt, though; as of now Spacebar's design is a bit lacking. The app is available from the iTunes App Store.

Correction: An earlier version of this article implied that Lady Gaga, Kanye West, and John Legend had individually signed on to have their performances streamed with Spacebar. Creator Gregory Miller had since clarified to The Verge that the latter two artists will be featured thanks to a partnership with Backplane. Streams of Lady Gaga performances have not yet been planned.