Classic Rock Goes From the Vault to the iPod - NBC Bay Area

Classic Rock Goes From the Vault to the iPod

Bill Graham Presents: Digital Music



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    Jimi Hendrix, perhaps the world's greatest rock guitarist, died at the age of 27. His music lives on.

    Fleetwood Mac, Boston, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, even Motorhead:  All classics and all have put on fantastic concerts. Now, they're all also headed to the world of ones and zeroes, courtesy of Wolfgang's Vault.

    First, a bit of background: Wolfgang's Vault is actually the keeper of Bill Graham's classic rock collection (the late Graham's real name was Wolfgang). That collection, which has gradually been released through the Internet, is now going completely digital.  The San Francisco-based company is just about to begin the process of taking classic concerts from the likes of Big Brother and the Holding Company from analog tape and making them available for download for the first time.

    Not to say that there's nothing here for the purists. The music is also being restored in its wonderful, breathable, analog form.  So Neil Young, along with the rest of you audiophiles out here, can still listen. But for the new (rapidly expanding) world of digital downloads, Wolfgang's Vault hopes to reach a much wider audience by making the concerts downloadable.

    This is actually a bit of a trend in the world of digital music. LaLa media, for example, has cut deals with tech giants Google and Facebook to let you find music online.  You can stream the music for 10 cents a song; to download will cost you 90 cents.  Wolfgang's Vault is following that trend. Much of its music has already been stream-able. Now, you'll be able to download your favorite classic concerts, taking artists like Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana with you wherever you go.

    It is heresy? Or the inevitable march toward music for all? We'll let you --  and the market -- decide.  If you're a purist, you may cringe when you see a teenager bobbing his iPod-attached head to the likes of The Ramones, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy concerts.  If  you're just a music lover, though, you may be glad to know that the music is available, and being heard by a new generation of fans.

    Scott Budman co-wrote a documentary on the analog to digital switch, called "Sound Man: WW2 to MP3"