A live album is a music album (for example a vinyl record or audio CD ) that contains recorded music from performances or concerts . Today, live albums are increasingly being replaced by video DVDs or Blu-rays .
Types and processing
A live album can come from a single concert , sometimes it is also recordings from different appearances on a tour . The production of the recordings is very complex due to the acoustics and dynamics on site, not least because the attempt is made to give the listener a feeling as if he were there himself. Very often concert recordings - beyond the essential mixing of the recordings - are heavily edited afterwards and thus the concert situation may be falsified. For example, vocals or instruments are added, improved or removed by overdubs , applause recorded from the tape, or songs shortened or completely removed. This is why most live records no longer reproduce the concert in its original form. The reason may also be found in the fact that with pure studio albums - the opposite of a live album - the entire range of audio effects is available and thus a degree of perfection is achieved that is difficult or impossible to reproduce in live performances . For the Beatles , for example, this was one of the reasons not to appear live after August 29, 1966 ( San Francisco , Candlestick Park ) because the experimental sound technology used by music producer George Martin could no longer be reproduced on stage.
In addition to these official, professionally recorded concerts, there are so-called bootlegs that were illegally and unnoticed by a concert-goer or sound engineer and then illegally distributed. It is not uncommon for them to have an inferior sound quality, but are sometimes traded as collector's items because of their limited circulation.
Live recordings in pop and jazz
Usually, live albums are produced from concerts by rock and pop musicians. Live albums are also not uncommon in jazz . The best-selling live album is, according to the Guinness Book of Records 2002, Double Live by Garth Brooks from November 1998. It sold 29 million copies in the United States alone. However, very few live albums appear in the list of the best-selling LPs. In Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time , only 18 albums are live LPs. The highest placed, Live at the Apollo by James Brown (January 1963), only appears here in 25th place.
A special form of live recording is the so-called unplugged concert, which was very popular in the field of pop music in the 1990s. This concert was also recorded live, but the musicians only use acoustic instruments (e.g. concert guitar ) and forego electrically amplified elements such as distorted guitar amplifiers . The instruments are only removed electrically and played over loudspeakers in order to be able to present them to a wider audience .
Most of the performers appear in concerts to present themselves to their fans. In addition, concerts offer an important source of income for the performers. Official live recordings of these concerts serve, on the one hand, to improve record sales and, on the other hand, round off the image of the artist who otherwise presents himself with studio recordings.
- RIAA: Gold & Platinum , accessed January 30, 2011
- Toby Alington: But is it Live? Tuning and editing in post-production _ audioprointernational.com . March 9, 2012 (English), a sound engineer's point of view on the use of post-production for live music recordings, online magazine on the subject of the "audio industry" ( memento from March 13, 2012 in the Internet Archive )