Concert Live: James Perkins

The Concert Live co-founder on setting up his award-winning company with school friend Adam Goodyer

As the guys from Concert Live are quick to point out, few companies can boast a legislation change among their list of achievements. The company, founded by school friends Adam Goodyer and James Perkins, produces instant recordings of gigs which are sold to music fans as they leave the venue. To date, they’ve worked with a notable list of bands and artists including Kiss, Simply Red and Crowded House; and as a direct result of their lobbying of the Official Charts Company, the CDs officially count towards chart positions.

Adam and James were already running a business together when they came up with the idea for Concert Live back in 2005. Their first venture, Audio Wax, produced music for commercials and was doing well. Adam, a classically trained pianist, did the writing while James brought in the clients.

“We’d basically stay up all night making music, and we were earning a decent bit of money from it,” says James. However, the pair knew their growth potential was limited due to the competitive nature of the market. It was a trip to see Massive Attack play at the BrixtonAcademy that provided the catalyst for their more lucrative idea.

“We got a bit drunk and couldn’t remember what tracks had been played. It made us remember the rave tapes we used to buy from the local record store a couple of weeks after the event.”

The pair started to investigate ways of getting gig recordings produced much quicker than their old rave tapes. They wanted to be able to sell something on the same night, just a few minutes after the gig ended.

“The next morning we tried to concentrate on the nappy advert we were writing music for but we were much more excited about our new idea.”

Adam and James spent the next six months researching the feasibility of the venture, investigating the appropriate technology and finding out if gig attendees would even welcome the concept. With an overwhelming response from music fans eager to see the idea materialise, they ploughed £25,000 earned from a successful TV ad contract and got Concert Live going.

The first gig was an old punk band called Gang of Four. Nearly 2000 people attended the show at the Barbican in September 2005 and they managed to sell 250 CDs, which added up to more than 12% of those in attendance. Soon after, they landed a full UK tour with The Levellers.

Three years on and plans for European growth and a possible Bollywood expansion are now well underway, and James says the next big thing for the company is direct-to-mobile sales of the recordings.

So it’s mission accomplished for Adam and James then? Well, not quite. They may have just scooped the Startups Awards innovative business of the year gong, but until they land The Cure and a little-known band called Led Zeppelin, James says their true ambitions remain unfulfilled.

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