There’s something quite magical about live music. But what if you live in a town where bands seldom tour to, or if you struggle to keep track of bands touring in your area? Or what if your schedule makes it impossible to attend live music, or if you simply can’t afford the high ticket prices of concerts?
Well, there is another way. Meet Daytrotter. For $4 per month, you can listen to as many professionally-recorded concerts as you want. And it’s awesome.
So, What’s This Daytrotter Then?
DayTrotter is the brainchild of Rock Island, IL resident Sean Moeller. The premise behind the website is simple. They operate a studio where musicians regularly perform. The recordings are then available to stream and download on the site.
This model is simple, although it has resulted in it earning the feted Billboard “Music Blog Of The Year” award in 2007, as well as garnering praise from Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and Pitchfork Magazine.
But it’s more than just the live music equivalent of Swedish streaming service Spotify. When using Daytrotter, it becomes abundantly apparent that they have a real respect for the art of music. Each session performance is accompanied with a piece of hand-drawn artwork — usually a beautiful watercolor of the artist — as well as an essay written about the performance.
Daytrotter boasts a remarkable catalog of live music. New performances are added on a daily basis, and feature indie favorites such as William Fitzsimmons and Kina Grannis, in addition to well-known chart toppers Bon Iver, CHVRCHES, Of Montreal, and Ben Howard.
Most artists have performed for Daytrotter multiple times. Take, for example, soft-spoken singer-songwriter William Fitzsimmons. He has performed four times, whilst the ‘bohemian like you’ Dandy Warhols have starred on the platform twice.
Listening To Music On Daytrotter
I’ve talked about the catalog, but what about the listening experience? Admittedly, it’s not hard to record a concert, but creating a beautiful listening experience? That’s something different.
It’s worth noting that Daytrotter is no fly-by-night operation. They’ve been in business for the past eight years, and have developed a dedicated team of experienced sound engineers that ensure recordings are crisp and well balanced.
Falsetto voices — such as those of Kina Grannis and Iron and Wine — are perfectly listenable and don’t sound distorted, whilst bass-heavy bands, such as Cage The Elephant have each low note captured perfectly.
Daytrotter serves the majority of its music through its web application. Unlike Spotify, there is no desktop application to download — although there are applications available for iOS and Android that grant you access to the site in its entirety.
Members of the site also get to download the entirety of the catalog at no extra cost. The audio files delivered are DRM-free 320k MP3 files. Audiophiles will be disappointed to hear the catalog is not available in a lossless codec such as FLAC.
Let’s go back to the web application. Uncharacteristically, the desktop version is Flash-based, rendering it unusable on a majority of mobile devices. However, Daytrotter offers a responsive version of the site for mobile devices, which falls back to a HTML5 audio player. Ideal for those who — like me — don’t own an Android or iOS based device.
The desktop version of the application also allows you to queue music into your own personalized playlists, much like Grooveshark does. If you can’t be bothered curating your own playlists, Daytrotter come with their own playlists, if you don’t have the time to curate your own.
Prefer your music to come with moving pictures? Subscriptions to Daytrotter come with a number of video recordings of concerts, as well as footage from selected music festivals. You can even stream concerts from the Indie music bible Paste Magazine.
Is Daytrotter Worth It?
Daytrotter will appeal only to a small niche of music fans. Firstly, there’s very little on offer outside of Indie pop and rock. Hip-hop fans will be disappointed by the site’s offerings, as will pop and electronic music fans.
Furthermore, if you prefer studio-recorded music to live-music, you probably won’t get much out of Daytrotter.
For everyone else, this site is a compelling alternative to Spotify, with an expansive collection of intimately recorded alternative music. If you sign up for this site, you can be sure that your $4 is well spent. Not sure if it’s worth it? It comes with a free, three day trial where you can test it out. No credit card details are required, although you can only stream tracks, not download them.
Annual memberships are even sweeter, costing only $32 for a year, and comes with a free gift — a vinyl recording of a selected studio performance, in addition to a 25% discount in the Daytrotter store.
How do you get your life music fix? Tell me about it. The comment box is below.