Qello: the Netflix for Concerts

April 24, 2013 Updated: April 24, 2013

When it comes to consuming entertainment, the power is undoubtedly moving into the hands of the consumer. With the proliferation of screens and on-demand expectations, we are no longer at the mercy of what the broadcasters are delivering us, but we are choosing what we want, when we want it. For music fans that love to watch full-length, high quality concerts a la Palladia, there might be no better source to soothe their desires to experience live music than an application (app) called Qello.

After discovering Qello at the top of the music section in iOS app store, I reached out to the company to learn more. CEO, Brian Lisi explained that the 3-year-old company is quite the hidden giant in the streaming media space. Lisi says, “With worldwide rights to the largest library of HD concert films and music documentaries, we have the ability to monetize our assets in more countries than any other streaming media company in the music space.” Qello is a two-pronged story: the music and the technology.

Music for All

It was the variety and depth of the catalog that first struck me. At first blush, I thought the concert selection was heavily weighted in classic rock, but while browsing the genres deeper, I found full concerts from everyone from Frank Sinatra to Johnny Cash, to Death Cab for Cutie, Blake Shelton, the Black Keys, Radiohead, Childish Gambino, and hundreds of others. There is also a nice selection of music documentaries.

When it comes to content acquisition, Lisi says the mission of the company is to continuously add to the library while keeping to the standards of high quality production value. The Kenny Chesney and Madonna concerts in the catalog, to name a few, were multimillion dollar productions. You won’t find short-form amateur videos on Qello. Content comes from licensing deals with all of the major music labels as well as boutique labels that provide some of the newer indie selections.

I looked for other streaming companies that might have the same concerts and documentaries that Qello houses. Netflix and YouTube seem to have about only 10 percent of the selection. Qello is essentially the Netflix for concert films and music documentaries. A one-stop shop geared toward music lovers with easy navigation and sleek user face.

Technology and Partners

For the technology side of the equation, it sounds like this was the chicken that came before the egg. With an entrepreneurial technology background, Lisi and his team developed a platform to stream high quality content to new media devices worldwide. Qello originally launched on Android products: phones, tablets, and Google TV—and soon after developed an app for iOS: iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV via Airplay, as well as Sony and Samsung Connected TVs, Microsoft Windows phones, and Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Lisi says more partnerships are in the works.

Curration and Editorial

While comparing Qello to Netflix, I realize that Qello’s offering extends the on-demand streaming model with curated content such as editor Setlists. Qello subscribers can design their own Setlists or they can listen to any of the Qello curated Setlists like the “Not Another Cover Band” Setlist with Gov’t Mule doing Pink Floyd’s “Money” and Stevie Nicks doing Dave Matthews “Crash into Me.” Also unique, Qello gives iOS users access to purchase audio tracks of artists directly through iTunes. They do digital premiers on Facebook with Q&A’s with artists. And on the editorial front, Qello just launched a blog called Inside the Q with legendary Rolling Stone editor, Ben Fong-Torres (characterized in “Almost Famous”).

Qello is likely to appeal to the true music fan who loves the live music experience and seeks to consume media on his or her own terms. A personal wish, perhaps Qello might put an end to concert goers holding their cellphones up the whole time to record the show. That would be good.

Elena Marks is a freelance writer specializing in fashion, music, and adventure travel, and lives in Port Washington, N.Y.