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Forget Apple and Pandora, Google Can Change the Music Industry

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Things just fell into place for me Saturday night.

I knew Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band were headlining the Rock In Rio festival in Brazil. In part because of the time difference, I just wasn't exactly sure when it was happening.

As I often do when Bruce and the Band are on the road, I went to the excellent Backstreets Web site for an update. It was 8:00 p.m. PT, which, come to find out was five minutes before Bruce's "set" (if you can call a non-stop close-to-three-hour performance a "set"). Backstreets provided a link to a Rock in Rio livestream at Google's YouTube.

At that instant, I managed to control my euphoria enough to think on my feet. I fired up Google's Chrome browser, downloaded the Chromecast extension and beamed the live feed from Rio -- full-screen style -- on my (Samsung) television set. For about 75% of the two hours, forty-five minutes, the quality of the stream was fantastic. An in-home concert experience.

And it was free. Which is absolutely insane.

It stuns me what takes center stage and what we do or do not complain about in this society. It's so inconsistent and seemingly random.

For instance, you have what feels like the entire music industrial complex whining about royalties. Sanity only prevails when entrepreneurial artists such as Bronze Radio Return creatively use a service like Pandora to their advantage. Or bigger names such as Taylor Swift harness their fan bases properly turning royalties from streams and downloads into cake icing.

Then you have what feels like an entire industry complaining, yet ultimately complicit, regarding the exorbitant fees Live Nation's Ticketmaster charges concert-goers. Sanity only prevails when a company like Ticketfly comes along and makes a righteous and aggressive attempt to disrupt the madness.

Instead of coming up with new ideas, it appears the music industry's agents as well as many music lovers prefer to whine and moan rather than conceive ideas to generate new forms of revenue and enhance the consumer experience.

Which brings me back to watching the Springsteen gig on YouTube.