Why do music streaming sites play so many live versions of songs?

I’ve noticed that the legal sites such as Pandora play a lot of live versions of popular songs. IMHO, these live versions are often inferior to the studio ones. Why do they do this? Am I just in the minority and most people prefer the live versions? Are royalty payments lower for the live versions?

I’ve noticed this too, and it irks me somewhat. A song will come on that I like, but it’s some crappy live version. thumbs down I was hoping that if I rejected enough live versions it would eventually stop offering them up. No such luck.

A guess as to why… maybe it’s so they can appear to be playing more variety when they’re not.

I’ve found the album versions of a few songs to be unavailable for purchase while live versions from a different album were available.

I just assume it’s some sort of rights issue.

I found the same on YouTube with official videos not available but tons of live performances for the same song are.

This is most likely, especially if the artist changed record labels. Some labels may not have an agreement with the streaming site.

In other cases, they may allow the live, crappy version in the hopes that people will buy the studio version.

Not quite the same thing, but in prior discussions about things like Sirius/XM, many of us who tried and dropped the service had similar complaints. For instance, I had looked forward to having the Jimmy Buffett and comedy channels on our cross-country drive, but it only took about one day to realize the real playlists on these channels are very short. The comedy recycled and recycled on about a 12-hour loop, and the JB stuff… same 15-20 songs, just different concert recordings of same. Nothing from his vast back library except by rare chance. About the ninth or tenth concert rendition of “Margaritaville” in a day and a half and we shut the thing off.

The bottom line is that music playlists for commercial use do not follow any rules that take into account the music, artist, performance or listener… just the cheapest path to the most ears to hang commercials on. Or cheapest product that can be tolerated by subscribers.

Or they may be aimed at the typical commuter who spends one hour in his car in the morning and then one hour in the car in the afternoon.

Anyone who tunes to the JB channel for a brief time probably hopes to hear a few of his great hits. If all they heard were obscure B-sides during their commute, they would be disappointed. The programmer has to make sure there are familiar songs during the typical listening period. One well-known fact in the radio industry is that the fastest way to get your listener to press the next preset button on the car radio is to play an unfamiliar song.

Kind of, it’s more of a technology issue. Companies use bots to patrol Youtube and make content claims, the bots detect videos that use their music by comparing it to the master version – and if it’s not an authorized video/partner/whatever it will make a content claim. These bots can’t detect the music in live performances because the waveform is different. The same reason Shazam doesn’t work on live performances if you’re familiar with that app. It’s not too hard to fool the bots, raising the studio version’s pitch by about .2Hz will also fool it and it won’t sound much different, but can be different enough to be annoying.

This is also why you see a lot of videos on Youtube that are horizontally flipped, the bots can’t detect it because they’re comparison it to the non-flipped version. (Strictly speaking it would be trivial to solve this problem, but the companies probably don’t consider it worth it).

ETA: To be clear, this only applies to unauthorized posting on Youtube, I have no clue about Pandora et al.

All true, but SXM isn’t limited-choice broadcast radio. When a channel is dedicated to a single artist, I can’t believe the subscriber base would want to hear nothing but that artist’s Top 20. I’d expect to hear the big ten or so in frequent rotation, but the content was almost *entirely *that short playlist… I think I heard 3 or 4 backlist cuts in three days, and nothing truly back-backlist.

That, and that I have crappy reception in the five miles around my house, haven’t stopped SiriusXM from pestering me nonstop to re-up. The shell games they play with terms are fascinating in themselves.