9 Legal Sites to Watch and Download Live Concert Performances for Free

Bob Marley in Zurich 1980

If you love live albums and watching live music performances, then read on to get access to all the footage you could want of the best live music from eras past and present. About half the sites allow you to download the videos (legally) using a torrent client, which we talk about at the end of this article. Some allow you to stream recorded and live performances. The sites we list here included tends of thousands of video and film footage by thousands of artists and bands, going back to the mid 20th century.

If you can hook your computer up to an HD screen with good speakers, you can recreate a memorable concert experience right at home. So, let’s get down to listing the sites…

1. SugarMegs This is a treasure trove, with nearly 20,000 concerts by over four thousand recording artists and bands. You can also list live shows by band.

2. Internet Archive Live Music Library Home of the famous WayBack Machine that catalogs every site on the internet including those no longer in existence. The Archive has live concert audio and also hosts government archives of video performances (e.g. those done for state functions at the White House or through the National Endowment for the Arts.

3. Etree Site for free and open source material, used by a number of bands and artists.

Interestingly, the Internet Archive has joined forces with Etree to preserve and archive all the live concerts they can for posterity. At the site you can download a Live music archive widget called widgetbox.com and post live music anywhere on the web. You can still go directly to Etree as well…

Here is the Internet Archive/Etree widgetbox:

4. Wolfgang’s Vault is the place to stream some of the best live concerts that go back to the 1950s. Includes recordings of some of the greatest concerts ever held.

5. NPR Live in Concert features live recordings of performances for All Songs Considered.

6. JukeZoo is the place to watch streaming live video of concerts, especially independent artists and bands.

7. NycTaper.com is the place to get live concerts performed in New York.

8. COTapers Lots of free music recordings of shows taped in Colorado to download here.

9. Jamendo.com is the home of free music on the internet. Free for personal use. Professionals can purchase royalty free music licenses.

10. Another site, although technically not the same as the other sites on this list in that it only links to and embeds videos from other sites like YouTube, MetaCafe, etc. is bandsvideos.com. It might be useful to help narrow down a search for a particular live performance you want to track down.

To download concert videos from the sites that allow downloads, you will need a torrent software like utorrent for Windows or Transmission for the Mac OS. Torrents are not only for illegal filesharing, but are a really neat technology using distributed computing to enable people to download large files over the internet very fast. In essence, bits of files are stored on people’s computers across the internet. The software has something built in called a tracker, which keeps track of the various pieces of the file. When you download with the torrent, the software simultaneously downloads the file from dozens to hundreds of sources, reassembling them on your computer. You can get gigabytes of data relatively quickly and no one single server or bandwidth is used up. The technology is amazing, but has a bad name because of the crackdown on copyright violators. Well this post is all about using torrent clients for good, to download live album concert recordings legally and freely right to your computer.

So there you have it. Enjoy the free music!


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