This is one small step for live streaming, one giant leap for live music in Denton. Dan's Silverleaf has taken a page right out of the future and, for the past three months, has been streaming Paul Slaven's weekly Monday night residency live on the Internet. And there may be more to come from the venerable Denton music venue.
“I have been thinking about it for a long time, and then a few years back I started to see people streaming one-off shows," Slavens says. "So I reached out to a couple of them to ask how the experience was.” The idea of a live stream has been in the works for years, but it wasn’t until local musician Ginny Mac introduced him to Concertwindow that he bit.
Slavens has been doing his weekly improv performances, Paul Slavens & Friends, for years now, first in Denton, then in Dallas, and since last year he's been back in Denton. In his live shows, just like the streaming one, Slavens improvises songs based on audience-suggested themes.
“I suppose you could make the point that if you are streaming a gig from a club that it makes it easier for people to stay home,” Slavens says. “But to be honest, it seems like it's already pretty easy for people to stay home and hard to get them out. Maybe seeing the band at the club on the internet will induce people to go to the club. Who knows?”
This isn't the first time that live streaming has been attempted in North Texas. In April 2015, Dallas online radio station DeepEllumOnAir.net announced plans to eventually stream every concert in Deep Ellum. Those plans never came to fruition, as the practicality of securing rights from artists proved difficult.
But streaming a resident musician is another matter. Jimmy Smith and Nate Pierce have been perfecting their in-house video quality since late last year and have since recorded two Brave Combo shows at Dan's in addition to the numerous Slavens Monday night shows.
“We are trying to get a wider audience for Paul," Smith says. "There are people who used to live in Denton who might want to relive being in Denton again for a couple hours on a Monday night."
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Concertwindow provides members with a video of their show to download, but they stipulate that the videos may not be used for commercial purposes. “I contacted them and it seems they have some flexibility about it,” Slavens says. “That has been one of the best benefits of the service for me: I now have a growing number of videos of my gigs, which I never had before.”
You cannot, however, access the past streamed shows. “The reason Paul is using Concertwindow is because this is dedicated to live performances," Smith says. "This isn’t like you record and polish it, and then cut it up, and then put it on there for people to watch later. It’s strictly for things that happen live. Paul’s got a live show.”
That doesn't means Slavens isn't planning to have the production evolve over time. That's part of the appeal.
“You get to control the look of what gets broadcast, so you could really go to town making your streaming show cool looking and more like a 'real' TV show,” Slavens says. "I also like that anyone anywhere can watch and, in the case of my show, interact through the chat window. I have a friend in Mexico that tunes in every week. I think that is very cool."