It’s all about live concert footage. When you consider all the potential avenues for performance clips, like artist Web sites, advertising campaigns and DVD releases, the need for quality produced content is greater than ever. That is, if you can keep your production on budget and not get sandbagged by problems that might get in the way, such as royalty issues, ownership of the finished work and permission grants.

KFE calls this better idea Knitting Factory Digital Services, which is all about providing services for record labels and artists to help capture and distribute live content.

“We have outfitted our New York and Los Angeles clubs, and will do the same in Spokane and Boise in the following quarter, with state-of-the-art, semi-automated, robotic-driven, HD audio-video camera systems,” KFE president and CEO Jared Hoffman told Pollstar. “It allows a single operator working in a booth to control a four- to seven-camera shoot. One operator at the simplest level can control four separate cameras, each with pan, tilt, zoom. So it allows us at a very, very low cost, us to provide capture services for incredibly high-quality content.”

The difference between Knitting Factory Digital Services and past business models for capturing live content at the club level is its no-strings-attached philosophy. Unlike other companies that retain part ownership of the finished product, Knitting Factory is merely providing a service: a high-def, professionally produced shoot at a price that’s affordable to both up-and-coming bands and established names.

“This isn’t a rehash of old business models,” said Hoffman. “A club is a great point to aggregate content. A club is a very poor point to try to aggregate or control the rights in content.

“In other words, that web spins out into a myriad of individuals, artists publishers and other interests. So, every thing that we’re doing here is a ‘work for hire’ on behalf of the record labels and artists who are saying, ‘Give us a low-cost way to get this content delivered.'”

Along with providing the technological back end, Knitting Factory Digital Services has also partnered with several companies to provide distribution opportunities for the finished product. While a complete list of companies is expected to be released within the next few days, YouTube and AOL Music are already on board.

“We’re going to be announcing a list of about 15 different services,” Hoffman said. “Everything from broadcast, Web 2.0 to wireless partners. … We will be able to help package it with the metadata and deliver it to many of these channels on behalf of record labels and artists who already have relationships with these services.”

Knitting Factory Digital Services is the latest KFE project intended to extend the Knitting Factory brand. Recently the company launched its own weekly series on XM Satellite Radio and has extended its reach through other media outlets as well.

“The point where we’re working with a platform, such as XM, that’s typically a situation where it’s sponsored and branded. In that case we’re able to work with a label and say, ‘Look, this is completely subsidized,'” Hoffman said. “So, you capture the content, we’ve got a great way to promote the artist. In addition to the basic service at a price we provide for any artist and any label, we’re also working with partners and brands to say, ‘Here’s a band that we’re interested in. We can offer up great promotional exposure across this radio network, this television show. Are you interested in participating?'”

Music industry vets already know how much video promotion has changed since the early days of MTV. With user-contributed video sites, artist Web sites, venue, promoter and label sites all needing video promotional content, Knitting Factory Digital Services provides a bridge from idea conception to the finished product. Plus, through its partners, it helps get projects out the door and onto the TV screens and computer monitors of music lovers everywhere.

“Live recorded music has relatively limited appeal,” Hoffman said. “In most cases, without the visuals, the excitement, the lights, the personality, live music often doesn’t generate more excitement in recorded form than the studio album. … When the sweet spot went to videos, the hunger and the call for videos from the consumer end made it clear to us that we finally had something we could collect on our stages that was of value to everyone.”