The time has come…this is the last interview of the “Behind the Scenes”-series! It was a lot of fun to work with all those great site admins together and to learn so much about their work. So, a big thanks goes out to all my interview partners!
We finish the series with an interview with the Linkin Park Live staff. I bet all of you know the huge online concert guide, and if you don’t you should check it out now! You’ll find super detailed information about all Linkin Park concerts from 2000 to the Honda Civic Tour. Big thanks to Jonas and Mark, who were so nice to answer a few questions for me!
When was LPL founded? Can you briefly describe the process?
LPLive began in the summer of 2006 under the name “Linkin Park Live Guide.” Mark (Hahninator), Jonas (AndOne) and Sergii (SergSlim) assembled a website that listed every tour date for the band and every setlist available. The project took what the defunct ForfeitTheGame website had and combined it with AndOne’s recording guide, a list of all known recordings of Linkin Park shows. After extensive research, a lot of information previously unavailable to the fan base was categorized in one place. About a month after Linkin Park performed their 2006 shows in Japan, LPL went live in September 2006. The following year, Sebastian Sobotta and Omar Osatch contributed a significant amount of information regarding the band’s early years. From the start, the foundation of LPL has been a collaborative process.
What was the main reason of starting LPL? Was there a concert guide of all the Linkin Park live shows before?
The genesis of the site grew out of the fact that not one Linkin Park fansite, out of the many online, had an extensive tour section. There were sites with live sections, yes, but they were missing a great amount of information. No mention of touring bands, no ticket stubs, missing show dates, etc. At the very start LPLive was just text files but it evolved quite a bit over the years. Several others who had created their own “live guides” offered to merge their content into ours, thus forming a large database. We later added side projects and of course, Julien-K.
What were your personal highlights in the history of LPL so far and were there moments when it was hard to maintain the site?
The top personal highlights for us would be the release of exclusives to our visitors and followers. If one were to glimpse at the emails sent back and forth amongst staff just as we were about to post an exclusive one would see genuine enthusiasm. The release of the demo track She Couldn’t is a HUGE highlight for us. There were rumors making the rounds so it was a challenge to keep it a secret and once we released it, as part of an 8-track demo album, the surge in traffic nearly overwhelmed our server.
Diverse content such as the track State of the Art, the demo version of Frgt/10, the unmastered Hybrid Theory album, the zwieR.Z. remix compilations, the complete Mountain View 2004 concert and the Camden 2004 proshot video really gets the staff, and hopefully the fans, thrilled during the lulls in between tours and album cycles.
Circa 2006 we were using CuteNews to manage comments before we had a discussion board, so although it sounds silly now, opening a forum is a memorable highlight in the history of the site. Also, when we integrated ticket stubs, show posters, setlist pictures and performance photos into the Live Guide, all crowd-sourced, everyone was really stoked.
Every site has its ups and downs. Unfortunately our growing pains were during a time when we had record numbers of active users. There have been a few instances of downtime, once in the middle of the North American Arena Tour in 2011 there was a mishap at our datacenter in which the server’s hard drive was dropped and corrupted. During this wonderful journey we have always bounced back and overcame the obstacles thrown our way, always returning bigger and better. A shoutout goes to Dmitry, a staff member who has made hosting the site so easy for us and has donated a lot of his time and money towards LPLive. Without him we certainly wouldn’t be here today.
LPL is pretty famous for its detailed documentation of all the Linkin Park live shows. Where do you get all the information and how do you manage to keep this huge catalogue of live shows up to date?
The information took years to collect. We are about to be celebrate our sixth birthday and each of them has expanded the documentation a LOT. In the beginning we combined three to four live guides / recording guides / tour databases with hours of research on our part to form the initial core of the site but these days we rely on volunteers. Setlists, show notes, ticket stubs, etc. is entirely fan-driven. We may have gotten close to everything we can information-wise for older shows but that doesn’t mean the work is done.
Keeping the site up to date is actually pretty difficult. One might assume that when the band is not on tour we get everything done but there is a perpetual stream of updates and fixes in need of attention. Whether we get a new setlist for an old show (which happens more than people might think) or find a new recording for a show, it builds up into a pretty big list that keeps us busy.
Do you think that there are features of the site that many fans seem to overlook? If yes, can you briefly describe those features?
It’s funny because the things we dedicate the most time to seem to be overlooked the most and vice versa. For example, there is a dedicated group of collectors that love the recordings / sources info included on show pages. All too often there are requests in the forum asking for a show for which no recording exists. But the most overlooked features on LPL are the lists with all the songs played live by Linkin Park and other bands, as well as tour summaries with overviews of the rotating setlists.
One very time consuming task is tracking-down the opening bands, especially for venues overseas where they may be different for almost every show. Such facts may be irrelevant to most visitors but we take our job of compiling a comprehensive history of Linkin Park’s escapades around the world very seriously. While we work on that, it seems fans are more interested in set notes – intros, outros and specials facts about each song – which are far from completion. Perhaps we need to change our priorities!
What have you planned for LPL in the future? Is there a part of the site that you want to improve on?
Of course, we’re constantly planning (and scheming) about the future. An all-inclusive photo gallery and a Wiki have been on the wish list for quite some time. There are plenty of improvements and additions to be made, some of which the world will get to experience sooner rather than later. Plus, for the first time ever, we have a “collection” of exclusives in the vault. In the past we tended to release content ASAP but with our latest acquisitions we decided to plan ahead. Be on the lookout later this year, 2012, for (hopefully we are not overhyping this) what will be our best exclusive yet.
– LPLive Staff
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