Festivals’ Online Revolution

Duran Duran - Coachella

As posted in our daily international Culture News feed, festival video is leading a revolution.

In response to those who want to control exclusive rights to festivals, concerts and other live events, Apple has submitted a new patent to block the video recording capabilities of the iPhone. The patent application describes an approach that would use infrared receivers to disable the camera when held up to record. Texting, phoning, and searching would still work.

Is this the future of the relationship between an artist and their audience?

Leave aside for the moment the potentially more significant and nefarious use of this kind of technology if applied by governments to professional and citizen journalists. (Haven’t they been following the news?) The user generated video has already left the station and we shouldn’t try to stop it.

“The democratization of music has arrived,” wrote CNET’s Daniel Terdiman about Coachella’s most recent intersection of live stream video and festival production. Online viewers were able to choose from 61 bands across three stages. This year, 225,000 attended Coachella. Online viewers? 4 Million! Does anyone really believe that this is not brilliant marketing of a festival brand and its bands? Terdiman certainly believes so. After all, the title of his article is How YouTube’s Coachella Webcast Changed the World.

Terdiman is not alone. Rob Sheridan, creative director of the always forward-looking Nine Inch Nails, agrees. “It felt so much more significant and cooler than anything like this that I’ve seen…I can see that this is where things are going….incredibly simple implementation, and it worked really, really well. Maybe that’s a testament to [YouTube parent] Google being behind it and having the horsepower to pull it off. And…the way it worked so quickly, seamlessly, and lag free led to the [massive] social spread of it.” One event. One massive social network. One massive market.

This is how one builds a paying audience for downloads, merchandise, and future ticket sales.

When Arcade Fire played Madison Square Garden, they had 4.3 million live stream users. When U2 played the Rose Bowl they had 10 million global live stream users.

Already, Vevo and YouTube are carving out exclusivity deals for these live streaming global events. Last year, Bonnaroo was on YouTube, this year it was streamed by Vevo. However, as with other social web and social network developments, the trend continues to be toward total access, and access by all for all. In other words, one video company might have the live stream with multiple professional camera angles; other video sites will have streams from users at the event.

As we’ve learned from the recent political uprisings, a media outlet might get exclusive footage of an event. But we will still see multiple reports from others on the ground. No one owns the news. After all, YouTube streams 3 billion videos every day.

My Video, Your Show is not going to stop because of patents or exclusivity deals. That’s not only because of the past, present and future of technology. It’s because that’s the understanding and promise of web user integration and connection.

Why would anyone not want to deepen the relationship between artists and their audiences?

As Rob Sheridan told CNET, “Merchandise, limited edition releases, cool vinyl packages…and of course, experiences. An experience is the best kind of scarcity, and a concert is the best kind of music experience….The value of live music continues to be really high in our culture, and things like the Coachella webcast really add to that cultural value. Coachella also recognized that recordings of live performances aren’t a scarcity, but the event of everyone watching it in real time is. The thing that made it exciting, aside from the excellent implementation, was feeling like you were part of something as it was happening, something all your friends were talking about in real time.”

The best kind of experience. Cultural value. Being part of something. That’s a festival live and online.

- Bill Reichblum

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One Response to “Festivals’ Online Revolution”

  1. KadmusArts - where culture speaks » Blog Archive » Video Just Got More Social
    July 23rd, 2012 06:11

    [...] to festival technologies, community outreach, and online developments. (See My Video, Your Show and Festivals’ Online Revolution.) This app is another game changer for the festival and other live event [...]

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