Coachella was solid. Made In America was choppy or incompatible. Outside Lands was audio, Treasure Island nonexistent. But after watching Austin City Limits on YouTube's livestream, something changed dramatically in the festival space. Live-streaming can be a temperamental beast, but this might have been one of the - if not THE - best live festival streams pulled off to date.
Perhaps Ultra's coverage also approached this state of near-perfection. At ACL, delicate shots from multiple cameras danced around the stage, expressions were real and performances cinematic. Buffering was rare, if it happened at all. You were almost baking in the Texas sun yourself, except, right on stage. Right up close.
The most incredible part about this experience is that if felt like pre-recorded, highly-produced video footage. But it was live. And not only was the fidelity incredible, the sound - as pumped through a home stereo system - was also pretty damn good. It was a major step up.
The quick, tech-friendly answer is absolutely yes, based on simple math. ACL sold out within hours, just like Coachella before it, and people traveled hundreds (or sometimes, thousands) of miles for the experience. And, also like Coachella, ACL is bursting at the seams: in 2013, there will be two, back-to-back weekend events. That is, even though millions are live-streaming these events, often hours on end.
Perhaps the question isn't whether a live stream should exist or not, but how it should exist to maximize festival revenues. And ACL was definitely thinking along these lines: marquee headliners like Neil Young a large number of performers simply weren't streamed, and sensations like smell, taste and temperature just can't be transmitted over broadband (yet). You had to be there, attendance had its benefits.
Which introduces another perfect, digitally-bred dilemna. Skip the stream, and you're gambling with the relevance of your festival. Yet despite the millions of views, streaming revenues are probably pennies compared to what a festival gets from tickets, parking, concessions, and merchandise sales. And for smaller, struggling festivals outside of the chosen few, the choices are far more difficult.
discography Monday, October 15, 2012
Who is in photo #1?
paul Monday, October 15, 2012
Jessica Dobson of The Shins.
@mattadownes Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Coachella on YouTube (brought to you by State Farm) was pretty perfect. Got to see everything I wanted to see except Justice who had power problems. Looking forward to it in 2013.
Visitor Tuesday, October 16, 2012
I've been thinking the same thing. Why not charge a $5 weekend pass for the webcast, bump up the coverage to include some of the great acts. Most festival webcasts are heavy on mediocre acts and have only a few of the top acts. They could also do interviews, crowd/scene stuff to show the vibe.
My vote for best webcast: Ultra Music Festival. High-grade stream quality that almost looked hi-def that had smooth streaming quality and no hiccups. Also multiple cameras on movable, swinging arms, interviews all weekend.
Bobby Nall Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Hey Paul -
Just FYI, Neil Young was available for live stream - I got to enjoy that before heading to the Afghan Whigs aftershow (both of which, for jaded music assholes like me, is far more preferable to the fest itself). Did you mean the headliners' sets were not archived for later viewing?
paul Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Oh, really? Stand corrected: I thought it wasn't available at all, how was it?
Hank Neuberger Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Bobby Nall Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Yep, Hank, they did kill. Excellent job all around!
1972 en Tijuana Tuesday, October 16, 2012
This was a really scary webcast in the sense of how real it was in some iPad in a cafe 1000's of miles away. But there's something you are missing which is the simplicity of it. I don't need a "Tweet Stream" or even any filler interviews (though okay, I'll take it), this was just the awesome music for the most part.
provocateur Tuesday, October 16, 2012
You missed the ENTIRE point!
Give it ALL to the masses! You watch a football game on TV, but STILL go to the game! And you watch ADS the whole time.
So should the NFL make you go to the Game to see the game winning field goal. NO WAY!
It's 2012 Digital Music NEws!@!!
Paul Loeb Tuesday, October 16, 2012
I missed out on the ACL coverage, but my vote goes to Tomorrowland, or any festival broadcast using the Be-At.Tv platform. It's awesome because you can control the camera angle, and they always have the best shot - looking straight down on the DJ setup so you can see what's happening in realtime.
Gary S Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Though "quality" is a key factor, live-streaming should be a must. First, for fans, it provides access to anyone in the world from anywhere in the world. Not only does it raise the profile of every performing artist, it also raises the profile of the festival itself.
Secondly, for fest organizers, it provides an additional sponsorship vehicle by providing a bigger platform for advertisers.
I also agree with "Visitor" that a relatively inexpensive fee of $3-$5 for a "weekend pass" or similar could be offered for "premium" access.
CX!!! Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Ken Labarre of Roll It Take It Media did an amazing job directing, take a bow!
keepaustinweird Tuesday, October 16, 2012
sound during Stooges set was kinda brutal on the webcast
Shiv Wednesday, October 17, 2012
I fully agree. We attended the festival, but after the 2nd downpour on Saturday, we hopped on a bus home and fired up the live stream. Hooked up a Mac Mini to my 46" Sony Bravia and the quality was terrific. Experencied maybe 2 or 3 brief buffering moments over the course of several hours. The video was great, the audio sounded terrific coming through my sound bar and the time shifted feed allowed us to watch The Shins & The Roots (while at the park we would have had to settle for one or the other).