watching a concert with over four million people

Coachella Live on YouTube

It’s an incredible age we live in where we can attend large concerts in real-time with not just thousands but millions of others, sharing the same experience. Sure one can say it’s not the same as actually being there, to which I can say I didn’t have to wait in line for any overflowing portable bathrooms; I got REALLY close to the artists and could watch from various non-stationary angles not being crushed by the masses; and it didn’t cost me a dime to attend outside of the cost of my internet connection I already pay for.

Coachella appeared live on YouTube to what’s being reported as over four million viewers able to watch 61 bands live. Those with Twitter could even comment on a live feed. It’s a bit like being at a concert and able to chat amongst millions of users, well by “chat” to which we’re talking one-way conversations but we are talking about the internet here in all it’s grandstanding, ‘look at meeeEEE’ narcissistic glory. In fact unless your social media contacts all live under rocks it was hard to glance at any feeds without #coachella tagging appearing somewhere. In essence it was like your friends or acquaintances text-messaging you they were at a really cool concert but in this case though you could drop in on them, anywhere and at any time.

What’s maybe glossed over in all this YouTube, despite pretty much owning the internet video market, doesn’t normally do streaming, for streaming you have to look elsewhere. When YouTube DOES live stream it truly steps up, nary did anyone from the music biz to bands say they’re coverage was lacking, the contrary, it was done professionally and with class, you could even watch the stage hands take down and set up the next bands if you liked too, just like being there.

Of course there’s no such thing as a free lunch, someone had to pay for all this, in this case the webcast’s main sponsor was Wrigley 5 Gum (with a slightly confused branding identity, apparently they are 5 Gum or 5 React Gum?) which, without them divulging the info, we may never know how much of a bath they took. Yes. Most likely it’ll be a bath, streaming that much bandwidth, beyond just the costs of the camera crews and technical infrastructure isn’t done on-the-cheap. It’s hard to know what the ROI will be for them being the exclusive sponsor, nor will we know the portion they paid for and how much YouTube and our internet overlords at Google picked up, which I’m sure was quite a bit. What Wrigley’s 5 Gum and Google’s YouTube DID pick up is kudos, granted the latter didn’t need recognition, but 5 Gum almost certainly picked up considerable market awareness, which isn’t entirely tangible, as much as the bean counters would like it to be. Clear winners, outside of the viewers, were the bands themselves, many of whom may have had limited exposure before who may go on to become more household in name.

For those who missed any of Coachella you can catch various edited-down clips of selected songs, complete with 5 Gum adverts and links to 5 Gum’s social media deployments, at YouTube’s Coachella Channel.

Oh, and the Mumford & Sons set was simply fantastic!