Welcome to the inaugural column of Technology Jam on JamBase. I am thrilled
be joining Scott and the JamBase team after two years of writing Technology
on Hidden Track. Just like when I started writing for Hidden Track, it is such a thrill to
be joining JamBase after being a long time reader and admirer of the great content here.
While Technology Tuesday followed a static schedule of postings, keep an eye out
JamBase in the coming weeks for Technology Jam columns on various days. While the
focus will often be music related, Technology Jam will be a mix of reviews,
articles, news updates and tidbits from a wide ranging amount of topics.
As always, I am eager to get suggestions for topics, items you'd like reviewed or
technology questions you have. You can drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or hook up
with me on Twitter @tmwsiy. - Parker
This week we kick off 'Technology Jam' with a look inside popular streaming site, Ustream.
Couch tour. Just a few short years ago, that term would surely conjure up quizzical looks
if you mentioned it. Now,
“couch tour” has entered the vernacular of music fans who use the term to describe the
next best thing to actually being
at the show: streaming a live music event from the comfort of home. While streaming live
concerts has been around for
a long time, from theater-based and cable TV pay-per-views, to early internet streams on
many different sites, there’s
no doubt the amount of content the last couple of years has exploded. There’s seemingly
not a major festival that isn’t
streamed anymore and scores of sites provide live concerts offering a wide range of bands
of nearly every musical taste.
In addition to high-quality, multi-camera, official streams provided by bands and
festivals, a cottage industry has
sprung up with unofficial streams provided by fans themselves. With pocket internet hot
spots, miniaturized high-
fidelity audio equipment and an array of technology not available ten years ago, even
“bootleg” or unofficial couch
streams can offer some pretty compelling quality.
One of the most popular and well-known sites that allows people to stream live video is Ustream. As YouTube is
probably the defacto standard for recorded videos on the web, there’s no closer contender
to the champion of live
videos than Ustream. Many people may think of Ustream simply as the place to catch a live
couch stream from a guy
holding an iPhone up in the 30th row - there’s much more to it than that. With ambitious
plans, Ustream is well on its way to becoming a major contender in the official concert
streaming business as well. Having streamed a handful of successful
concerts and festivals, we thought we’d catch up with Ustream and talk a bit about this
burgeoning market of “couch
tours." Gilad Gershoni, Ustream's Sr. Sales Engineer & Solutions
gracious enough to answer our
Parker Harrington [PH]: Can you give me a little background on Ustream -
it and how long has it
been around? What was the goal back then and how has the vision for Ustream changed?
Gilad Gershoni [GG]: Ustream was founded in 2007, and the initial concept
on live communication
between overseas troops and their friends/families. Two of our founders were West Point
graduates and the idea for
Ustream came when they were serving time in the Army, as they (and others around them)
were missing some of the
most important things of their lives - graduations, weddings, etc.
Today, Ustream is the leading platform for live video streaming and services millions of
PH: Is the ability to watch live the most important aspect of Ustream or
watching recorded videos equally
integral to the site and business plan?
GG: Ustream has focused on the live experience since Day 1. We continue
and find ways to
empower broadcasters and viewers to share live experiences. Video On Demand is a key
functionality of Ustream given
the proliferation of video, but the core centers on the live experience.
PH: How important is the music component going to become for your
business and will
that be an important
piece of the business plan? I think I heard that more music is listened to on YouTube than
all the other streaming music
sites combined - I guess there is no question that people enjoy music videos on the
GG: Music has always been a big component at Ustream. Our founder started
company so he could see
his brother’s band perform while serving overseas. Since then, artists like De La Soul,
P.Diddy, Lil Wayne, Will I Am and
more were early adopters to this platform, streaming behind the scenes at their shows.
Artists like Brad
Paisley, Faith Evans and Riba stream live and then use the Ustream’s Live Playlist
feature to re-broadcast their shows to
other markets around the world to increase awareness. This year, by streaming Bonnaroo
and Outside Lands, music
fans had the opportunity to share the experience via Ustream’s platform. I believe live
broadcasting is the next big thing for the music industry.