U2 continues to play larger than life on its latest tour, and streamed its show live from the Pasadena Rose Bowl on Google's YouTube Sunday night. The concert began streaming live worldwide just after 9 p.m. PST Sunday -- but before the show U2's Bono told a French news agency in an interview that the band will play, but the focus should be on the audience for making history.
About 1,600 people with general admission tickets stood in line to get good spots on the stadium floor when the gates opened at about 5 p.m., reported the Los Angeles Times. Nearly 100,000 people were expected to attend the sold-out U2 concert, but millions more took advantage of the opportunity to watch online.
The massive technical challenge to stream the concert live on YouTube creates new opportunities for Google's video site. The bigger question becomes whether the site will take on sites, such as Justin.tv.
The channel, youtube.com/u2, offers the opportunity to purchase U2's latest music, sign up for the newsletter, visit U2.com, and donate to Project (RED). It also streams Twitter tweets, and if the feed was any indication, U2Tube was a rousing real-time success.
YouTube announced early last week that the stream would broadcast to about 16 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Jim Louderback, Revision3 CEO, who will participate on a panel at OMMA Video Friday in Los Angeles, Calif., says the Internet was not designed to deliver real-time streaming media, but rather built to "store-it-forward."
When it comes to video, many people believe picture quality is more important. But when streaming a band, audio is just as important -- sometimes more. Dropping a frame or two every now and then isn't a big deal, but fans immediately notice a hiccup in the audio.
"To get audio and video to arrive at the same time you need a lot of bandwidth," he says. "It's not like television where the feeds are shared. If they are delivering a million simultaneous streams, every person watching has a unique stream being sent to them. If you have one million people watching, you have one million streams feeding from the content delivery network out to the homes."
Revision3 streams live content from conferences, such as the Consumer Electronics Show, but not concerts. There are plans to cover more live events.
It's not clear how many people actually tuned in online to watch the Webcast. As of mid-day Monday, YouTube had not released the number. "This was a big win for the YouTube community and U2 fans around the world," says a YouTube spokesperson. "We're still working to pull together the data around this event and will share those numbers publicly as soon as they become available."
By Sunday night, U2's YouTube webcast became the No. 1 global trending topic on Twitter. The day of the event, "#u2webcast," "Rose Bowl" and "Bono" were three of top ten trends on Twitter. U2's YouTube channel views are closing in on 7 million, the number of subscribers roses10 times since last Monday, and the band's promotional video received 2.7 million views in less than a week.