February 7, 2017:YouTube opens up mobile live-streaming to … – Music Ally (blog)

“We’ve supported live streaming since, well, before Beyonce even had a baby – way back in 2011,” explains the latest blog post from YouTube.

You can read that as a tacit acknowledgement that many people don’t realise that, associating live video more with platforms like Twitch, Twitter’s Periscope and now Facebook Live, as well as apps like YouNow, Live.me and Live.ly.

The entire first paragraph of YouTube’s blog post announcing its latest live moves is devoted to reminding people of its past launches and milestones.

And those latest moves are? Opening up its mobile live-streaming feature to every channel with more than 10,000 subscribers, and formally rolling out its Super Chat tool to help broadcasters make money from their YouTube live streams.

It’s a launch that’ll put the power of live streaming in the hands of hundreds of thousands of talented creators, giving them a more intimate and spontaneous way to share their thoughts, lives, and creativity,” explained the blog post, bylined by product managers Barbra Macdonald and Kurt Wilms.

Like Facebook, YouTube has built the ability to go live into its main mobile app, rather than making it a standalone app. It has been beta-testing the feature with a few hundred channel owners, which Macdonald and Wilms said sparked changes including slowing down live chat and improving the streaming quality across devices.

Streamed videos will have all the same features as regular YouTube videos. They can be searched for, found via recommendations or playlists, and protected from unauthorised use,” claimed the blog post.

Super Chat, which was trailed in January, is the feature where fans can pay to have their messages stand out in the chat section for a live stream on YouTube, with creators getting a share of the revenue. It’s YouTube’s equivalent of tipping on Twitch and some of the mobile live-streaming apps.

For now, creators in 20 countries will be able to turn on Super Chat, although viewers in more than 40 countries will be able to pay for it.

There are clear applications for musicians here, whether native YouTubers or artists from the traditional music industry. Longer-form live performances, from planned studio sets to off-the-cuff backstage strums, could work well.

Equally, artists could take a leaf out of the vlogging playbook and use the new feature to chat to their fans, and if Super Chat is enabled, make some money out of it – although we’ve noticed musicians are more likely to feel uncomfortable about the idea of asking fans directly to stump up during a broadcast.

One challenge for time-pushed musicians is that to some extent, all these different live-streaming platforms are silos: simultaneously broadcasting on, say, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch is complex enough technically to put it beyond the capabilities of most artists.

(Video tech firm Livestream recently added capabilities to simul-cast on YouTube, Periscope and Twitch, but said the terms of Facebook Live prohibited it from simul-casts involving that platform.)

There are undoubtedly copyright questions around live-streaming on all of these platforms, particularly around how publishers and collecting societies get reported to and paid for works performed during live streams. And even more so on a platform like Instagram, where as soon as a broadcast ends, it is deleted from the platform.

As Music Ally understands it, the licensing situation with YouTube’s live features is the same as its regular uploads, in that it is essentially up to the uploader to secure rights. Which is unlikely to be in the core skillset of the average young YouTube musician with just over 10,000 subscribers.

However, Content ID will be scanning live streams, and carrying out rightsholders’ instructions whenever a match is detected. In theory, a broadcast could be terminated through this, although rightsholders can whitelist a channel to prevent that happening, if they are aware in advance of the contents of a broadcast.

The bigger picture here, though, is of YouTube trying to establish itself as a major player in the live-streaming market, and particularly to encourage people to go live on its platform rather than Facebook’s. We should get a sense of how successful it is well before Beyonce has her next babies.

Stuart Dredge

READ MORE: Marketing News

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