Monday, November 2, 2009

The Foo Fighters, Pure Internet Rock and The Future of Music

[foors_facebook.jpg]The Foo Fighters know how to rock. They've toured live for the last 15 years reaching a fan base that stretches across the globe. But last Friday, October 30th at 7pm (PT), they opened up the virtual doors to their Studio 606 in Los Angeles to put on their first live concert produced exclusively for their fans online.

The free live show was powered by Livestream and aired on the band's Livestream and Facebook pages to promote the release of their much anticipated Greatest Hits album on November 3rd.

The performance featured Facebook/Twitter chat integrations so that fans could interact with the band and each other live during the performance. The Foo Fighters' Facebook page incorporated a similar live stream+chat module that's been used in a variety of events over the last year, including CNN's live stream of Barack Obama's inauguration.

According to Livestream Co-founder and CEO Max Haot:
"As the Foo Fighters were playing, they were keeping an eye on the stream of Facebook status updates coming in, sometimes responding to comments and taking song requests. This is first time ever that a live concert was produced just for their fans online – it was not just a broadcast of an existing concert/event. The concert attracted more than 150,000 viewers and trended on Twitter (#2, #1 was Halloween), was #1 on Digg and was featured on Facebook Celebs. The event generated a lot of buzz in the music and social media industry."

Watch live streaming video from foofighters at

The integration of live video and interactive chat helps build value on many levels by enabling artists to connect with fans, extend their reach through existing social networks and boost their video marketing, merchandising and promotion efforts. The cost to produce a live event using an online video platform like Livestream is significantly less than traditional broadcast television. Advertising and sponsorship deals will also help generate revenue for artists and music industry along with interactive elements and click-to-buy opportunities. The appeal for bands is obvious as Jason Kincaid noted on Techcrunch:
"Live concert streams seem to be a growing trend for the web’s most popular content and social sites. Last week MySpace streamed their Secret Show Weezer concert in San Francisco. And earlier this week YouTube streamed a U2 concert from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. The event was a huge success, drawing a reported 10 million streams. YouTube also streamed San Francisco’s Outside Lands music festival in August. Hulu has also gotten in on the action, with a Dave Matthews Band stream May."
Liz Gaines at NewTeeVee thinks bands are not taking full advantage of real monetization opportunities through advertising sponsorship, and made this point:
"But I have to ask, where is the business model for these shows? The music industry, after all, is well known for its trouble grappling with the shift to digital. It wants to keep charging us for formats we don’t want to buy anymore. Here we are, introducing a whole new category of music product, and there’s been little more than a Google text ad monetizing any one of these examples. Granted, inserting ads into live recordings may be a little bit more complicated than for your standard web video, but when we’re talking 10 million views, it’s time to get a major sponsor, or at least link in real-time to where to buy an MP3 of the song that’s playing. Live concert audiences are an amazing monetization opportunity. Lots of people engaged for long periods of time simultaneously? You couldn’t ask for more."
For the Foo Fighters, this live interactive video event was performed exclusively for fans and was both a first and hopefully not the last, as the band plans to take a hiatus to pursue solo projects. Randi Zuckerberg, who is both the sister of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook's Marketing Director had this to say:
"I'm cheesy, but this Foo Fighters live on Facebook concert honestly makes me feel like I'm watching the future of music."
The Foo Fighters are:
Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel and Chris Shiflett

Also, in two weeks Max Haot will be a featured panelist at the Online Video Platform Summit speaking on Building Value with Real Interactivity.

Update 11/3/09 via @newteevee:
"The Foo Fighters’ live show on Friday night came with little fanfare outside of the band’s core fanbase, but it delivered 2 hours and 45 minutes of greatest hits to more than 150,000 viewers around the world. The video drew 440,000 total live streams, with a max of 20,000 at any one time... (more) "