People love concerts, but sometimes it’s difficult to attend the shows they want to. Sometimes the location is an issue or tickets are too expensive. Other times, concerts simply sell out really fast.
One way that many promoters, bands, and event companies are overcoming these roadblocks is by live streaming concerts over the internet. This approach is effective for both generating additional revenue and making the show available to more fans. This is growing in popularity since 38% of young music fans are interested in watching concerts online.
Lots of musicians and music festivals are getting in on this trend. One example is the huge music festival Coachella, which streamed live on YouTube for the first time in 2017. The Detroit Jazz Festival also streams live every year, as do countless other events.
To bring these online concerts and music festivals to life, a video streaming solution with a specific set of tools and features is a must.
In this post, we’re going to cover why live streaming a concert is a little bit different from streaming other live events. From there, we will discuss 7 features to look for in an online concert streaming platform. Once you’re equipped with the information you need to choose one for your own broadcasting, we will compare some of the best live concert streaming platforms on the market.
Live streaming concerts are different from live streaming other events since the goals, audience, and expectations are different. Therefore, organizers need to take a unique approach to ensure that their live streams are successful.
Concert broadcasting requires access to professional tools in order to prioritize viewer experience, which is important to keep in mind when choosing a platform for online concert streaming.
In addition to the software for hosting, you’re going to want to invest in professional-grade equipment for concert broadcasting. High-quality cameras and sound equipment are a must. For some types of virtual events, you can get away with an iPhone or tablet, but you can’t really get away with that when you’re streaming a professional live music performance.
As we mentioned, there are a few specific features that are very important for live streaming concerts.
Let’s take a look at 7 online video hosting tools that many concert broadcasters would say are essential when choosing the best platform for live streaming concerts.
Since you’ll want to make your virtual concert feel as lifelike as possible, it is important to prioritize the quality of your stream.
There are a few elements that you can control that factor into your stream’s quality. First, you’ll want to ensure that you choose an online video platform that is capable of HD or 4K streaming. This is usually made possible by using a powerful content delivery network (CDN).
Most online video platforms partner with a live streaming CDN, which is a network of servers that are generally spread around the world. The purpose of a CDN is to deliver content quickly to large, geographically distributed audiences.
They do this by copying the stream as it’s being produced and broadcasting it from local servers to users in the area. This process is transparent to the viewers and ensures they get the best possible speed at any one time.
However, not all CDNs are created equal. In general, a CDN with more servers will be able to deliver live streams faster and more reliably. Larger CDNs are also often able to invest in the latest technology to improve quality, security, and so on.
On top of this, geography is a factor. The best live streaming CDN for you will have servers located geographically close to your main audience.
Another element to pay attention to is your own upload speed. Of course, this is unrelated to your online video platform, but it is applicable when it comes to producing a high-quality stream.
In general, we recommend using a connection with double the upload speed necessary for your stream. Figuring out exactly what that means involves adding up your bitrates, which you can learn more about in our article on bandwidth requirements for streaming live video.
The next critical factor for streaming live music shows is having no limits on viewers. Major artists can easily attract hundreds of thousands, sometimes even millions, of simultaneous viewers. This can overwhelm some smaller streaming services.
A huge audience is a major success, so you don’t want to ruin that with lag or buffering.
Another way that online video platform limits can affect music producers is by restricting simultaneous streams. Many live streaming providers limit their users to a single stream at any given time. If your event features multiple stages, you’ll need to be sure your platform supports concurrent streams to make this possible.
Licensing and branding are critical in the music industry where piracy is always an issue. Therefore, we recommend that you use an online concert streaming platform that offers a “white-label” service.
White-label means that the video stream doesn’t include the logo of the video service provider. Instead, you can insert your own branding or logos from sponsors or the band itself.
Consumer-grade, free streaming platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Periscope don’t have this feature. Rather, they want the “free advertising” provided by their logo being on every video streamed on their platform.
Most professional video hosting and streaming services will have this white-label feature, but often only with an expensive plan, so you’ll want to choose a solution that has white-label capabilities at the plan that falls into your budget.
Many in-person concerts and music festivals are paid events, and live streaming concerts are usually the same. Otherwise, you could end up undermining your in-person audience.
A high-quality online video platform for live music streaming should include easy-to-use tools for video monetization. For live streaming concerts, this usually involves the “pay-per-view” or transactional model.
If you take a pay-per-view approach, users will reach a paywall when they visit your website. To pass the paywall, they enter their payment info and the show goes on.
Advertisements and donations are also sometimes used to monetize live music streams.
Some OVPs don’t offer a paywall or have limited monetization features. Make sure to investigate this before choosing your OVP. On top of that, make sure your paywall is secure so that your viewers can trust that their financial information is safe and sound.
Analytics gathers data on the people viewing your live stream, which gives you a better idea of who your audience is. The type of data gathered by analytics typically includes:
This information is highly valuable for identifying where your online audience lives and other information that can help you make future events even more successful. Generally, video analytics data is gathered via a “dashboard” that can be customized to show the statistics that are most important to you.
It’s a rule of thumb in the digital multimedia world that you should aim to have at least two backups of any important files. That rule definitely applies to concerts.
Auto-archiving refers to the automatic recording of live streams. This is a convenient and easy way to maintain an off-site backup of your concerts. This method can be combined with local backups of your stream. This way, you’ll always have multiple copies of your live music stream.
Additionally, auto-archiving saves time if you’re going to make your live stream available for on-demand playback after your concert or music festival has ended.
Since you don’t have to upload a local recording to your video host after the fact, auto-archiving allows you to start distributing the recording of the show almost immediately. That can help you capitalize on the buzz around the event, generate revenue, and please fans quickly. Some shows are even monetizing recordings by selling video or audio recordings of the show to fans as they are leaving the venue.
Video piracy costs broadcasters billions of dollars each year. That’s why it’s so important to protect your video content so that scammers cannot sell your live concert streams as your own.
Domain restrictions are a must for concert broadcasting. Essentially, this security measure makes it impossible to embed a video player on websites with uncertified domains. For example, if your website is “liveconcert.com,” you can set restrictions so that the live stream only plays from pages on that site.
Relatedly, you can use secure upload tools to make sure that nobody infiltrates your live stream in front of millions of paying viewers.
As a music event coordinator, you need the support of a trusty online concert platform to bring your virtual event to life. There are tons of platforms on the market that are suited for broadcasting events on different budgets with a wide range of unique feature offerings.
That said, let’s look at the top 10 platforms for live streaming music events, such as concerts and festivals.
Dacast is considered a competitive offering in a crowded marketplace. Dacast is a full-featured online concert platform that supports both live streaming and VOD hosting. This platform started as a live streaming solution, but in 2019, Dacast acquired the vzaar platform, expanding its comprehensive OTT solution.
With Dacast’s secure video hosting services, broadcasters can embed videos on their websites while maintaining 100% control of their content. Dacast offers an integrated paywall, password protection, referrer restriction, and an analytics dashboard, which are some of the most important features for live music event streaming.
Dacast distinguishes itself by offering high-end features with competitive pricing plans. These include ad-free broadcasting, white-label service on all plans, and top-tier CDN delivery. 24/7 phone support is also available for premium and enterprise-grade plans.
Additionally, the Dacast platform stands out from other OVPs with its ease of use and accessibility. Even new broadcasters can create a new live channel and start a new live stream in just a few minutes.
Streaming platform pricing plans with Dacast start at $39 per month and are available in four packages:
Brightcove offers several modular products. These include: Video Cloud hosting, the Lift video player, Once for server-side ad insertion, Live for streaming video, OTT flow for internet TV, Zencoder for cloud video transcoding, and tools for monetization.
Brightcove’s features shine in the arena of analytics. This helps music broadcasters to get a better understanding of who is attending their events.
Although Brightcove doesn’t publish pricing information on their page, their plans are said to be quite costly. The high pricing makes this premier solution suitable for large event streaming.
Brightcove offers several pricing plan levels but does not provide pricing. These include the following:
Brightcove also includes custom-priced plans for their Enterprise Video Suite packages. Interested broadcasters can contact their sales department to receive a quote or sign up for a 30-day free trial.
Although Brightcove does not publish pricing, past users have reported paying $500+ per month.
Originally founded in 2007, Livestream was once one of the largest live streaming companies on the market. In 2017, Vimeo acquired the Livestream platform, and the two platforms have merged their services.
Vimeo is still geared towards smaller-scale broadcasting, but the company offers premier live streaming and video hosting services under the Livestream name.
This basic functionality of Livestream includes analytics, a video management platform, privacy controls, and more, which are all important for concert live streaming. The platform also offers reliable tech support.
Livestream offers three main pricing plans, including Vimeo Premium, Vimeo Enterprise, and Vimeo OTT. The Premium and Enterprise plans are best suited for online concert streaming.
Here is a breakdown of the pricing and offerings of each plan.
IBM Video Streaming, formally UStream, was founded in 2007 to connect military service members with family. IBM purchased UStream in 2016 and has sold the software under their name ever since.
IBM Live Video is primarily a live streaming company, but it supports VOD streaming as well. This platform also offers a unique Enterprise Content Delivery Network, which is different from the other online concert platforms we’ve discussed in this comparison.
IBM Video Streaming’s professional-grade OVP has solutions for live event coverage, video marketing, monetization, marketing, and more. Its inclusivity justifies its elevated price point and makes it great for streaming large music events.
IBM pricing plans range from $99 to $999 per month and include the following:
You can check out this third-party review for more details.
The best part is that the platform is very simple and straightforward, and it doesn’t require any coding and development expertise.
Since Muvi is equipped with OTT capabilities, it is great for hosting and monetizing replays of concerts and other music events. It’s also great for audio-only streaming if that is something that you’re interested in.
Muvi offers its platform in five different packages. The prices plans and features include:
Founded in 2007, Panopto is a video company whose focus is on large-scale broadcasting. This platform supports video streaming, sharing, recording, and management. Currently, Panopto serves an audience of over 5 million end-users.
Panopto’s solution offers video management, recording, live streaming, video search, and analytics. Their video content management (CMS) system allows for the centralization of video streams, playlists, and playback.
Panopto recently simplified its pricing packages and includes the following three options:
After establishing a contract, you have access to unlimited streaming and storage. However, this aspect may represent a potential downside for some streamers as Panopto does not handle any external-facing video content.
With a video management foundation in its open-source software, Kaltura offers a unique focus on the live streaming market. Kaltura offers cloud-based video hosting and distribution services for both VOD and live streams.
The fact that this platform can be totally customized makes it a great solution for music broadcasters that need more control over their streaming experience.
The downside of Kaltura’s extensibility, however, is that the platform can be confusing to use. With so many different features, it can be overwhelming for beginner users.
Kaltura doesn’t publish pricing information on its website other than the cost of credits to redeem for access to features and bandwidth. For more details, you can read about this platform’s pay-for-what-you-use pricing model.
Founded in 2011, StreamShark is another great online concert platform that provides a multi-faceted online video functionality. This platform is equipped with the technology required for fast and reliable content delivery.
StreamShark excels at making the live streams of large-scale, high-profile events a massive success with viewers having an exceptional viewing experience.
Their live event platform offers users the ability to efficiently and reliably manage the different phases of an event’s stream while ensuring maximum reach and reliability of the live stream via its multi-vendor approach and HLS ingests. Additionally, the company focuses overall on providing global video CDN services.
Monthly live streaming plans with StreamShark begin at $199 per month and include the following:
YouTube was one of the first platforms to make online video streaming popular, and it has grown exponentially in the past decade. This Google-owned website is designed for consumers, but many businesses use it while they are getting into broadcasting. It supports both VOD and live streaming, but the most popular content on the platform is on-demand videos.
YouTube is not ideal for hosting large events since the site has strict limitations on monetization and other professional tools. However, YouTube can be a great option for indie artist management companies that want to publish footage of their clients’ shows. It can also be used for smaller-scale events.
Please keep in mind that YouTube is primarily a consumer-grade video sharing platform. It is free to use, but its functionality is very limited.
When it comes to broadcasting, Facebook has similar functionality to YouTube. It is a free, social, consumer-grade platform with very basic functionality. Facebook offers both “Live” and “Watch” which allows event coordinators to host on-demand content or broadcast live content.
Facebook is commonly used by event coordinators that are new to streaming their events since it is free and easy to use. It is a great tool for gaining a bit of experience before investing a professional solution.
Live streams can be hosted on personal profiles, pages, and groups, but on-demand “Facebook Watch” videos can only be published by Facebook Pages.
Since it is a free platform, Facebook poses many challenges related to video ownership, time limits on videos, monetization, and more. Aside from those few technical restrictions, live streaming with Facebook Live is valuable for connecting with existing audiences.
It is common for broadcasters who use premium streaming solutions to connect their accounts to multicast to both Facebook and their websites. This allows users to tap into their existing Facebook audiences while accessing the professional tools of a video hosting solution.
Bands, producers, and event hosts have a great deal to gain from expanding their live music concerts to a global audience via live streaming.
Live broadcasting concerts can seem intimidating, but with the right online concert streaming platform, you should have no trouble getting started. Luckily, this post has provided all the information you need about choosing a streaming platform with the best features for the task at hand.
Not sure where to go from here? We recommend checking out our comparison of the 10 best professional live streaming platforms, then taking advantage of free trials from different streaming solutions to get a real feel for their features.
Dacast offers a risk-free 30-day trial that provides access to all of the powerful features we’ve covered in this post. Why not give it a try to start your search on the right foot?
All you have to do is create a Dacast account to start your trial. No credit card required.
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Thanks for reading and good luck with your live streaming!
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