Earlier this week, U2 did something that would seem a little crazy. In the middle of their 360 concert tour, they livestreamed their show from the Rose Bowl on YouTube and then made it available for viewing. Jenni and I saw the concert in Charlottesville, and it was an incredible experience. Here are a few thoughts.
- I think this is a historic moment for the music industry. Bands are learning how they can directly interact with their fans through social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube. They have a new distribution model to quickly make their music available to a wide audience. This really puts the record companies at a crossroads. Can they change their business models to take advantage of the internet? Or will they keep fighting to increase CD sells in stores?
- U2 didn’t just broadcast a concert, they shared an experience. The production quality was incredible and they were able to recreate the concert experience for the online viewers. So how does this impact churches? I believe we will see more and more opportunities for people to be involved with churches no matter where they are geographically. The church can and should study this to see how U2 was able to take a live experience and make you feel like you were part of it. From showing pictures of the crowds to the multiple camera angles to lighting and video, everything drew you into the experience.
- U2 wasn’t worried about cannibalizing their ticket sales by providing an online concert. A major complaint of current online churches is that they prevent people from attending real live “brick-and-mortar” churches. I believe we are just learning how to leverage the internet to share a church experience. Why can’t we can use online church experiences to foster community in non-traditional ways?
Overall, I’m excited about how video on the internet is developing. From internet simulcasts, to live-streaming concerts and church services, geographical boundaries are being torn down. We recently even hosted a evangelism training service for a church in Michigan from our church here in Virginia. This would have been impossible to even dream about 10 years ago.
Here is the complete 2 hour and 21 minute concert. I suggest you hook up your computer to your tv and sound system, hit the full-screen button, and sit back and enjoy the concert. You can find more videos on the U2 YouTube channel.