The U2bes

As I’m sure you’ve no doubt heard, U2 did something or other a few days back in front of 90,000 fans that was broadcast live across the world on YouTube. Here’s the performance



Unfortunately I can’t find any statistics on how many people tuned in to watch it. I can’t be certain but I’m going to put it in the ball park of 50 million or more.

That’s 50 million people who were not interrupted or advertised to, but rather sought out and watched this remarkable content. And I would hazard a guess that a fair portion of them hung around for the full two and a half hours. This is incredible.

I know we’re not meant to use the word revolution (isn’t that right Jules?) but does this completely change the game for entertainment? Would love to see what this did for charity donations and album sales. Did they pull off a Radiohead?

More importantly, could another band pull it off? It is a first mover advantage, or just the fact U2 is one of the biggest bands on the planet. Take it a step further, could a brand pull it off? Even on a much smaller scale where only say 10,000 people tuned in to watch, I’d love to see it tried. What do you think?

No Comments
  • Zac Martin
    Posted at October 28, 2009 9:57pm, 28 October Reply

    And just to clarify, my guess at 50 million viewers comes from the channel views I thought I saw during the live stream. I believe these were reset when the video was uploaded.

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at October 29, 2009 12:37pm, 29 October Reply

    This article suggests viewers were only around 2.5 million, but unconfirmed. Even if this is the case, I think the point still stands, that's 2.5 million brand evangelists watching that ultimately would have lead to sales.

  • Daniel Oyston
    Posted at October 30, 2009 8:16am, 30 October Reply

    I love U2 – one of the best bands of all time. However, I don’t get the live web cast thing. It sits in between being there in person and watching a recording. I wasn’t attracted to the live streaming just because it was live because I knew I could re-play it anytime.

    I suppose streaming it live is a good idea so long as it doesn’t cost a lot to put it on for people. 2.5 million people is pittance considering the band and the global population but the interesting thing to know would be how many of those wouldn’t have replayed it later. That’s the equivalent of additional audience.

    But do I count in that 2.5 million because I logged on for half a song? Interestingly, most of the tweets I saw about it were people complaining that it kept dropping out.

    Also, how many people who aren’t connected as much and spend as much time on using social tools even knew it was on?

  • lyndellnm
    Posted at October 30, 2009 9:48am, 30 October Reply

    The Foo Fighters are streaming a performance on Facebook and Livestream this weekend (7pm tonight US time… not sure what that translates to here). Latest update via Facebook is that 7000 fans have RSVPed to tune in.

    Whether that means they'll all "show up"; and further whether there are others that will log on without RSVPing, well, noone will know until it happens. I agree with Daniel's – if I log on for half a song, do I count as one "attendee"; and more to the point should I count?

    Obviously, they are streaming the content live and free as a promo for their new album. For mine, it's high quality promotion, which the band has put some effort into, to reward their fans.

    I don't know whether I'll buy the album; I'm not a fan of the greatest hits thing. Hell, I don't even know whether I'll tune into the online performance. But gee, I'd love to get my hands on a Foo Fighters Tshirt…

    Yep, I think it's worked.

  • Jimmy
    Posted at November 6, 2009 9:51pm, 06 November Reply

    Another example:

    On November 16th, Nokia will stream a live performance of Rihanna in London for fans to get an exclusive listen of her new album.

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