Where's the Music? Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Fest Head To YouTube

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Just a few years ago, Fuse TV was the “official broadcast partner” of Lollapalooza, the big late-summer Chicago music festival.

Next month, the event will be streamed by YouTube, which will also carry the Austin City Limits Music Festival in mid-September. C3 Presents, the company promoting both events, has made a deal with YouTube to carry two feeds from each festival. One “channel” will carry live performances and content, while the second will feature backstage interviews and previews of upcoming acts.

Altogether, about eight hours each day will be streamed.

The high-definition video live streams represent YouTube’s (and its parent Google’s) accelerating effort to present live performances of popular events - thus emphasizing their role as an alternative to cable/satellite pay-per-view programming.

There’s no word yet about which acts will be streamed, suggesting that rights negotiations are still underway with performers such as Cee Lo Green, Eminem, Coldplay, Foo Fighters for Lollapalooza and Kanye West, Coldplay, Stevie Wonder among others for Austin City Limits.

Video archives of the performances will remain available on YouTube for about a month after each festival. Those on-demand viewing offer far more flexibility than the “Rewind Week” highlights that Fuse ran after the 2006 Lollapalooza.

Dell and AMD, the computer and chip-maker respectively, will sponsor the video streaming for both events, each of which may attract tens of millions of online viewers for all or part of the festival acts. The 20th annual Lollapalooza runs August 5-7, while the 10th annual Austin City Limits runs Sept. 16-18.

During the week prior to each festival, to promote the shows, YouTube will run teaser videos, including new performances from the bands and special messages from the talent. Dana Vetter, YouTube’s music marketing programs manager, in a statement said that, the live streams give music lovers around the world an “unprecedented” opportunity to see their favorite acts, noting that the partnership with C3 lets “fans enjoy the music online the same as if they were in the crowd.”

That sounds like a step toward further such relationships, underscoring the competition that will evolve to pit online performances against cable networks’ PPV and VOD offerings.

Gary Arlen is president of Arlen Communications LLC in Bethesda, MD, and a long-time interactive TV enthusiast. Reach him at GArlen@ArlenCom.com