YouTube Live – 90 minutes of web celebrities

YouTube’s first foray into live entertainment just “aired” and these are a couple of my first impressions and observations (in no particular order).

YouTube Live vloggers/hosts

YouTube Live vloggers/hosts

  1. When you glue together web celebs (or ‘webreblities’ as they seem to be called) it makes for a fairly entertaining format – lots of B-boying and body popping though. I either leaned back during the guests I knew or browsed in parallel for the reference videos of guests I hadn’t seen before.
  2. YouTube avoided Yahoo!s bandwidth choke a month ago and the streaming in high quality went smoothly.
  3. YouTube did a good job in selling themselves as the credible platform for becoming a star out of nowhere. Either through starring, experimenting, mimicking, spoofing, playing the background track to something strange, etc … OK, everybody knew that already but seeing a whole 90 minutes of web-born stars must have given some kids another motivational boost.
  4. When you take some acts out of their living room, you realize they aren’t that interesting, vocally gifted or funny.
  5. Is “Choccolate Rain'”s Tay Zonday the voice of generation V ?
  6. Some of the backstage/offstage footage was a real challenge to watch and definitely took a bit of the fascination out of it. Nothing new for people who have been to TV-recorded gigs. It goes to show that directing 90 minutes of live entertainment with three simultaneous feeds poses the same logistical challenges it did before the interweb.
  7. Nice integration of a live stream from aboard Virgin America, on a plane on its way to the show.
  8. A modern audience seems to be so busy with recording events via mobile phone, they don’t clap or wave their arms anymore. Given that Flip Mino was a main sponsor it was a fitting sight. I couldn’t find links to any ‘audience videos’ that were supposedly uploaded during the event. Reminds me of BeastieBoys’ I Shot That.
  9. Most importantly, there was no interactivity with the web audience that i could see. The usual channel comments or any sort of live stats did not have any influence on the show. There were no live overlays directing users to additional footage/info. I am sure a space YouTube will expand their format into.
YouTube Live VJaying by

YouTube Live VJaying by Mike Relm

The whole show format definitely beat any Australian live show that is on regular TV. If you have seen a re-broadcast or excerpts what are your first thoughts?

JaffeJuice commented on the integration of sponsors, appointment viewing,  catch up in byte-sized clips and most important of all the potential of future interactivity (e.g. integration of live commenting with services like

And this is…like…a YouTube Live response of guest Daxflame …that is … like awesome and uh…he met sooo many friends. And stuff.

Hm, guess this parody is too close to real teenager speak for me.


3 responses to “YouTube Live – 90 minutes of web celebrities

  1. I think points 3 and 4 are the key here. The whole thing was more of a branding exercise for YouTube than anything else. It could have been YouTube sponsoring another live event with amateur acts.

    Quite a few of the performers were really not all that versed in performing in front of more than a camera and it showed. That, for me, is one of the big differences between a professional showbiz person and an amateur. The live experience should have an edge and there’s a real difference between wasting an amusing couple of minutes of your time looking at a video online and painfully sitting through a longer lame performance. No surprise that there was a decent smattering of ‘real’ celebrities in there.

    There’s the paradox for YouTube. Part of the whole brand and idea is that it’s an open-access, amateur, non-glossy, non-PR fame-making platform. Yet now some of the YouTube stars are turned into ‘real’ TV-style celebrities. At the same time, I thought the camera work looked like the kind of remote stuff you get on home shopping channels.

    The entire event feels as unsure of itself and the performers. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes. Smart of Virgin to get in on it – the brand’s irreverence works well and the brand colours match, so much so that it sometimes felt like a YouTube event sponsored by Virgin.

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Andy. Fans of the individual vloggers have already backlashed (quote on the Hey Bitches guy: “what happened to you william….. I want the old William back, I want to see you sitting in your room with all the W’s behind you, talking about your drunk weekends out, and your ‘ask a gay man’ questions… I miss you:-/ )
    Maybe the event wasn’t only ‘unsure of itself’ but also underfunded or underscripted – the moderation surely was. But as you can confirm from first-hand experience, regular Australian and German TV create some abysmal live shows where experienced cheesiness reigns supreme.
    Faced with a choice I then prefer this ocasional awkwardness fused with (in the future) interesting viewer interactivity.

  3. Maybe I’ll take it all back. I just found the clip of Joe Satriani and FunTwo playing together:

    It’s great, until FunTwo also plays a real guitar. I liked the whole Guitar Hero crossover aspect much better.

    I just had to read your reply twice too – I thought you wrote “fans have already backslashed” instead of backlashed. I’ve spent too much time on the computer.

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