An exciting new way to engage online audiences is to stream live video of yourself on uStream. It is a free online service where you can create your own live video broadcast show, with a social networking follow-follower aspect similar to Twitter. uStream was founded in March 2007 and has since gained over 2,000,000 registered users, who generate 1,500,000+ hours of live streamed content per month.
All you need to use uStream is a computer, a webcam and a solid Internet connection - once you sign up for an account on uStream, you can create a new broadcast show for yourself, and instantly begin streaming the video from your webcam to your own uStream video player for anyone online to view. You can also embed the live video player into your own website, allowing for fans to visit your own website and watch streaming footage of you or your band.
Curious to learn more about uStream, I created an account for myself. I realized it would be useful for my own podcast – I could do live video broadcasting of the interviews I conduct – in addition to broadcasting various lectures and seminars I give around New York City. On the site, I discovered that the broadcasts were organized by category – so, I selected the ‘music’ category, and the first video to show up in the search results was a live broadcast of Bowwow behind his desk and chatting on a speakerphone with fans about his recent movie. The uStream page reported an active 650 viewers. In addition, a live chat application directly adjacent to the video player displayed comments from several Bowwow fans expressing their excitement about watching him live, as well as commenting on the conversation he was carrying on with fans on speakerphone. I then understood how exciting this new technology is – for now it is possible to go even further with video than YouTube, and create your own internet live video broadcasts – absolutely free. This site may prove immensely useful for artists and bands to conduct live streams of their performances, or even of situations like interviews, being in the studio, rehearsing, etc. – to create another way to intimately connect with new audiences.
Furthermore, uStream has a Facebook application service, whereby uStream creates a custom live video stream, live chat service and banners that all reside on your Facebook Page. This is incredibly useful for musicians, actors and public personalities to host live broadcasts and activate fans on Facebook. uStream selects partners for uStream-Facebook integrations at its own discretion – so, curious to see if I might be able to get uStream for my own Page, I sent in an application to sign up myself. I thought it might be useful to stream upcoming interviews, lectures and seminars on my Facebook Page – when I find out whether my application has been accepted, I will let everyone know! Seeing that the application might only be available to music celebrities (such as Wynton Marsalis, who yesterday gave a live broadcast from France using uStream on Facebook), I won’t keep my fingers crossed too tightly, but I’m curious to find out the details of this service!
Have any of you ever used uStream, and if so, for what purpose? Do you think this is a useful tool for musicians and bands to use? As always, I appreciate your comments and feedback.