- Electronic musician deadmau5 talks about his experiences pioneering live music streams in a recent keynote session with Streaming Media
- The Canadian DJ thinks the biggest problem with any live streamed concert is the back-and-forth interplay that happens between performer and audience in an arena.
- Real-time rendering in the metaverse might provide an answer to these issues.
Live streaming gigs rose to the foreground during lockdown and are now big business with companies like Live Nation promoting live streamed experiences for music fans who couldn’t, or choose not to, attend the concert.
Performers like electronic musician deadmau5 have been doing this for well over a decade, helping to pioneer the experience. In doing so, the Canadian DJ, whose name is Joel Zimmerman, has taught himself a lot about streaming technology from hardware switchers to the latest codecs but nothing in his view has come close to replacing performing live in front of a crowd.
“I wasn’t thinking there’s going to be the total shift of my career from now on… that I’m just going to be a streaming act,” he said, keynoting the Content Delivery Summit for Streaming Media.
“There’s much to be said about being in a venue with an actual human. That’s some level of interaction and communication. [That said] streaming just lends itself so easily to [not] requiring big travel demands or set ups.”
For years, deadmau5 used Twitch or Mixer to stream live but during the pandemic he launched mau5trap, a proprietary streaming service. He also joined video streaming platform StreamVoodoo as an equity partner.
“All musicians and artists need a solution like this today and for the future,” deadmau5 explained in a 2020 press release. “I was working on bringing my shows online and starting my own streaming platform to connect with my community. Not just for me, but for all musicians in the world.
“After the pandemic began, we needed a solution for video quality with excellent sound, beyond anything that has been done before. We tested every other provider offering and I didn’t find what I was looking for. StreamVoodoo is phenomenal for live concerts and streaming sessions at scale with no latency.”
To the StreamingMedia audience, he claimed there was a lack of a video-centric streaming platform: “Zoom was not built with video in mind,” he said.
A primary issue is latency. “If [the stream] is struggling to keep up within two milliseconds and it’s having a hard time doing that, then that just breaks it.”
He remains concerned about achieving the same live alchemic interaction between the musician and audiences in a stadia in an online environment.
“You go see the Foo Fighters and see no show is the same. Maybe the setlist stays the same, but there’s always some story, there’s always some back and forth between Dave [Grohl] and the crowd and all the other guys. So that’s like something that that is there in the moment, for those people that are right there.”
He implies that if the streaming experience isn’t right then viewers are “just a fly on the wall… you’re not inclusive into that experience,” he said.
“A ticket holder [who has] invested in you, in that moment in time, to have exclusivity of that moment and being in the audience and being in the crowd,” is a missing element in some live streams.
Hosting live concerts in the metaverse with real-time rendering is a potential answer. He explains, “I don’t foresee the future being a camera’s perspective of something because then you’ve just locked it to whatever they give you. I’m at a concert and then I want to walk around that front row. So we’re going to need some kind of volumetric representation of that so that I can go and do that.”
He tells StreamingMedia that he gets his inspiration for live streaming from live streamers on Twitch such as TheSushiDragon. “This kid, you got to look him up. He’s got this warehouse in Montana and just every new gadget, every new little handheld toy, every kind of IP camera or follow camera robot.
“He’s just built this huge playpen and he does live editing, live streaming, and uses all peripheral technology to do these great live edits.
“So I’m finding all these characters, you know using all this different tech. You just got to kind of find what works for you.”