YouTube will live stream Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits in the video site's continuing push to bring music festivals to digital screens.
The Google Inc.-owned YouTube will announce Friday that it will present online coverage of the festivals, two of the summer's largest. YouTube has previously streamed festivals such as Tennessee's Bonnaroo, San Francisco's Outside Lands and, earlier this year, Southern California's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, both produced by C3 Presents, will be presented with extensive live concert coverage from the various festival stages. Dell and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. will sponsor the streaming.
Chicago's Lollapalooza takes place Aug. 5-7 and will be promoted with a "Lollapalooza Week" on YouTube. Exactly which acts will be streamed is yet to be announced, but this year's top performers include Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Muse and My Morning Jacket. It's the 20th anniversary for the Perry Farrell-founded event, which began as a touring festival.
"For those of us who can't make it — we have YouTube," said Farrell in a statement. "Be a voyeur to this year's Lollapalooza. Watch as musicians offer their souls and the crowd devours them. You just may forget that you aren't really there."
Austin City Limits, which runs from Sept. 16-18 in the Texas capital, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Its acts include Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, Arcade Fire, Coldplay and My Morning Jacket.
For YouTube, the deal represents growth toward an increasingly robust digital festival-going experience. Streaming festivals is appealing to the site because sponsors like having their names attached to the well-known events, and users typically stay longer than they might for three-minute videos. Viewing length can average nearly an hour.
"This allows us to showcase multiple artists each day, which is really exciting to users," says Dana Vetter, YouTube's music marketing programs manager. "And we can hope to expect longer viewing times from people who catch one set and trickle into the next one."
How many tune in will depend partly on which acts are streamed, but online audiences for festivals often number in the tens of millions and can even — over the full weekend — rival the audience YouTube attracts for live events like the royal wedding in April. About 72 million people watched YouTube's coverage of Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding.
"In the past 12 to 18 months, we've come a really long way in terms of live music," said Vetter. "There's a huge audience connected with these things. The trajectory of live music has come a long way and we hope to see it continue."
There will be a primary live stream of performances as well as a secondary feed of the backstage areas and interviews. Interactivity with Facebook and Twitter will also be integrated. Videos will remain on YouTube for four weeks after the festivals.
In the last few years, mega-festivals have increasingly spread into the digital space where music fans unable to make the trek (or those who simply would rather avoid mud and heat) can follow along online. Vevo, the joint venture of Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Abu Dhabi Media Co., streamed acts from this year's Bonnaroo. National Public Radio will webcast this year's Newport Folk Festival (July 30-31) and the Newport Jazz Festival (Aug. 6-7).