This weekend’s ‘Live From Worthy Farm’ was one of the highest-profile music livestreams yet, put on by the organisers of the Glastonbury Festival and online concerts firm Driift. Coldplay, Jorja Smith and George Ezra were among the performers at the £20-a-ticket event, which (like other Driift concerts) was pre-recorded then streamed over several viewings.
The trouble started when the first of those was due to begin, with many ticket buyers unable to access the stream: entering the code they had been sent only to be told it was invalid. Cue a barrage of angry tweets from fans, and eventually a fix that enabled them to watch without a code, and to rewind back to an earlier stage of the stream – but not the beginning.
So what happened? “Driift is not a tech business or a media platform, and we rely on a third party company for certain aspects of broadcasting the stream,” explained Driift in an updated statement and apology published yesterday, noting that locked-out viewers from the Saturday stream would be able to watch on Sunday or get a refund.
The company also apologised to the Glastonbury Festival, the artists and crews, and stressed that it “is making no financial gain from this livestream event”. It’s not the disaster that the most angry of those tweets would have you believe – and the film itself was beautifully produced with some excellent performances – but Driift will be working hard to learn the lessons for future streams.
Issues of control may be at the heart of that: relying on third party companies for technology may be unavoidable for a company that isn’t a tech business or a media platform, but it introduces the potential for things to go wrong that are out of your control. Perhaps an argument for bringing more of that tech in-house after all, not least to head off clients deciding they do need to work with a tech business and/or media platform for these kinds of events.
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