Remember when we wrote about how Google+ could steal music fans from Facebook if it figured out how to stream concerts using Google Hangouts, and everyone from our pals at Wired to CNN picked up on it? Well, it looks like Google was listening — or at least thinking along the same lines.
On Monday, Google announced (and TechCrunch reported about) a new “Studio Mode” that musicians can use to play online concerts within the Google+ social network, replete with high-quality audio, a crucial inclusion for any online concert platform that wants to be taken seriously. Using this new feature, any band can stream a live concert to an unlimited number of fans, for free, and have it sound at least halfway decent, assuming their fans’ connections are up to the task.
Here’s the full announcement from Google product manager Matt Leske:
Since we launched Google+ a little over a year ago, we’ve seen a thriving community of musicians connect with fans in really cool ways. In particular: singer/songwriters like +Daria Musk bands like +Suite 709 and many others are using Hangouts On Air to perform live for global audiences, and jam with fans face-to-face.
We wanted to make these live hangout concerts sound more like the stage, so today we’re rolling out Studio Mode. As a musician, all you need to do is start your Hangout On Air, click settings, and switch from Voice to Studio Mode.
Studio Mode optimizes your individual audio for music instead of conversation, and no else needs to change a thing! Check out the video with +Suite 709 to hear the difference (and for the full effect, listen with your favorite pair of headphones).
The most common dig about Google+ is that only Google employees use it. However, music fans don’t necessarily care where a band is playing online, if they can have the chance to watch the band live, with great sound, and even interact with them in real time, as they can with Google Hangouts. They just want to see the band, be it on Google, Facebook, or anywhere else — and they have the tools to spread the word about those shows. (In a sense, these could actually be better than watching the band play live, because on the internet, there’s a better chance that the band will respond to what you’ve said or shouted to them.)
I’ve made at least one great prediction in my career, but another — that live online music would start making sense all the way back in 2008 — proved to be way off the mark. Hopefully Google can make this work, and bands take advantage of it — not because I want to save face (although that would be nice), but because watching your favorite band play online in real time just makes too much sense for it never to take off.