|Moonalice live broadcast on an iPad|
Six years ago this week, San Fran psychedelic roots jam band Moonalice began live satellite broadcasts using HTML5. What began with iPads and iPhones streaming without an app has now extended to Android, PC, you name it. “The system is surprisingly inexpensive,” Moonalice front man and founder Roger McNamee commented at the time. “We paid a guy to write an HTML5 API and we found a carrier willing to provide bandwidth and storage at cost. The satellite system offers more bandwidth than alternatives at the same price.”
Why the broadcasts? “People couldn’t have cared less about Moonalice, so we had to use technology just to get off the ground. We figured out Twitter, Facebook, live streaming. It’s not that nobody had ever done it, but nobody had ever been dependent on it the way we were. Instead of a manager or publicist, we spent money on technology and social media. Technology was a lot cheaper and we have built a whole community was around this,” Roger elaborated.
“Moonalice is more like a tribute to a style of show,” Roger explained. “That communal, artistic, very hippie-driven model we grew up with. Technology allowed us to do it. Before buying a ticket or an album, fans could listen to our music online and decide if they liked it. I don’t understand why younger bands aren’t aggressive around this. If your audience was 18-25, this would work 100 times better than it does for us.”
|Poster by Chris Shaw|
"The original decision to use HTML5 was economic: it was obvious from day one that native apps on iOS and Android would be more expensive and would leave us at the mercy of platform vendors who would never give us the time of day. The app market has been a train wreck for all but a few players, yet almost everyone still makes them," said Roger.
Fast forward to today. "How time flies ... this week is the 6th anniversary of MoonTunesTM the HTML5 player that enables Moonalice to stream concerts live to PCs and smart phones,” Roger reminisced. “We have broadcast many hundreds of shows since then, including the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Weather-permitting, we will broadcast today's show from the Good Old Days Festival in Pacific Grove at 1pm PT in HD on http://www.moonalice.com."
Moonalice was also the first band to broadcast all its shows via Facebook Live. Below is the first set from the band's show at Paciaifc Grove yesterday. The benefit of these live broadcasts on Facebook is not only that fans can make comments and communicate with each other during the broadcasts, but the reach is orders of magnitude higher than sharing via link or even an upload. How much larger? Moonalice's reach is regularly in the region of 300- 500K, which translates to a lot of very happy fans!
Any song. Anywhere. Anytime. Yesterday I watched the three Moonalice sets from the Good Old Days Festival in Pacific Grove, from a park, on the Interstate, and from my favorite Indian restaurant. Rock on, Moonalice!