MONTEREY, Calif. — The three-day 54th Monterey Jazz Festival in mid-September brought 38,000 fans to the Monterey County Fairgrounds to witness a variety of performances from newcomers and internationally-renowned artists. This year, select live performances were made available online for the first time to those unable to attend, using the power of streaming media.
Monterey Jazz Festival, in alliance with two media partners, broadcast all nighttime performances from The Night Club/Bill Berry Stage via streaming media. StreamGuys, a content delivery network and streaming media provider, supported the live streams, delivering H.264 video and AAC+ audio of the live performances to viewers over three websites.
The Robert Glasper Experiment with Bilal performs.
The live streams were viewable at the websites of Monterey Jazz Festival, NPR member station KUSP(FM) of Santa Cruz, Calif., and NPR jazz music blog “A Blog Supreme.”
StreamGuys provided the Internet broadcast services from their scalable, virtualized streaming infrastructure and added tune-in widgets to the three sites. These provided direct, simple access to the live streams.
The success was almost instantly recognizable. Montereyjazzfestival.org confirmed more than 3,000 visitors from 59 countries, including approximately 350 simultaneous viewers for the Sunday night headline performance by the Robert Glasper Experiment.
KUSP has presented live Monterey Jazz Festival broadcasts to its terrestrial radio listeners for 31 years, delivering afternoon and evening performances from the Jimmy Lyons Stage, the festival’s largest venue.
The Monterey Jazz Festival organization first experimented with video streaming at its Next Generation Jazz Festival, an annual event that brings top student musicians from around the United States to Monterey. The initial project comprised a single video camera focused on the stage, with a direct soundboard feed to the camera. The live signal was streamed successfully to a small online audience, and set the stage to expand for the September festival.
The main attraction in streaming media is to bring more attention to the Monterey Jazz Festival, and build larger audiences for future events. This aligns with the festival’s vision of introducing jazz to younger audiences — a vision shared by KUSP.
Two key decisions were made to ensure a quality streaming experience for the September event: working with McCune Audio, the festival’s longtime on-site production partner, to produce the video and audio for the live streams; and retaining the services of StreamGuys to support robust, reliable delivery of a live, synchronized video and audio stream. KUSP’s experiences with StreamGuys for on-demand Flash audio streaming gave all parties the confidence required to forge ahead.
McCune Audio set up the cameras and microphones to capture the live video and audio, ultimately delivering a synchronized feed via Wi-Fi to a Telestream Wirecast encoder. This encoder broadcasts the stream at multiple bitrates (including AAC+ audio at 300 kbps, 800 kbps and 1,500 kbps) to the StreamGuys global delivery infrastructure.
StreamGuys ingested the source signal and rewrapped the original H.264 video stream for delivery to Apple iOS systems, Android mobile devices and embedded JW Players for web streaming. The multiple audio bit rates supported adaptive bit rate streaming in iOS and Web-based platforms — ensuring that virtually anyone with a broadband or Wi-Fi connection could stream the performances.
McCune Audio’s on-site production work was integral, sending a synchronized signal to the encoding point that enabled StreamGuys to deliver a smooth, even stream for online and mobile viewers. The raw video signals from three cameras were fed into a video switcher, which sent the desired camera feed to the encoder — along with the synchronized audio feed from the front-of-house mixer.
StreamGuys provided monitoring services and technical support during the broadcasts, with special focus on encoder stability, signal acquisition and Internet connectivity. General support included monitoring the incoming signal and maintaining the health of the server cluster that distributed the content. StreamGuys also provided real-time viewer statistics, allowing all three media partners to confirm the number of viewers at each site at any time.
The overall success of the event is a result of the synergy among a media company, a content delivery company and an entertainment company. Monterey Jazz Festival expects to evolve the nature of the streaming platform at future events, exploring potential subscription-based models and other services with the assistance of StreamGuys.
Timothy Orr is a marketing associate with the Monterey Jazz Festival.
Steve Laufer is director of new media with KUSP(FM).
For information, contact Jonathan Speaker at StreamGuys in California at (707) 667-9479 or visit www.streamguys.com.