FEED issue 28 Web

16 STREAMPUNK Live Music


He continues, “We’re engaging audiences at home, who are sharing the same experiences as the person stood on the stage. When Oldham-born musician Clint Boon played, he performed a poem about Anthony H Wilson, who was the godfather of Factory Records, The Haçienda and the Madchester era. Anthony passed away a few years ago, so when Clint read his poem, he was crying. A key worker tweeted us to say he felt connected because he was sharing Clint’s emotion.” GREEDY SOCIAL NETWORKS Audiences can tune into the live streams directly via the unitedwestream.co.uk website, and the team is also putting out streams on Twitter, Twitch and Facebook. The streams are free to access, but the GMCA is requesting that small donations be made, with funds raised going to support bars, clubs, pubs, venues, restaurants, performers and cultural organisations across Greater Manchester, as well as to support the fight against homelessness in the region. “All we ask is that you pay what you would if you were going to a gig in real life,” explains McKevitt. “Our donate button is on the website, so we try to push people to that if they tune in on another platform.” It is actually possible to embed donate buttons into live streams shown on

BEHIND THE SCENES Crew direct acts, operate the graphics etc and eight camera feeds, sent from two camera operators on the ground

Facebook, but unfortunately, this has not been an option for McKevitt and his team. They have had to ask audiences to watch elsewhere, whether that’s on their website, Twitter or Twitch, because of Facebook’s stringent copyright restrictions. McKevitt explains: “Facebook hasn’t quite understood the power of what we’re trying to achieve. After about five minutes of the live stream being aired, it cuts off and we get a copyright strike.” McKevitt has tried reaching out to Facebook to get whitelisted, but has always been met by a bot. “My belief is that Facebook is very focused on revenue clicks and the movement of its media consumers,”

he says. “If they have someone sat still, watching a video for several hours, they’re not going to be able to monetise that. But the company needs to realise we’re not living in ‘normal’ times anymore. The game has changed, and the way that we engage with our audiences has changed.” At the heart of this project is a streaming workflow built around Blackmagic hardware. Blackmagic was selected, not to provide a one-off solution, but to build a long-lasting creative partnership with Salford University’s media production team. “It links back to why I created this team; students want to have tangible work experiences and businesses want to work with new talent,” says McKevitt. “When we met with Blackmagic, I had drafted in some students from the professional sound and video technology course to design a broadcast gallery box for the events. I knew I wanted an ATEM and some other bits of Blackmagic kit, but I didn’t really have a vision of what the workflow would look like. And while we were sat down with Blackmagic, talking through some ideas, one of the students designed it all. We later ordered the equipment and then the student that designed it built it. After it was built, Blackmagic took a look at it and gave that student a job.” This is not the first time a student has been plucked from McKevitt’s team after working on a talent and industry collaborative project. Some students now

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