Orchestra live stream premiere on Facebook

(Facebook) Live from San Francisco

SFS is the first major classical ensemble to use Facebook’s new live streaming feature

A US orchestra will this week become the first major classical ensemble to broadcast a concert live via Facebook.

This Wednesday the San Francisco Symphony will use Facebook Live to stream the world premiere of a new Mason Bates work to its 120,000 online followers. Facebook’s latest webcasting feature allows organisations, brands and individuals (depending on their location) to broadcast video to their followers in real time.

It isn’t new technology for the social media platform, which first unveiled its ‘Live’ service for public figures on the Facebook Mentions app in August 2015. In December, the company started rolling the feature out on Facebook for US-based iPhone users, with more devices and territories being added gradually.

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Facebook Live is a natural competitor to app-based live streaming services Meerkat and the Twitter-owned Periscope, which has just celebrated its first birthday. One of the service’s most obvious and useful applications is perhaps for live performance; Facebook Live broadcasts can last up to 30 minutes, putting live streams of short works or individual movements well within the reach of most classical artists and ensembles.

Auditorium, the work by DJ and composer Mason Bates slated for broadcast this Wednesday, is a piece with digital technology at its heart. According to the programme notes, Bates ‘explores the soundscape of the acoustic orchestra combined with digital sounds… The dialogue this generates underscores the composer’s fascination with evolutionary processes and the “ghosts” of previous technology.’

We look forward to eavesdopping on the gig for free via our phones – if we’re awake, that is. The Facebook Live webcast begins at approximately 8.15pm PST on Wednesday 27 April, which is a quarter past four in the morning, UK time. Luckily, the performance will be archived for on-demand streaming after the concert.

Is Facebook Live the future of video streaming? And how can musicians and artists use it best? Have your say in the comments below.
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