BLOG POST BY: Rowan Byers
May 15, 2023

YouTube Live Streamed Coachella’s Main Stages: What does this mean for the music industry?

Music fans tuned in live to Coachella’s six main stages this year. With a continued partnership until 2026, YouTube will continue to bring the Coachella experience to millions online.

But what does this mean for the music industry, artists and the broader social community? Join us as we look a little closer at YouTube’s growing partnership with Coachella, and what this relationship ACTUALLY means. 

Coachelle Mainstage


YouTube announces Coachella 2023

Why are we seeing more live streaming of music events?

The potential positive impacts of YouTube live streaming Coachella and other music events

The drawbacks to live streaming music events like Coachella

What do we think?

YouTube announces Coachella 2023

YouTube and Golfenvoice have announced a multi-year renewal of their exclusive livestream and content partnership for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival, extending the relationship through to 2026.

Coachella 2023 marked the 11th year that music fans across the world could tune into Coachella exclusively on YouTube, and with an agreement in place to extend the partnership between festival and platform, it’s clear that the music festival’s global pull is widening.

The Coachella live stream had six feeds, double the amount of last year. YouTube also expanded its coverage of the event to its YouTube Shorts platform, which is vying to compete with TikTok in short term video content. 

The expansion of YouTube’s coverage comes as fellow technology giants like Amazon and Apple increasingly spend big to buy the rights to live entertainment events. Disney-owned Hulu, for example, partnered with Live Nation in 2022 to stream competing festivals.

Why are we seeing more live streaming of music events?

Coachella dominates the social media landscape year-on-year, and it’s no surprise. With the biggest stars in the world taking the stage, it’s not just those in attendance looking to immerse themselves in the performances. Live streaming enables viewers from anywhere in the world to tune into live performances. 

Coachella is one of the most notable moments in the musical calendar. What comes with that is an abundance of people who cannot access the festival itself. Live streaming helps to bridge that gap, bringing live performances to music fans everywhere. It also enables them to participate in the conversation, both live in YouTube’s in-stream chat and across wider social media. 

“Our partnership with YouTube brings Coachella to everyone around the world,” Says Goldenvocie President Paul Tollett. “The 2023 lineup sees performers from Brazil, France, Iceland, India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Spain, and beyond, and bringing international fans closer to their hometown artists is important to our team.”

For over a decade now, YouTube has been bringing legendary performances to life, allowing fans around the world to experience in real-time and relive on-demand.

Mobile Screen Displaying 'Only On Youtube'

The potential positive impacts of YouTube live streaming Coachella and other music events

Increased accessibility leads to increased artist awareness

By live streaming the live performances at Coachella and other live concerts, YouTube contributes to greater awareness for artists. For example, Hong Kong rapper Jackson Wang was shown to new global audiences on YouTube, and his followers had the opportunity to broaden their own music knowledge by tuning into the likes of Rosalia, Metro Boomin and more. This is the same for smaller artists looking to increase their fandom. Those performing on the festival’s smaller stages typically are subjected to the select audience that turn up to their set most of which are already fans of the artist. YouTube’s live streaming of live concerts opens the door to a much wider viewership, enabling smaller audiences to tap into new eyes and ears from around the world.

New revenue opportunities through advertisement

Live streaming creates a new stream of revenue for brands looking to target a major calendar event, such as Coachella. Typically, festivals like Coachella, Glastonbury and others are in-demand for advertisers and drive a hefty fee for those looking for ad placements in and around the festivities. Through YouTube, advertisers can target the same events and their respective audiences through mid-roll ads, at a much cheaper rate than traditional advertising. 

Ability to request higher fees for artists

In the social media era, musicians, bands and artists all have respective followings across multiple channels. Because of this, artists can demand a higher appearance fee for live concerts and festivals. In years gone by, the likes of Bowie, Prince and The Rolling Stones could only promise attendance at the arena or stadium they performed in. Now, The Weeknd, Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande can leverage their monumental social media followings to raise their fees, which also incentivises the likes of YouTube to stream such events due to the large pool of potential viewership tied to each performer. This isn’t just for the top performers either, smaller artists have the opportunity to accelerate their growth and generate more revenue by leveraging new media channels.

Data and analytics of audience presence and behavior (for future marketing and promotional strategies)

YouTube’s data and analytics tools enable organizers to measure peak viewership, concurrent viewers, key moments, and so much more. These metrics can be used to build future events that are better aligned with an audience’s interests and habits. With these tools, YouTube can help develop improved marketing strategies around live music events that are more personalized, optimized and seek to enhance the user experience.

Raising awareness through YouTube Shorts content

Each year, Coachella live streams its electrifying performances with fans worldwide. Going forward, YouTube will look to introduce more product integrations. These will include behind-the-scenes content on YouTube Shorts, as well as livestream and playlist integrations on YouTube and YouTube Music. Additionally, YouTube Shopping will offer exclusive merchandise drops, while YouTube Premium subscribers will enjoy exclusive content. 

Live Chat and on-site activations with YouTube Creators and Artists will also be available. These initiatives will provide even greater and more exclusive access for both fans experiencing the festival remotely and artists performing live at the event in 2023 and beyond.

The drawbacks to live streaming music events like Coachella

Decreased exclusivity

The draw for live concerts and festivals like Coachella is their exclusivity. We’ve all heard stories from aunties and uncles about something amazing they saw at a festival during their youth, and how you just HAD to be there. Well, you could argue that YouTube is killing that exclusivity, and perhaps everything that makes these events so unique and personalized. For those who have secured a ticket (at an astronomical price) and flown across the country (or world) to see their favorite artist perform might start to feel wronged if there are viewers at home who can tap into a similar experience for free. 

Though it is unlikely that YouTube livestreaming live music events will deter in-person attendees, it certainly does take away some of the exclusivity of these events.

Increased profits for YouTube, decreased profits for record labels

By live streaming major events like Coachella, YouTube seizes the opportunity to ramp up its revenue from advertisements. While this might not be an issue for the record labels representing the elite artists, it is a problem for the labels representing some of the up and coming acts. Faced with the prospect of YouTube eating into their revenue, smaller record labels and their talent could opt to seek out alternative opportunities.

So what is the overall impact of YouTube live streaming Coachella’s main stages and other live music events?

“Our shared passion for innovation and connecting artists with their fans throughout multiple formats is the foundation of this decade-plus partnership,” said Lyro Cohen, Global Head of Music at YouTube. “Coachella reminds us of what’s fun and special about YouTube and every year leaves us more inspired for the next.”

YouTube’s involvement in the Coachella festival, and other live music events, appears to be a wholly positive one. For fans who can’t make it to the event, it all happens live on YouTube, allowing millions of viewers to tune in from anywhere.

Well, what about authenticity?

Festival-goers could argue that the live streams take away from the overall benefit of attending in-person. I mean if YouTube is building its offering each year to better enhance the user experience of each stream then surely that will sway some opinions on whether to splash some cash or tune in for free at home.

Music events, Coachella specifically, have been subject to fake appearances from influencers. According to musician and TikToker Loren Gray, many influencers fake their Coachella experience, saying

“Coachella’s like the influencer Olympics, right? Most influencers, or a lot of influencers, don’t even go to Coachella,”

“Some of these influencers will just go out to Indio, California, the area where the music festival is held, and stay in an Airbnb.”

Gray explains that these influencers will dress up and get their makeup done and simply pose for Instagram photos without actually going to the festival. 

At the end of her ‘reveal-all’ TikTok video, Gray reminds her followers that they shouldn’t feel “sad” or have FOMO (fear of missing out) as many of the influencers who you follow aren’t even there.

With people online commenting on how they now feel better about not attending, what does this say about future live music events, especially now that YouTube is strengthening its live stream offering, and more people are seeing the value in streaming experiences?

Bad Bunny Live At Coachella Video On Youtube

What do we think?

While authenticity might be a cause for concern, there’s nothing that YouTube can do to prevent influencers from faking their attendance at live events. As for the exclusivity of such events, and whether live streams take away from the unique experience of an in-the-flesh experience, we don’t think so. While you can watch your favorite artist’s performance from the comfort of your homa, a YouTube livestream is far from replicating the same atmosphere that comes with a live, first-hand experience. 

YouTube live streaming Coachella is a complement to live music and all its beneficiaries. Artists gain a higher level of engagement, enabling them to scale a lot faster than in years gone by, the social conversation is stimulated by the millions tuning in online and fans from all over the world can tune in to key calendar moments, irrespective of their situation IRL. 

The rollout of these live streams also encourages festival-goers to create and engage with YouTube Shorts content, as the platform looks to increase its short-form video usage, ultimately looking to become the number one alternative to TikTok should the potential ban on the platform come into place. Find out more about Shorts in the takeouts from our recent event, TikTok vs YouTube Shorts

YouTube is an ever changing platform that is always evolving its product offerings. Goat has over 8 years experience running YouTube influencer marketing campaigns. To learn more, explore our website or get in touch.

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Written by: Rowan Byers

Insights Executive at The Goat Agency