So you’re a resident of Somewhereville, Missouri, and you’re really keen to take in some live tunes tonight. Sadly, the local concert halls are skint when it comes to performers. Well, friends, if you have a computer (and we’re assuming you do if you’re currently reading this), might we suggest tuning into YouTube and taking in The Switch, French website La Blogothèque‘s newest video offering?
The Switch is a live concert experience that merges two shows into one, allowing users to “switch” (get it?) between a pair of simultaneous gigs. Tonight, starting at 9 p.m., YouTube will broadcast performances from hip-hop artist Theophilus London and Louisiana-based band Givers, the inaugural episode of the new show.
The concept of streaming concerts live online, while by no means new (YouTube has streamed concerts from the likes of U2 back in 2009, as well as a ton of festivals), is certainly a hot one these days. From Jay-Z’s SXSW livestream to the proliferation of live show platforms like StageIt, it’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing down.
La Blogothèque, for its part, has been a mainstay for innovative performance videos since 2006, putting out more than 300 editions of its popular Take Away Shows series. The Switch will be its first foray into live broadcasting, with more shows slated for the upcoming months. We spoke with Christophe Abric, founder of La Blogothèque, who took a break from happily hyperventilating to fill us on in on how The Switch came to be.
Check out our Q&A below and keep it here for more details after tonight’s show (we’ll be attendance).
Hey! How are you?
[Laughs] Ahhh, it’s a lot of pressure, but…
A good day though?
Yeah! A good, important exciting day!
So can you tell me a little bit about how this YouTube integration came to be?
The story is kind of exciting — it’s all about serendipity. I have a friend who met somebody at Google who knew La Blogothèque and was on holidays in Paris. We had some drinks in Paris and talked about the Take Away shows and YouTube, and at the moment we said, ‘Whoa, it would be amazing to do La Blogothèque things live on YouTube.’ And they said, ‘Oh, yes! It should happen!’ It was nearly two years ago and we were like, ‘Crazy,’ not knowing it was really going to happen. Then we worked hard, and here you go! We’re been working hard with YouTube for six months on preparing all this. This is the kind of climax.
So cool that you were talking years ago! Didn’t they launch their live-streaming platform to partners last year?
Yeah, it was the time they were beginning to do that with Coachella and big events. What excites us for today is that usually what’s live-streamed on YouTube are huge events — like big festivals and all — and we are terribly excited at the idea of having a small show at a small flat broadcasted to a thousand people. That’s what we love. That’s the challenge and the exciting idea.
So how did you pick these first two artists?
The artists — the concept is kind of original, because it’s going to be the first time for YouTube, too: Where people are going to be able to switch between two shows happening at the same time. So since we have two shows at the same time, we wanted to have two complimentary shows — not to have two exact same shows. So we thought that we would have hip-hop music and indie on the other side. To have one that’s kind of smooth, the other one that’s kind of crazy. And so we went through a lot of names and Theophilus London, we knew that he was a great performer and entertainer, so he would be great at a live show like this. And Givers, we saw them in Paris a year ago and they were so energetic and so crazy, that we wanted to give it a try with them. We also like to help the bands we love, so we thought it would be exciting to have a small band, to help them get known.
So how will the production process differ from a Take Away show?
You cannot compare what we’re doing right now with Take Away shows, [they're more like] another series that we’re doing in France called ‘La Soirée de Poche,’ which are pocket parties. We’ve been doing apartment shows in Paris for the last two years, but we never made them live and we never made them two at the same time. So it’s kind of the same production process as the pocket parties we have in France, except a little more ambitious. We really tried to keep it homemade, DIY. Take Away shows, we always wanted to make something very simple. The pocket parties we had in France were much more ambitious.
The weird thing about this is we’re going to have to take care of two audiences at the same time — the people who are actually going to be at the show, because we want them to have the best party they’ve ever had, and the second one is the people on the Internet. That’s the big challenge.