Jim Carroll: Meerkat and Periscope aren’t new ideas; but they work smoothly so they might as well be

The beauty of the new arrivals is that they pass the easy, foolproof tests. The heavy lifting has been done and the tech is ready for mass market

 

The great thing about technology is that it eventually catches up with our imagination. Back at the dawn of time (ie the late 1990s), I remember many meetings where the “wouldn’t it be great if . . . ” conversation revolved around the possibilities of online music broadcasts.

Back then, as the people at the meetings with the technical know-how pointed out, the technology was just not there for what we now know as streaming. It took about a decade for the tech to come to fruition and enable simple, foolproof music streams to be available at our fingertips.

When the tech does catch up, the possibilities are endless. At many gigs during SXSW, there were folks pointing their phones at the stage, but these fans weren’t taking selfies in many cases: the Meerkat app was running and they were streaming the show to whoever was watching online.

You can be sure a massive number of live music shows will begin to turn up on Meerkat or its rival Periscope service. The apps work and, even more importantly, the video and audio quality of most phones are now a hell of a lot better than they used to be.

Cue another series of debates and discussions about whether this is a good or a bad thing for the music sector. Because it’s the music business, where cash is king, there will also be a rake of pieces about how acts, labels and assorted interested parties can make money out of it.

Then, there’ll be the inevitable enhancements, improvements and me-too apps. Someone is probably working on an app to aggregate live different Meerkat streams from the same show – or if they’re not, they should be.

Of course, there will also be a rehash of the various observations and articles that accompanied previous live streaming iterations such as Chat Roulette. The first Meerkat sex tape scandal can only be weeks away. But those discussions can wait. Right now, the fact that technology exists whereby someone can point their phone at a band onstage and broadcast what’s happening is something to behold.

Yes, it’s not the first. There has been plenty of online nostalgia about Qik and Ustream on the back of Meerkat mania, but the beauty of the new arrivals is they pass the easy, simple and foolproof tests. The heavy lifting has been done and the tech is ready for the mass market. When it comes to the mass market, you’ll need to make like Apple. There were many music players, digital music stores and smartphones in operation before the iPod, iTunes and iPhone, but it took Apple’s plug-and-play ease of use to convince the public to jump in.

No one is saying Meerkat or Periscope are flawless, but they’re easier to use than anything that has been around before. Video streaming just got a whole lot more interesting – and it’s way better than watching another Vine.

ART_WEB

YOU’VE GOT TO HEAR THIS

Art Blakey - Holiday for Skins
(Blue Note)

Brilliant series of hypnotic and joyously rhythmic Afro and Latin experimentations recorded one night in 1958 by Blakey and his superb ensemble, including Philly Joe Jones, Art Taylor, Ray Barretto, Sabú Martinez, Victor Gonzalez, Donald Byrd and Ray Bryant.

ETC

The man responsible for one of the five-star album releases of 2015 is due to play Dublin. Archie Fairhurst goes by the name of Romare and his album Projections is a rich symphony of sounds stitched into dazzling canvases. He supports DJ Koze at District 8 Saturday night.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.