U2 gig takes first full-length trip through YouTube's wires


AN ESTIMATED seven million people watched U2’s latest gig online in what was the first time a major international act streamed an entire concert on video-sharing website YouTube.

While their concert was viewed by 96,000 fans at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California, close to seven million more tuned in to the live streaming, according to early indications, a YouTube representative said last night.

Fans from 16 countries, including Australia, Brazil, India, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand and Japan, were able to see the concert as it happened. Bono said: “Thank you Los Angeles . . . Thanks to everyone watching on YouTube all over the world – seven continents,” as he took to the stage.

The concert, broadcast yesterday at 3.30am Irish time, was part of the website’s ongoing attempt to boost advertising revenue by moving beyond hosting short video clips into streaming full-length films, television programmes and concerts.

While YouTube, owned by Google, has hosted a growing number of live broadcasts over the last 12 months, most notably when Will.i.am and Katy Perry headlined one of its YouTube Live shows, this was the first time it had streamed a full concert by a major act.

The website has also started streaming Hollywood films to US users and will offer a catch-up service for Channel 4 programming from early in 2010.

The live streaming announcement was posted last week on YouTube. U2 manager Paul McGuinness said it was something the band had wanted to do for a long time.

The concert, U2’s penultimate show on the 360 Degreestour, attracted the biggest crowd in the Rose Bowl’s history. The band will play their final concert of the year in Vancouver, Canada, tomorrow.