At the heart of Jazz at Lincoln Center's mission is the goal of expanding a global community for jazz, one of America's unique, original art forms. Beginning in 2012, Jazz at Lincoln Center embarked on a mission to utilize the nascent technology of streaming video, coupled with social media, to build an entirely new audience for jazz and for the organization. Investing in a professional, multi-cam setup for each of our three stages, as well as dedicated audio mixing engineers and staff positions dedicated to managing livestreams, we began sharing the majority of our concerts online, completely free, and in real-time.
In doing so, we became the first major performing arts organization to stream virtually every concert it stages at no cost to viewers.
Last year, when Facebook opened its Live platform to more third party partners, we began simultaneously broadcasting via Facebook Live, bringing the swinging art of jazz to even wider audiences.
Our lives do not only take place in the physical world; why should our experiences with art and culture? Digital experiences also dramatically expand access to the arts, bringing these experiences into free and easily accessible frameworks with significantly lower barriers to entry.
Our strategy remains simple: bring jazz to the global community by broadcasting for free and in exceptional quality.
Broadcasting in the Highest Quality
From the start, we wanted to present our concerts and the artists onstage in the best quality possible.
JALC utilizes the latest audio and video technology to create our high definition, multi-camera webcasts. Each production is assigned one camera operator, one robotic camera operator, and a director. Most productions utilize seven or eight cameras placed on stage and throughout the venues to give the viewer the best access to the musicians. We have cultivated a video crew that is fluent in the language of jazz and the results speak for themselves. Additionally, each webcast is assigned a recording engineer who mixes the concert live, specifically for our at-home audience. This engineer also creates a multi-track recording of every concert at JALC for our archives.
Breaking Down Barriers to Experiencing Art
By broadcasting live simultaneously on Livestream and on Facebook Live, we make it easy for jazz fans around the world, regardless of financial ability or location, to enjoy Jazz at Lincoln Center's rich concert experiences.
Reminding Fans Across Channels
Pre-scheduled reminders with links to tune-in on Twitter and Instagram let fans know that a concert webcast has just begun, helping us build excitement and reach more fans online.
Maintaining the Integrity of Live Performance
The magic of a live performance comes from being surrounded by fellow music lovers and experiencing the magic and mood created by the performers. We aim to recreate that experience with our livestream audience, having them virtually gather to view the concert in real-time only, with the capability to chat with us (and our technicians) as well as each other.
This model also allows us as an organization to protect the rights of the artists and their music. We hide each webcast video out of respect for the rights of artists performing on our stages and the holders of rights to music performed.
Since the beginning our free webcast initiative, Jazz at Lincoln Center has broadcast more than 1,000 concerts across the globe, reaching virtually every country on Earth, an unprecedented success and a first for a major performing arts organization. In conjunction with its webcasting initiative, Jazz at Lincoln Center also set out to grow the online audience it engages with directly.
Between 2013 and 2015, that audience grew from 200,000 to 1,000,000 and now stands at 1.5 million across social media platforms, email lists, and monthly unique web visitors. Simultaneously, the organization has dramatically increased the number of donors supporting the organization, and launched additional advocacy initiatives including Blue Engine Records, a full-service record label, and Jazz Night in America, a radio and video program produced in collaboration with WBGO and NPR Music.
While we had great success with streaming our concerts on Livestream, nothing could prepare us for the number of views we would get when we began publishing on Facebook Live. Over the course of four years of publishing on Livestream, we accumulated over 2,320,000 video views. But in just 10 months of publishing on Facebook Live, we've achieved over 4,390,000 views.
Facebook Live has helped us get closer to our mission-based goal of sharing jazz music with the world. Every Live video is filled with comments like "Thank you from Argentina" and "Watching from the UAE" and "Enjoying this from Portugal! Thank you."