Who exactly is YouTube’s multicam Coachella stream for?

When you apply sports logic to a music festival.


YouTube is hyping its exclusive Coachella streaming coverage, which starts next week. The headlining feature is the platform’s multiview experience (already familiar to sports fans) for the two-weekend festival. Our question from this announcement is, who wants to watch several different artists’ sets at the same time — when you can only listen to one?

The multiview experience will let you watch up to four stages simultaneously, letting you pick which one to hear: exactly how multiview works for March Madness, NFL games or any other sporting event. Here’s how YouTube pitches the feature: “Two of your favorite bands playing on different stages at the same time? No problem, multiview will have you and your friends covered to catch both sets at the same time via the YouTube app on TV at no additional cost.”

Maybe I’m of the wrong generation and have too long of an attention span, but who wants to watch an artist’s set without hearing it? That’s what will happen to the three stages you aren’t listening to. Wouldn’t it be better to... watch the one you’re hearing? And then catch up on the others on-demand when you can listen to them as well?

Sports multiview makes sense because there are scores to track and timeouts, halftimes and blowouts to divert your attention to another game. You don’t need to hear an NBA game to keep an eye on the ball. (Depending on the commentators, you may prefer not to listen to it.) It’s primarily a visual experience; the audio is secondary.

But music, even when played live with all the light shows, fog machines and dancing accompanying it, is still an auditory experience first and foremost. If multiple artists you like play at once, you still can’t (and wouldn’t want to) hear more than one simultaneously. In YouTube’s multiview, you pick one stage to hear and the rest to… watch them sing and dance on mute in a little box alongside two other muted performances. Yay?

It sounds like a solution looking for a problem — YouTube applying its existing tech (which, to be fair, works very well with sports) to a music festival. Never mind that it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Perplexed rants aside, YouTube will have six livestream feeds to bounce between (but, again, only four at once in multiview). That includes Sonora for the first weekend and Yuma for the second. This year’s headliners include Lana Del Rey, Doja Cat, No Doubt and Tyler, the Creator.

Between sets, YouTube will stream “special editorial content” from the artists onsite. Each day after the night’s final set, YouTube’s Coachella channel will repeat that day’s sets until the livestream returns the next day. That sounds like a better way to catch up on the sets you didn’t see live.

The event takes place in Indio, California, about 130 miles east of LA, from April 12 to 14 and April 19 to 21. You can tune in on YouTube’s Coachella channel.