Watching U2 Live on YouTube

YouTube is striking closer and closer to having a live-streaming offering of its own, experimenting tonight with a live stream of a U2 concert. The stream started at 8:30 PT with crowd shots and a skit where The Edge says the concert is going out to “millions or maybe even billions of eyeballs watching us on TV” and Bono explains that it’s actually online. “It’s YouTube — it’s on Google — it’s very big.” The actual music kicked off at 9, probably too late for the event to be the global phenomenon that it could have been. As for this watcher on the West Coast, I’ve been getting a mostly 500 Kbps stream coming in fairly consistently for the last hour and a half.

From what we know, the stream is being powered by Accenture’s Origin Digital using Inlet Technologies on Akamai’s CDN, though YouTube hasn’t confirmed the logistics. Akamai’s public stats are showing a bunch of live streams right now (though there were more at the beginning of the broadcast), but nothing approaching the level of the Obama Inauguration. The stream looks good and is playing quite consistently for me, with nary an ad or sponsor shoutout other than a link to donate to (RED). The Twitter integration seems a little funky, but both “#u2webcast” and “Watching U2” are trending on the site.

Here’s a photo gallery with shots and comments from the stream.