What has happened to livestreaming?

I enjoy livestreaming, I really do. I also used to enjoy watching livestreams, but I don’t watch many any more….. why is that you ask? Well first up – I’m not a twitch fan, the platform is pretty poor, suffers from loads of problems and well, they have the money and servers to do a better job. So then how about youtube? Well YT has switched its emphasis to more of the Tik Tok style shorts and pushing content that makes it more money, rather than livestreaming which just doesn’t make money at all and is expensive, so a bit like Twitch, YT knows that there is less money about and wants to keep going. The final nail in the coffin for me really though is that the livestreams I want to watch aren’t gaming streams or other things but music – and that has well… it has stayed exactly the same and not moved forward at all. Bring in that AI is making a mockery of the arts and well, you get it, livestreams are literally fading away for a lot of people and platforms. When you think that a lot of people have the means to watch a livestream now in high quality, minimum of 1080p and their internet is capable of streams of high bandwidth – why are music and games livestreams stuck at low bitrates and 1080p maximum?
Well there are a few reasons for this, the main one being cost. To have a bunch of servers that can accept higher quality streams costs money – both in hardware and software. When most streams still don’t have a guarantee of income – well you can easily see what the issue is here. Throw in that AI issue and well – why *should* you splash out on equipment and servers when a lot of people aren’t really fussed on going above the quality that is out there. Of course – people would be more bothered if a stream failed if they paid for it, but that is a real chicken and egg conundrum as most people won’t pay as livestreams have mainly been free, so if they haven’t paid then if it goes wrong nobody needs refunds or any arguments. The simple fact is also that beyond a few platforms, livestreaming has again struggled. The experience both of going live and watching a live stream has for a lot of people got worse not better. As youtube focuses away from livestreaming, the easiest way for a broad audience to watch is taken away just like that. Youtube *should* be the best platform, it has the highest quality, supports things like surround sound, 4k, high bitrates, decent encoding formats (Twitch still stuck in the 2010’s here) and many apps/tvs and content platforms easily support youtube, so why are they moving away from the livestreams side. Again. pure and simple it’s the cash situation. 2024 has seen a massive drop in income for many platforms and of course Youtube has felt the pinch. Sad to say but soon, unless things change, livestreaming will become a niche thing again with low audiences and poor quality streams. Of course it isn’t just livestreaming suffering, plenty of small content creators on youtube are quitting as the figures just don’t add up any more and youtube pushed the content that gets them money – usually through ads. The days of making a living from youtube seem to be dwindling again – that bubble has been and gone and popped I’m afraid – and for livestreaming it seems this is true across the other platforms too.

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