Moshcam: Paul Hannigan Q&A

moshcam
by Denis Semchenko
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First of all, do you mind telling us a little about your background and current role at Moshcam, Paul?

I’ve come from a publishing and design background originally and moved into the online space in the 1990s as part of the founding management team for CitySearch Australia as Director of Content and Product Development. During that time, I was seconded to the CitySearch team in the United States to assist with their newspaper partnerships with The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post amongst others.

After that, I joined the startup management team at the pioneering search engine GoTo.com, which was rebranded Overture and acquired by Yahoo Search Marketing. When I returned to Australia, I wanted to marry my love of music with my experience in internet technology and Moshcam was the result. Along with two like-minded partners – John Reddin, whose background was broadcast TV and Elia Eliades, the owner of iconic Sydney live venues Enmore Theatre and The Metro – we conceived a way to bring all these great shows to a wider audience via the web.

My role at Moshcam is Chief of Product, and as with most startups that comes with many hats, including responsibility for technology, content, marketing and product development.

What steps does the process of streaming a live concert on the Moshcam website normally involve?

It’s a process that begins long before the show. Our Artist Relations team approaches an artist on our target list of acts we would like to film, many of whom have also been requested by fans. Once an artist agrees to the show being filmed, our pre-production planning begins. The size of the venue and the band itself will determine the scale of the production crew and camera coverage, but typically, we shoot with anything from four to seven cameras. We do a live edit of the show, which allows us to webcast live should we wish, but also captures a lot of the spontaneity of a live gig. Once we do any post-production cleanups, we send a copy of the recording to the band management for approval.

Once approved, the video is transcoded for all platforms and devices (web, mobile, IPTV etc) and uploaded to our Content Distribution Network, which allows the show to stream seamlessly regardless of where you may be on the planet. Our custom player allows us to match individual tracks played during the show to time codes giving users the option to jump to their favourite tracks without having to wait for video to load.

Moshcam are doing a stellar job of covering assorted ‘name’ gigs. Is there a possibility of covering big music festivals as well?

Cheers. And there certainly is. We’ve covered a couple of smaller festivals too, but we’re really itching to get into some of the larger ones. We have the infrastructure to livestream multiple stages and webcast to thousands of simultaneous viewers, so we’re talking to a number of promoters who have seen and been excited by the international success of webcasts like Coachella and Lollapalooza.

What’s your take on live performance streaming websites/channels like balcony.tv and Kondoot?

Above all else, I’m a music fan, so I love any initiative that brings musicians closer to their fans. I think both of those sites, and many others, are doing a terrific job, especially for emerging and local artists who understand the value of wider exposure.

How long did it take to accomplish the iPhone/iPad Moshcam app?

In some ways, the app was a surprisingly complex project, given that we had all the backend systems and architecture in place already for our web and IPTV offerings. But of course, it was never going to be a matter of simply porting from one platform to another. From beginning the project to the day the app went live in the store ended up being about 18 months.

Out of curiosity, how many people does Moshcam’s Australian office employ?

We have 12 full-time staff and contracted crews on standby as required in Sydney, London, Los Angeles and New York.

Do you have any favourite sets on Moshcam?

It’s hard to go past the recent Slash show in Sydney for the sheer spectacle of pure rock & roll extravaganza. Then again, my tastes are many and varied, so I’m as likely to kick back to our Baroness, Sia or Flogging Molly sets.

What are your dream artists to feature on Moshcam?

While we’re not really about filming most Top 40 pop arena acts, we’d definitely love to capture a number of great artists that are capable of filling those types of venues. On that level, some obvious ones are the likes of Radiohead and Muse. And while we’d love to film some critically acclaimed indie acts like, say, Wilco and The Shins, we’re equally keen to film great live hip hop and dance music, particularly on the festival circuit where it really goes off. From Azealia Banks to Plan B, there are some incredible live performers in that space right now. Regardless of genre, we just get really excited about emerging bands who put on a killer live show and whose music we want to champion. By far one of the most exciting aspects of doing this is to partner with the acts whose music we believe in and we want to expose to as wide an audience as possible.

Can you tell us of any exciting future plans or ongoing developments within Moshcam?

We’ve got some exciting distribution initiatives in play so you can look forward to more live webcasts, more festivals, and even more ways to enjoy live music across multiple channels and platforms such as your SmartTVs or mobile device. And as always, we’ve got some great gigs in the pipeline, so stay tuned!

Thanks Paul!

by Denis Semchenko
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