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What Do Muzak and the Grammy’s of 2010 have in Common?

history of video streamingSome historians say that live streaming can be traced back as far as the early 1920’s. That’s when George O. Squier received a patent for using electrical lines, rather than radio, to transmit and distribute signals. This technology became the basis for Muzak, later known as elevator music.

Initially music was only transmitted to residences with the proliferation of radios in the homes. Then Muzak became a service offered to commercial properties such as office buildings, dental surgeries, shopping centres and of course elevators.

Video transmission has been discussed since the early development of computers, but it wasn’t until the costs decreased and bandwidth increased that it was possible to transmit video on the Internet. As the Internet matured, high bandwidth broadband technology and the speed of personal computers evolved, thus making video streaming possible.

Who Started It All?

Here are some key events leading up to the development of live streaming as we know it today.

In the early 1960s, the formation of the Internet began. Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider was the first to verbalise the idea of a global network that connected computers from around the world and would allow anyone the opportunity to get information and programs from anywhere.

At the time Licklider worked in the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency under the United States Department of Defence. Shortly after he spoke of his vision, DARPA began to connect individual computers allowing them to communicate with each other. This formed the foundation for the Internet.

In the early 1990s, a British computer scientist named Sir Tim Berners Lee created the first Web Server, Browser and Web pages, which ultimately resulted in what we now call the World Wide Web.

During a proof of concept trial, a rock band known as Severe Tire Damage made history on June 24, 1993 by becoming the first live streaming video event over the Internet. Live video streaming was born, and remains a valuable asset to the entertainment industry as well as the entire business community today.

Streaming soundtracks over the Internet came along in 1995, as did the Internet audio broadcast of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners.

The use of video streaming continued to explode over the next several years. According to Streaming Media Magazine, in 2010, The Recording Academy (TRA) drew an audience of 3.8 million fans to watch the Grammy webcast. They combined live streaming with other forms of social media and created a powerful world media event that took place over 3 days.

And in 2012, BBC streamed the London Olympics, breaking records for the most viewed events. Over the course of the games, BBC saw over 106 million requests from all online platforms.

So from the creation of Muzak in 1920 to the extravaganza of the Grammys in 2010, and worldwide frenzy of the London Olympics in 2012, live streaming has propelled its way to the top of the list of impactful media. Marketers everywhere are choosing it to grow businesses, promote events, inform customers, and expand their reach in this ever-changing world of technology.

If you are interested in learning more about using live streaming for your business or event, contact us or click here for more information.

Oliver Burt

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