YouTube is expanding its free live stream coverage of the Coachella music festival – which takes place later this month – while offering Premium subscribers a chance to take a peek backstage as artists prepare for their sets, among other new features.
For the first time, YouTube will live-stream all the stages at the iconic music festival, with six live streams running on both weekends. That’s double the number of last year’s live streams.
The Alphabet-owned video streaming service is also bringing back a feature it launched at last year’s Coachella – integration with YouTube Shopping, which allows viewers to buy exclusive merchandise during Livestream performances.
Viewers will be able to click a link on their phone or scan a QR code on their TV, during artist performances to buy merchandise from the artist being streamed. This year, fans will be able to pick up merch from Bad Bunny, Calvin Harris, Gorillaz, Ethel Cain, Fisher, Porter Robinson, YUNGBLUD and others.
“Part of the fun of going to a show is the chance to buy a keepsake that reminds you of the music, the experience, and the moment in time,” YouTube said in a statement published on its blog.
“We don’t want anyone to miss out on that opportunity so this year we’re partnering with Coachella to drop exclusive merch from over a dozen artists.”
YouTube Premium subscribers will be able to see artists preparing backstage ahead of their performances, in what YouTube is calling “Premium Pre-Parties.”
The video site is also emphasizing its YouTube Shorts features at this year’s event, selling it as an opportunity for fans to interact with artists. Through YouTube shorts, fans will be able to help build set lists for Calvin Harris, Becky G and Burna Boy.
“Shorts is also the place where fans can expect to see exclusive content from artists and creators like Alan Chikin Chow, Lexi Hensler, BENOFTHEWEEK, Amelia DiMoldenberg of Chicken Shop Date, Taylor Red TV, The Scotts, Nicole Laeno, Adam W and VIVACIOUSHONEY, amongst others,” YouTube said.
The social video giant has been aggressively promoting YouTube Shorts – videos under 60 seconds in length – in what analysts say is an attempt to keep up with TikTok, the world’s fastest-growing social media app in recent years.
This past January, it announced a new multi-year deal with Coachella promoter Goldenvoice, which will see YouTube continue to stream the music festival through 2026. This year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival takes place on the weekends of April 14-16 and April 21-23.
Friday shows will be headlined by Bad Bunny. Saturday shows will be headlined by BLACKPINK – the first time a K-Pop band will be a headline act at Coachella – while Frank Ocean will headline on Sundays. Coachella first launched in 1999, garnering 37,000 attendees in its debut year. It has since grown to be one of the largest music festivals in the U.S., with around 250,000 attendees annually.
YouTube first began streaming Coachella in 2011. The streams are free to view, with YouTube monetizing them through livestream sponsors. This year, for U.S. audiences those sponsors will be Fast X, NYX Professional Makeup and Verizon on the first weekend, and Dove Shower Collection and Tic Tac on the second weekend.