StreamJam Launches As StageIt & backBEAT Competitor
[Updated] StreamJam announced their launch out of beta this week and I checked out a concert to see how their platform for streaming and monetizing live performances worked. Though I like many aspects of their overall concept, I found the interface overly busy and confusing which makes me feel it just doesn't stand up to the competition at this stage.
StreamJam first launched in beta a year ago and they have been developing the product every since. The basic site concept involves using live video streaming services such as Justin.tv, Ustream or Livestream to broadcast live concerts on StreamJam that can be monetized through ticket sales and virtual goods.
I checked out a concert by Jordan Reyne who is an excellent performer with a great sense of humor but I found that the user interface actually got in the way of enjoying her show.
StreamJam is playing with some ideas that are different from other services including having avatars for viewers, somewhat like Turntable.fm, though one has multiple options to move and to interact with other avatars while at the show. I think that's a really strong idea that clearly differentiates them but I found it difficult to change the location of my avatar despite having all sorts of little tips for other things I could do popping up during the initial time I was on the site.
I also couldn't find a control to change the size of the streaming video window. I only had an option to look at a window that was too small or to go full-screen and I really wanted something in between.
There were all sorts of other little options crowding the screen and maybe I just missed something but, given that I was reviewing the site, I checked every last thing more than once and also looked at the help material and couldn't find what I wanted. So the options I wanted either weren't there or the user interface had even more problems than I found.
[Update: It turns out that I missed an intro video that would have explained that you can move the avatar using your keyboard arrows and that moving the avatar forward makes the image bigger. That sounds workable and in keeping with the overall design but I think separating such key information from the spot where it would be used when so much else is given still points to issues with the UX. Of course, some folks will watch the video and others will figure it out on their own but, if you want to reach everybody you can, it's better to avoid the potential for confusion.]
At this stage I am still a bigger fan of StageIt, which I reviewed and liked quite a bit, and would also recommend checking out backBEAT, which I wrote about but did not review, though the design elements I've seen look nice and keep it reasonably simple. However, StreamJam obviously has the potential to strongly differentiate itself moving forward and is worth keeping an eye on if you're interested in monetizing live shows online.
Note: StreamJam is publicizing their launch with a contest for a spot at CMJ 2011. Find out more here.
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. He is currently relaunching Flux Research to pursue his long-standing obsession with web business models. To suggest music services and related topics for review at Hypebot, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.