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YouTube Debuts Live 360-Degree Videos, To Launch Coachella Virtual Experience Next Weekend

YouTube is adding the ability to live-stream 360-degree video, and will present performances from next weekend’s Coachella music festival in the format to bring fans even closer to the experience of being there.

YouTube live-streamed Coachella 2016’s opening weekend April 15-17, the sixth year it has presented the event free online on the festival’s YouTube page.

“After years of live-streaming Coachella for fans around the world who can’t attend the festival, this year we’re bringing you the concert like never before by live streaming the festival in 360 degrees with select artist performances,” YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan wrote in a blog announcing the new features.

Guns N’ Roses, LCD Soundsystem and Calvin Harris are the headliners scheduled to appear again over the music fest’s second weekend, April 22-24, in Indio, Calif.

In addition to support to broadcast 360-degree videos live, YouTube is adding the ability to use spatial audio, which will provide different depth, distance and intensity of sound to replicate the in-person experience. The music-video service said it’s been working with companies including VideoStitch and Two Big Ears to make their software compatible with 360-degree live streams and spatial audio on YouTube.

YouTube first launched support for 360-degree videos in March 2015, and Facebook followed suit last fall. “What excites me most about 360-degree storytelling is that it lets us open up the world’s experiences to everyone,” Mohan wrote. “What were once limited experiences are now available to anyone, anywhere, at any time.”

To explore a 360-degree video on YouTube, viewers use their mouse cursor on a desktop or their finger on a mobile device to scroll around the scene.

YouTube’s 360-degree videos work with the Google Cardboard virtual-reality accessory, but not VR headsets like Samsung Gear VR or Oculus Rift. The company said it will make 360-degree live streaming and spatial-audio technologies available at all YouTube Space locations worldwide to let creators try them out.

Over the first weekend, Coachella’s YouTube channel posted several 360 videos, including a look inside the Yuma tent:

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