Owing to the late hour that it took place, the impact of Beyonce’s mind-blowing performance at Coachella Saturday night was a bit diffuse — it ended after 4 a.m. East Coast time, although YouTube re-aired the show on its livestream Sunday afternoon and viewers were able to scroll back and watch it in its entirety. But once that stream timed out, it was gone, except for brief segments of the official livestream in news reports and lots of wobbly fan-shot footage (and a few sites that illegally archived the livestream and have managed to elude Beyonce’s web police, probably not for long).
So how can anyone who missed the livestream watch it now, at least legally? Well, apparently, you can’t.
“It was a one-time livestream,” a rep for the singer tells Variety. “Unfortunately the livestream is not available on demand,” a rep for YouTube says, noting that certain on-demand clips from other artists — not Beyonce — are available for a 60-day window. No further details were provided, although that policy is in line with Coachella’s standard procedure since YouTube began livestreaming the festival in 2011.
Beyonce will perform again at the two-weekend festival this coming Saturday, but Coachella only streams its first weekend. Chances are her performance last weekend added at least two or three zeroes to the secondary-market price for tickets to the sold-out festival.
Not surprisingly, this year’s livestream drew the biggest audience in its history, with more than 41 million live views — and during Beyonce’s performance there were 458,000 simultaneous global viewers, making it the most viewed Coachella performance as well as the most viewed live music festival on YouTube, according to a rep.
It seems impossible that such a world-beating, meaning-laden, meticulously planned and executed — not to mention completely f—ing awesome — performance could just vanish into the ether, existing only in the memories of those who saw it before the livestream expired, but that’s at least the official word at the moment.
However, if we were to take bets on this, we’d say one possible outcome would be: Allowing anticipation and exasperation to build throughout this week leading up to her Saturday performance — and then an announcement that the stream will be exclusively available on Tidal, the streaming service owned by Beyonce’s husband Jay-Z and in which she is a principal. While many other outcomes are certainly possible — maybe involving YouTube’s still-under-development subscription service? — Tidal seems a likely bet, considering that Beyonce was willing to forsake untold millions of dollars in streaming income making her “Lemonade” album a Tidal streaming exclusive “forever,” according to a statement around the time of its 2016 release.
In the meantime, get it where and while you can.