Livestreaming Cultural Events: How to Engage and Grow Your Community

For the past 30 years, Jazz at Lincoln Center has entertained millions with performances from jazz heavyweights such as Wynton Marsalis, Cecile McLorin Salvant and Joey Alexander. But there’s also another notable achievement – it’s now into its fifth consecutive year of successfully livestreaming cultural events with Livestream.

In 2017 alone, over 4 million tuned in from around the world to watch live broadcasts of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s concerts.

As a cultural institution, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s mission is to entertain, enrich, and expand a global community for jazz through performance, education, and advocacy. Simply put, its focus is on creating shared experiences and common ground among jazz lovers.

Creating Shared Experiences by Livestreaming Cultural Events

“[Since 2012], we have grown a dedicated global audience for jazz through the platform,” says Aaron Bisman, the venue’s Director of Audience Development. “Livestream has strengthened Jazz at Lincoln Center’s brand by helping us connect with people all over the world.”

Livestreaming cultural events has served as an outreach tool for Jazz at Lincoln Center. “We have viewers from all over the world in real time. When you open yourself up to digital opportunities, such as livestreaming, you can speak to an exponentially larger audience. Why wouldn’t you make your art, music, and content available to the widest audience possible? It’s a no-brainer,” says Bisman. Since adding Facebook Live to its livestreaming strategy, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s total live views have increased 818% year-over-year.

While some venue organizers fear that livestreaming performances could cannibalize in-person attendance, Jazz at Lincoln Center believes those views have been disproved. “We’re four years into presenting free concert livestreams and our ticket sales have only increased during that time,” Bisman shares.

Reaching a Global Audience by Livestreaming Cultural Events

Located at the corner of 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue, 92nd Street Y’s audience extends far beyond its neighborhood and the city of New York.

“We are not just for a New York audience, so live video fits in perfectly,” says Andrew Krucoff, Director of Digital Content at 92nd Street Y. “The programs that we do are for a worldwide audience.” The institution has been broadcasting its events with Livestream since 2012.

Established in 1874, 92nd Street Y is a Jewish cultural institution and community center that brings people together through performance and visual arts, literature and culture, and education. Each year, the organization holds over 2,000 events in New York, including its high holiday services, special conferences like the Social Good Summit and The Fast Company Innovation Festival.

As part of its livestreaming strategy to reach a global audience, the organization broadcasts events to its Livestream account, 92Yondemand.org, Facebook page, as well as Periscope.

The ability to stream to multiple platforms simultaneously – specifically Facebook Live – has yielded impressive results for the institution. A recent livestream of CBS Sunday Morning to the show’s homepage and Facebook page recorded a total of 39,000 views, 1,300 reactions, 835 comments, and 129 shares.

“Being able to stream directly to Facebook is huge. Facebook is such a beast in the world. You need your content there. It allows us to collaborate with other organizations,” says Krucoff.

Connecting the Community by Livestreaming Cultural Events

Another institution successfully engaging its community by livestreaming cultural events is PowWows.com. A customer of Livestream since 2012, the organization seeks to bring together the Native American and indigenous community by demonstrating the diversity of cultures through dance and song events.

Since its first powwow livestream in Oklahoma City in 2004, PowWows.com has seen exponential growth in its viewership, from “a couple thousand viewers” to over 1.9 million views in 2017. Similar to 92nd Street Y, it is also seeing the results of its ability to stream to its Livestream account and Facebook Live simultaneously. In 2017, PowWows.com received over 2.2 million live views of its events, with the majority coming from Facebook Live.

Its live video strategy is underpinned by its goal to engage the community. “We like to stream because it builds our community, gives great engagement, and helps people feel connected to their culture,” says Paul Gowder, CEO of PowWows.com, adding that livestreaming is “the ultimate connectivity tool.”

Livestreaming gives followers real-time access to events, in turn creating more authentic engagement. “It’s not just in history books. People can interact with our culture and see it firsthand.” For that reason, Gowder believes all cultural institutions should be investing in live video.

“It’s important to educate the public on a culture,” says Gowder. “Exposing more people to a culture helps bridge the gaps. No more hiding behind things or not understanding it. You can dispel myths with livestreaming. You can see it, you can watch it.”


You can learn more about livestreaming cultural events and growing your community from our full webinar. Watch the video below to learn:

  • Why livestreaming is key to your event’s audience growth strategy.
  • How to grow your audience by streaming to multiple destinations.
  • Best practices from 92nd Street Y, PowWows.com and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

This Week on Livestream | November 13, 2017

Watch live as Canon sponsors a flash photography seminar, Livestream Learn hosts a Livestreaming for Education Webinar and Q&A, and Paul Simon joins biologist and conservationist E.O. Wilson at 92nd Street Y.


Podcast Mixtape: WNYC Studios Presents Black Folks | The Greene Space
Monday, November 13
7 PM ET
“On the show: Eve Ewing, writer and sociologist of race and education, singer-songwriter Madison McFerrin, The New Yorker‘s Alexis Okeowo, Jay Smooth, host of the Ill Doctrine videoblog, and filmmaker/performance artist Jamal Lewis.”

Read Aloud: 2017 National Book Awards Teen Press Conference | 92nd Street Y
Tuesday, November 14
10:30 AM ET
“The National Book Awards Teen Press Conference brings the excitement of the most prestigious literary award in the country to New York City’s middle and high school students.”

John Banville | Mrs. Osmond | Author Events
Tuesday, November 14
7:30 PM ET
“In Mrs. Osmond, John Banville broadens the story of the titular heroine of Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady into intense, subtle, thrilling new realms.”

Flash Photography for the Beginner, Sponsored by Canon | bheventspace
Wednesday, November 15
1 PM ET
“Confused about flash photography? You’re not alone! These small flash units are some of the most versatile tools a photographer can have at their fingertips yet many people stay clear of them because of the misunderstanding of how they work or how Speedlites can improve the look of their photography.”

Livestreaming for Education: Live Q&A With Harvard-Westlake School | Livestream Learn
Wednesday, November 15
1:30 PM ET
“Harvard-Westlake High School’s live sports broadcasts outpace those of most colleges or even professional leagues. Learn how this school has used live video to reach their community and grow donations.”

The Business of Curves | The Fashion Institute of Technology
Wednesday, November 15
6 PM ET
“This groundbreaking event will highlight the extraordinary growth and expansion of the plus-size fashion marketplace.”

JLCO Family Concert: Who is Benny Goodman? | Jazz at Lincoln Center
Friday, November 17
4:30 PM ET
“Through live musical performances and entertaining storytelling, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will share Benny Goodman’s joyful music and inspiring story.”

E.O. Wilson and Paul Simon in Conversation: Life, Creativity and the Future of the Planet | 92nd Street Y
Sunday, November 19
3 PM ET
“Famed biologist and conservationist E. O. Wilson is joined by his friend, legendary musician/songwriter Paul Simon, for a wide-ranging conversation about life on Earth, the intersection of science, humanities and the arts, and his newest work, The Origins of Creativity.”