by Jon Swartz, USA TODAY
SAN FRANCISCO -- U2's tech-rich tour keeps getting richer and richer.
The legendary rock band, which christened its U.S. tour in San Jose, Calif., last month with a high-tech spectacle of immersive video and sound, has partnered with Meerkat to live stream in each show.
The streams are distributed on Twitter and Facebook, as well as displayed at the venue.
The arrangement started during shows in Phoenix and Los Angeles, and has continued.
The live-streaming experience, filmed by a fan onstage with the band, is projected on a gigantic oblong screen at the show and is available to anyone who uses the Meerkat app.
"U2 has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to technology," said Ben Rubin, CEO of Meerkat. "Integrating Meerkat into their tour made perfect sense."
U2, which premiered the first song The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) from its new CD during the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch announcements in Cupertino, Calif., last September, tested the app during two shows in San Jose.
The arrangement is crucial to Meerkat, which launched to much acclaim at the South By Southwest show in Austin in March, only to be upstaged later by the release of Twitter's Periscope app, a rival service.
If Meerkat's experiment with U2 is successful, it could lead to streaming of more shows, sporting events and other live events. Already, bands such as One Republic, Rascal Flatts and Questlove are "Meerkat-ing" themselves on tour.
Meerkat and Periscope grabbed the attention of boxing fans -- not to mention cable providers HBO and Showtime -- when thousands circumvented the $100 pay-per-view fee and watched the Roger Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight for free on the online video apps.
HBO and Showtime, which handled the pay-per-view delivery on TV and the Web, had taken legal action in advance against some websites that promised to legally show the fight.
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