When you get an invitation to a Boiler Room show, the directions usually sound something like this: make a right turn at the pot hole, make a left at the abandoned FedEx truck, and crawl under three fences until you see the rusty door on the side of the warehouse. The music platform hosts live events and DJ sets in cities around the world — Barcelona, London, Tel Aviv — from artists like Black Milk and Hudson Mohawke, but the shows are (intentionally) tough to get into. That’s why one of the foundations of Boiler Room is live streaming: anyone can watch the events online as they happen, or later in the site’s archives.
That conceit doesn’t change much with Twitch’s just-launched Boiler Room channel, but the stakes are a little bit higher. Boiler Room gets a bigger audience while Twitch gets to ramp up its musical aspirations with a co-sign from a collective known for attracting hordes of cool kids to exclusive private events. The new Twitch channel will broadcast live and archival Boiler Room footage around the clock. It’s not clear how much of an overlap will exist between the streams on Boiler Room’s own website and its Twitch channel, or if new offerings will be curated specifically for Twitch.
This isn’t the game streaming platform’s first foray into the music world. Earlier this year, Twitch launched the Twitch Music Library, which collects songs that are cleared for use in live video. In February, Skrillex and Diplo used Beatport’s Twitch channel to live stream a 24-hour DJ set, and in March the giant EDM fest Ultra Music Festival streamed its performances exclusively on Twitch.
But unlike Skrillex, Diplo, and the big-name acts at Ultra, most of the artists who team up with Boiler Room are popular in niche subsets of the electronic music world. They’re the DJs that DJs listen to, not bonafide stadium-fillers that even casual fans would recognize on the street. Despite garnering a sizable following since its launch in 2010, Boiler Room is still very much underground — and now Twitch is bringing it a little closer to the surface.