Livestreaming exploded in popularity in 2020 from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and it has continued to grow tremendously fast.

A top creator on the most popular livestreaming platform iBai Llanos Geratea just broke one of the most coveted records in the industry, reaching the highest concurrent viewer count ever seen on the platform.

Llanos, who goes by iBai, is an incredibly popular Spanish-speaking streamer on Twitch with over 15 million followers on the platform. He is currently the 3rd most followed streamer on Twitch according to Social Blade, a social media analytics site.

The Spanish-speaking live streaming world is one of the fastest-growing groups in the industry and it already makes up a large portion of the community. 5 of the 8 largest Twitch streamers primarily speak Spanish in their streams.

The Rise of Livestreaming

Most people prefer live over pre-recorded content. For example, a live music show is often much better than a pre-recorded one. However, live-streaming almost anything was prohibitively expensive for most people for a long time.

Large Hollywood studios, bands, radio, and cable companies have had enough scratch to beam their live shows into homes for a long time but it took a large budget, complex infrastructure and hardware, and a ton of effort.

Now that high-speed internet is so widespread and the technology necessary to record and stream video and audio is much cheaper, the medium is blossoming like never before. Anyone with a few thousand dollars (or sometimes less for lower quality) can stream whatever they are doing, whenever they want, whether it’s gaming, holding an event, or just chatting.

A small percentage of people who pick up streaming blow up, gaining millions of followers. Nearly all top streamers have one important thing in common: a fun, likable personality.

Some of these outliers get so popular that they can make tens of millions of dollars a year. The top streamers in the world earn $1-5 million from Twitch but then many make much more from separate sponsorships.

The incredible popularity and profitability of livestreams have brought on an entirely new era of the industry: massive events. This is how iBai broke the concurrent viewer count record on Twitch. He has put on a massive recurring boxing event called La Velada del Año (The Evening of the Year in English) for 3 years now.

The 2nd event held in 2022 broke the existing record, reaching over 3 million concurrent viewers. The 3rd broke his own record again with 3.4 million concurrent viewers, which didn’t even include the 70,000 people in attendance.

Is the Rise of Livestreaming Positive For the World?

The benefits of the new age of live streaming aren’t exactly the same as live television, for example. Some are shared such as the exciting, engaging, and novel feel of a live show. Twitch (and streams on similar platforms like YouTube) are much more like hanging out with a friend instead of a professional show, even though they are mostly one-sided.

It’s not surprising that this medium became so popular during the loneliest time in all of history, the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Loneliness was already on the rise, especially in young adults, since at least 2015 but it has only gotten worse since everyone was locked up in their homes apart from each other.

A shocking 79% of young adults (aged 18-24) are lonely, according to a new study from Cigna.

Loneliness is obviously unpleasant but the problem goes much deeper. A recent gargantuan meta-analysis paper by Brigham Young University professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad that studied over 200 papers and 3.7 million subjects, found that it can cause serious problems. These include depression, heart disease, stroke, and even premature death

Livestreams can help stave off loneliness, whether it’s healthy or not, for long periods of time by making it feel like you’re enjoying the company of a friend. They often last much longer than a TV show or even movies so they can cure boredom for hours and hours.

Boredom is famously maligned by a myriad of philosophers and neurologists alike, with many arguing that it can lead to depression. The brilliant Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard even said that “it is the root of all evil” though he was clearly exaggerating at least a little bit.

Twitch streams are far from the perfect substitute for spending time with friends or family and there are distinct downsides but they can be much better than nothing.

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