Heroku App Builds an Entertainment Community Around Premium Content

Heroku helps startup VyRT stay lean in order to focus on their streaming platform and live events

VyRT lets performers create live experiences and broadcast them to the world. VyRT was founded by polyhistor Jared Leto, an actor, director, entrepreneur, singer-songwriter and front man for the band Thirty Seconds to Mars.

VyRT uses an innovative model of ticketing around live content that is shown all over the world at a very reasonable cost. The personal, low production cost model can be as simple as a performer filmed with a single webcam for as little as $4.99. Their premium model ranges in cost, but stays affordable; it offers a full-featured performance with high production values, and can include backstage interaction, Q&A time with the artists, and extra content.

The Challenge: Bringing Concert Performances to Your Home

Frustrated with the narrow focus and commercialism of other performances and venues, Leto and his team realized there was an untapped opportunity to provide popular events to consumers online in a way that was affordable, reached wider audiences, and engaged them in new ways. Not only would they reach more fans, but the experience could be made richer, more engaging and intimate with communities, chat, special features and extra content.

VyRT began as a website for hosting online events, beginning in late 2011, built on a lean stack of Rails and JavaScript with Heroku powering the backend. They did some successful events but wanted to do more, such as share dynamic content, so the team transitioned to a new site, rewrote everything in Ruby on Rails and expanded their capacity on Heroku.

The Solution: High-Quality Broadcast on Heroku

As a result of rebuilding the app, VyRT was able to fully integrate the front-end features, provide premium content to end-users, deliver a high-quality feed, and make sure the real-time chat components were innovative and unique. The Heroku platform not only provides VyRT the stability, scale and reliability for a global live broadcast, but it also frees up the team try new things.

As we try different concepts, we continually interact and work with the Heroku team to fine-tune our site performance. Heroku helps us stay focused on the customer experience, while knowing that the platform is rock-solid. Yasir Hossain, Director of Platform, VyRT

The Heroku team was able to help VyRT improve app performance when bottlenecks occurred during certain parts of a broadcast, and helped them learn how best to scale and keep everything running optimally during peak demand.

As we get more and more customers, we have to be able to scale and provide support; so Heroku has been really important for us. Yasir Hossain, Director of Platform, VyRT

VyRT uses a lot of Heroku Add-ons, including Codeship for continuous deployment, Heroku Postgres for data storage, New Relic APM for monitoring, Redis, and many more. Having the ability to incorporate Heroku Add-ons quickly and easily makes it very efficient for VyRT to focus on their live event platform and leave the DevOps side to Heroku and their add-on partners.

We can add capacity and servers on demand and scale to accommodate crazy increases in demand during events. David Slone, Developer at VyRT

App Experience: Engaging, Hi-Def Video Performances

The VyRT website is elegantly simple in design, but the rich content and clean interface offer a wide range of experiences, services and purchase options. A user simply logs in at the designated time and date of the broadcast and can interact with other users via live feed. The interaction window is an integral part of the experience, allowing users to quote, mute, invite, retweet or reply, or find out more about other users from their profile.

All performances are in high definition audio and video so the quality is incredibly high, giving a real feeling of being present at the event. Artists interact with the audience over a live feed and sometimes will "pin" a user (similar to the concept of retweeting) which gives them the feeling of being the "chosen one" like on the jumbotron at a sports event. VIP ticket holders can even hang out with the artist in a private room backstage.

With Heroku powering the technology, the VyRT team can stay a lean startup and concentrate on bringing their rich performances to more and more audiences.

Is your company looking to provide reliable and scalable online services? VyRT is a great example of a startup that uses Heroku to deliver high-quality, real-time video and audio streams to audiences all over the world. For more information, contact Heroku today.