Sat | Mar 28, 2020

Big Online Par makes a splash in Turkey - Party pulls 30,000 listeners in 30 countries

Published:Thursday | March 26, 2020 | 12:11 AMKimberley Small/Staff Reporter
Onur Koseoglu, owner of Radiolize.
Onur Koseoglu, owner of Radiolize.

ALTHOUGH MANY Jamaicans are stuck at home, they still find ways to make waves across the globe. The latest feat begins with Forever Entertainment, a group of local millennials spending five euros for an online radio station package to host a biweekly online party. Three cyber events later, Big Online Par (or Big Par Online) took the Internet by storm, pulling in 31,000 unique listeners in 30 countries, and generating over 100,000 tweets, just enough to hold the second and third slots of Twitter’s worldwide trends on Sunday night.

“For a Turkish person, it’s weird. The whole thing happening is weird and very funny. It’s viral, not planned, not professionally organised. I knew about Jamaicans loving partying. But since I saw this … I didn’t know it was such a big deal for Jamaicans to party!” Onur Koseoglu, owner of Radiolize told The Gleaner.

Sunday night’s wave crashed on the shores of Istanbul, Turkey, where the Radiolize team is still reeling from the stress of crashed servers and other technical difficulties, and the amazing realisation that Jamaicans really love to party.

“I have never seen people partying like this. I was watching the videos. People were posting to Twitter and I was like, how are they dancing like this? They are dancing really well, and they are drinking too much! I was thinking, how can people love partying this much? It was weird for me,” Koseoglu explained to The Gleaner.

“Everyone loves parties, but it was something different. It was like their main culture, I think. It’s a culture there, a big deal for them, I just realised. The Jamaican people are amazing,” he added.

CLOUD-BASED PLATFORM

Radiolize is a cloud-based platform on which people can create their own radio stations within hours, or minutes, and with no download or installation requirements. “They’ll just come and start to manage their stations easily. That’s our business line. We are a really small start-up. The whole thing was very funny and stressing,” Koseoglu explained.

Initially, Forever Entertainment purchased a Radiolize package worth five euros. With that, Big Online Par could facilitate 1,000 listeners. But during Big Online Par’s second staging, “I saw 2,000 people listening. And I said, what’s happening there? The guys just opened that station. It’s been two hours. How [is it] 2,000 people came to listen to that station?”

Koseoglu continued, identifying his own gaffe that flooded the gates. “It was my mistake that I left it open for 2,000 people. That server can’t handle that many people, because that station should normally handle 1,000 people.” He emailed the event owners to explain the mistake.

While conversing with the Forever Entertainment team, Koseoglu took a look at the party hashtags. “I see people tweeting, sending videos, dancing from their homes. Then I decided to keep the party going! I started fighting with that little server for three or four hours. I was working out configurations, changing bi-rates to handle the people, adding another stream … . I did all I could to keep it going. And somehow we handled 5,500 people that day.”

Days later, Radiolize signed on as a sponsor. “The event owners had a very good energy. They were asking me, what if they can buy a bigger package to handle [far more] listeners for the next event.”

But Koseoglu wanted to take that cost off their hands. “I wanted to bea sponsor for this when I saw how happy Jamaicans were from their homes, against the coronavirus. It’s a terrible thing that people who love partying this much can’t party,” he said.

“It was a quick decision, I didn’t think too much about it. I even created a website, bigparonline.com, in one day. It was very challenging for us, because we had two or three days.”

SERVER CRASH

The first ‘big online par’ was on Sunday, March 15, then again on Wednesday, March 18, which recorded about 5,000 listeners. And during the third instalment on Sunday, March 22, the server Koseoglu bought to support the audience crashed within minutes. “It was a big one. It exploded in 20 minutes; 8,000 people came in 20 minutes. Oh, here we go again!”

In their studios, Radiolize has 10 to 15 servers, “but they are little. So I had to be quick. I created three servers, three streams, and imported all of them into one stream. So people can change streams when another is busy. And it worked for the last event. We handled 8,000 to 10,000 people at the same time.”

At the end of the event, Koseoglu checked the stats. “Thirty-one thousand different people came in and listened to the party. I party too much in my life. Every week, like two or three times. And I can clearly say, it was the best party ever for me. After all the things, I’m thinking to come to Jamaica for the real Big Par event,” Koseoglu shared.

He added: “I was drunk and playing with the servers. I wasn’t prepared for fighting again. I was prepared for partying with Jamaican people! I don’t know what I did. Somehow, I did the things right. Maybe thanks to alcohol and the energy of the Jamaican people. I felt their energy from Turkey. It was amazing. They were burning. Really burning.”

kimberley.small@gleanerjm.com