The whole world has changed in just a few months and so has the way we entertain.
During the global COVID19 pandemic artists the world over have come to be creative in showcasing their talent. Not only are they creating a deeper sense of community within their fan base but in gaining a sustainable revenue too.
The live entertainment industry has had a massive blow from festival, concert and even local pub and club acts being cancelled for the foreseeable future. Now, we sit at home in our tracky-dacks maintaining social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders in an effort to flatten the curve, and don't get me wrong, we're doing great so keep it up fam! While our amazing artists sit at home in their tracky-dacks too they are forced to explore creative online options in maintaining not only their own mental health and well-being but the mental and emotional stimulation of fans - not to mention a means for a viable source of income. Your friends here at National Music Academy are here to help, and have put together a playlist of handy hints and tips in being a successful live streaming artist so enjoy, and stay safe out there...
What should Artists and Musicians LIVE Stream?
Live Performances (like, der)
Songwriting Sessions Home Studio Tours Masterclasses Q&As
Some live streams could have a mix of content; from performing a few songs that then lead into a Q&A as you read through the comments of your live stream before finishing up with another performance. Remember that live streaming is unique and much more personal than performing at a concert. Here is your chance to reach out and to get to know your audience, and for your audience to reach on out and get to know you. Anyone can go to youtube and see you perform on demand but a live stream can bring your audience closer to you giving them an experience that will have them coming back. You also have the opportunity to ticket your live streams, to sell merchandise and request tips and donations so earning a revenue while still in lock down is possible.
How to Setup for your Live Stream
Your physical space: What is needed for you to do a successful live stream? How is the lighting in your space? Do you have access to ethernet connection or just WiFi? Does your space have decent acoustics if your performing?
What will be behind you for your backdrop? Natural light is always best for videos but there's not always windows in your recording/live space. If you could get your hands on a ring light (either a mobile phone ring light or a ring light for your space) they are all the buzz right now for online bloggers and influences. If not that's ok, just make do with what you have. A simple floor or table lamp could do the job too. Cool lights are always great for up close video (more whites than yellows) but depending on how moody you want your setup to be and what you have available to you then your options are endless. If you're just having a live chat then a stable internet connection and your mobile phone is all that you'll need. Please, for love of cookies, be aware of your surroundings and your background before going live. You don't want to make the same mistake as this reporter in the USA here made that broadcast live from her bathroom with her husband showering in the background - woopsie! Plain wall backgrounds are good so the focus is on you but if you are feeling creative then a curtain or even a wall of your instruments hanging could be cool too - but no naked husbands, offensive posters and once again, no naked husbands.
If you want to sound even more professional, investing in a decent microphone, audio adaptor (that allows you to mic up an external microphone) and high definition webcam wouldn't hurt either. You can purchase these online for delivery (no leaving the house) or you may be able to pull together a good setup with what you already have on hand. If your laptop has a solid built-in camera, a separate webcam will give you more flexibility to try out different angles. If an ethernet connection is a possibility, always go with that over relying on WiFi — you’ll get a faster and more stable stream that way.
Which platform should musicians use to live stream?
Before jumping ahead and going live you may want to think about what the best platform is to do your live stream. Are you wanting to go where your audience is, or are you wanting to mix it up a little? Were does your audience most engage with you, on facebook, on instagram, on twitter..? Are they on Twitch or youtube? Once you've thought about where your audience will be you'll need to think about your goals - what are you wanting out of this live stream? - Do you just want to share your music - Are you wanting to create something interactive that gives a sense of community with Q&A's - Do you want to monetise your live stream by: 1. Making your live stream a ticketed event?
2. Wanting your audience to tip you or donate..?
3. Want to sell merchandise? 4. Want to showcase a masterclass, songwriting session or how to?
CAN I MAKE MONEY OFF OF MY STREAMS?
Short answer: Yes, of course! Besides linking your best payment option to your stream (tipjar, paypal.me etc) you can also add graphic overlays to your live, scrolling text reminders in the comments of your live with links to your preferred payment source. You can remind your viewers of where they can purchase your merch (letting them know of course that postage may be delayed due to covid19).
If you don't need the money then you may want to think to Charitize your stream. Pick a charity to link to your stream.
Facebook Live is a feature of the Facebook social network that uses the camera on a computer or mobile device to broadcast real-time video to Facebook. Live broadcasters can decide who on Facebook can see their video and use this content to engage their audience during the moments and events that are important to them.
Made for: Artists with Facebook presence Testing before going live: Yes. Set the video to display to ‘only me' before going live. Advance Scheduling: Yes, up to seven days in advance. Create a Facebook event for it as well. Audience notification: Yes LIVE Video Saved: Yes, it can be saved and then posted afterwards if you like. On Making Revenue: Add a virtual tip jar by dropping your PayPal.Me link, Tip-jar link, or a link to your website on your live post. Drop links in your rolling comments section. Add overlays to your video. Verbally remind your viewers throughout your stream on where they can support you by tipping, buying merch, donating etc. Make sure you give them links.
Instagram Live is an add-on to the existing stories function. Think of it like a streaming tool like Twitch or Facebook Live, but hosted in the Instagram app. To start a live video, just go to stories (the small camera in the top left corner), swipe left, and tap the “start live video” button. From there, Instagram will start notifying your followers and you’ll see people jumping in to watch you.
Free or paid: Free Mobile or Desktop Compatible: Mobile only
To go LIVE: Swipe right from your feed, then scroll to “live” and tap it when you’re ready. (More details here.)
Made for: Artists with a strong Instagram presence who are looking to do a simple, low-key broadcast for under an hour. Test before going live: Not really. But you can record a short video and watch it back to test the sound and visuals. Advance Scheduling: No Audience Notifications: Yes LIVE Video Saved: No, it’ll disappear after 24 hours (unless you save it to your camera roll immediately after ending the live stream). About Making Revenue: Same idea as with Facebook Live, but you’ll want to drop the donation or website link in your bio for easiest access.
YouTube Live is an easy way to reach your audience in real time. Whether you're streaming a video game, hosting a live Q&A, or performing LIVE, their tools will help you manage your stream and interact with viewers in real time.
Free or paid: Free Mobile or Desktop Compatible: Both. How to go live: Here’s everything you need to know
Made for: Artists who want a high-resolution live stream (4K supported) and built-in revenue options. Test before going live: Yes. You can play a private stream, watch it back, and then go live with a public stream. Advance Scheduling: Yes, you can schedule them for any date and time. Audience Notifications: Yes, as long as subscribers have notifications turned on for your channel. LIVE Video Saved: Yes, to your YouTube channel. On Making Revenue: You can enable ads, use Super Chat, or set up a monthly membership for your YouTube channel (if you meet the eligibility requirements).
Stageit is an online venue for LIVE & interactive virtual concerts providing fans with a front row seat to a backstage experience.
How to go LIVE: Sign up for an account, click “become a performer” in the navigation bar, then click “performer tools,” and finally “create a show.”
Made for: Artists who want to replicate the feeling (and income) of an intimate in-person performance as closely as possible — a 30-minute show with monetization front and center.
Test before going LIVE: Yes. You can create a “Soundcheck” before doing the live stream. Advance scheduling: Yes. Audience Notifications: Not automatically, but you can send ticket holders a reminder email through the platform between one day and one hour before your show. LIVE Video Saved: No. On Making Revenue: You can sell fixed-price tickets or “pay what you can” tickets. Fans can also tip you at any point during the live stream.
Twitch is the world's leading live streaming platform for gamers and the things we love. Watch and chat now with millions of other fans from around the world.
Free or Paid: Free Mobile or Desktop Compatible: Both
Made for: DJs especially, but any artist looking to do longer broadcasts with top-notch audio/video quality Test before going live: Yes, you can create a channel just for yourself for testing. Or you can try their Inspector tool > run a stream test. Schedule Advance: No, but we highly recommend setting a consistent streaming schedule for success on Twitch. Post the dates and times of your upcoming streams on your Twitch channel page and all of your other social media pages. Will notifications be pushed out to your audience? Yes, and you can even personalize them! LIVE Video Saved: Not automatically, but you can enable video-on-demand storage (14 days of storage for regular broadcasters), or create highlights to save certain content on your channel indefinitely. Learn more here. On Making Revenue: Work towards becoming an affiliate or partner to earn revenue from subscribers, ads, and Bits. Bandsintown has also partnered with Twitch to fast track becoming an affiliate.
*Special offer for Bandzoogle members: Get 40% off the Twitch for Musicians Online Course or eBook with the coupon code BZ40.*
Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems. Zoom Rooms is the original software-based conference room solution used around the world in board, conference, huddle, and training rooms, as well as executive offices and classrooms.
Free or paid: There is a free plan, but if you’re expecting more than 100 participants or hoping to stream for more than 40 minutes, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan starting at $14.99/month. Tip: Be sure to adjust the pre-meeting settings to ensure a secure broadcast.
Mobile or Desktop Compatible: Both.
Made for: Artists who want to host a more intimate event with a lot of fan interaction.
Testing before going live: Sort of. You can hop on a meeting and play to check your mic, but there’s no video preview to watch back.
Advance Scheduling: Yes, you can see all of the options here.
Audience Notifications: No, but anyone who’s been invited to a Zoom meeting can choose to enable reminders.
On Making Revenue: You can sell tickets directly through your Bandzoogle website. Simply add the Zoom link and meeting password into the Live stream link and Live stream information fields in the Calendar feature. When a fan buys a ticket to your live stream event, that information is included on their e-ticket.
Set up a website to easily sell tickets commission-free to your live stream events. Build your website and start selling tickets today.
Made for: Artists looking for a painless one-stop shop, from automatic registration pages to engagement tools, to advanced analytics. Testing before LIVE: Sort of. They have a setup checklist to run through (check the mic, the ability to screen share), but no video preview to watch back and listen to. Advance Scheduling: Yes Audience Notifications: Everyone who registers will automatically receive a confirmation email and a 10-minute reminder. Also, anyone following your profile will get notified when you go live. LIVE Video Saved: Yes, attendees will have access to a replay, and you can also download an HD video of your live stream. On Earning Revenue: On the higher-priced plans, you can sell tickets, but be sure to factor in the fees. Or, you can of course sell tickets commission-free for the live stream directly through your Bandzoogle website.
Note: You can also drive fans to your website to watch your Crowdcast live stream. Set up a password-protected page. Then, add the full page url (mymusic.com/livestream) as your live stream link, and include the password in the live stream information field for your event. You can then embed the Crowdcast live stream video on your page with an HTML feature. This will get people visiting your website to watch your stream, and sticking around to shop for music and merch.
Free or Paid: Paid — you’ll need the premium plan to live stream, which costs $75/month.
Mobile or Desktop Compatible: Both
How to go live: Follow these instructions
Made for: Artists with a budget who are looking for lots of built-in features, simulcasting to other platforms, a robust analytics dashboard, and high-quality streaming.
Test before going live: Yes. They offer the option to ‘enable stream preview’ at low-latency, allowing you to check the levels right before you go live.
Advance scheduling: Yes
Audience notifications: Yes, you can choose to send out a push notification or an email to anyone following your channel.
LIVE Video Save: Yes. What’s the best way to monetize it? You can sell tickets commission-free to your live stream directly through your Bandzoogle website. Simply set up an event in your Calendar feature, then add the live streaming link into the Live stream link field. When a fan buys a ticket, the live stream information is included on their e-ticket.
Note: You can set up a password-protected page on your website, then embed the Vimeo live stream in an HTML feature. Add the full page url (mymusic.com/livestream) as the live stream link, and include the password in the live stream information field in the event details. This will drive viewers to your website directly, so they can also shop for music and merch while watching your show.
NOTES TO NOTE:
CONSISTENCY IS KEY: Set a daily or weekly time to do your live streams and promote at minimum one week prior by letting your fanbase know. Do you have a mailing list? Do you have social media accounts? Be sure to promote your live stream in advance. Let your fanbase know what to expect whether it's a live show or a Q&A, a back stage *cough* walk around your studio/performance space and more. Give them something to be excited about AND ALWAYS start your live stream on time no matter how many are online. Again, be consistent.
Before even planning to go live test all of your equipment. Make sure your internet speed is good. Close out of any programs that you don’t need. Double and triple check your audio and visual settings.
PLAN PLAN PLAN:
Plan for your content. If you plan to go live for 30mins or half an hour then be sure to make a set list of content. Draft up an intro end outro for your live stream. Write down any songs you are wanting to perform (mini set list), write down subjects that you will be talking about so waffling can be at a minimum (but hey, who doesn't like a good waffle from their favorite artist). It's time for you to think like a producer as you're the sound technician, the lighting guy, the quality control, not to mention the artist - it's all you baby!
MARKET YOUR LIVE STREAM PRIOR TO YOUR ONLINE EVENT: - If you have a mailing list be sure to send out an invite with event link (if possible) or link to your streaming platform account. Let your audience know what you'll be covering throughout your live event (for eg: songs, a studio walk through, a breakdown of one of your songs, a Q&A etc). - Do up flyers/video teasers/fun graphics and countdowns to excite your audience if and publish on ALL of your social media platforms. - Post reminders each day while trying to change up the content of the reminder so it doesn't go stale. Give your fanbase something to get excited about. Promote a lucky dip for free merch for those that attend on the day.
- Team up with another artist for cross promotion and have them open for you (and you can open for them and their fanbase at another live steaming event). This way their music will reach your fans and your music will reach theirs. A way to gain more of a fanbase for both of you.
PERSONALISE THE EXPERIENCE FOR YOUR VIEWERS:
Where you can, maintain a visual on your comments section on your platform and be sure to do shoutouts where you can so that your fanbase know you see them too. Address them by name, take requests and answer any questions that pop up that you feel comfortable in answering. The more genuine you are the more your fanbase will feel connected. Be sure to thank them for coming on and getting amongst your stream.
After your live streaming event be sure to do a post mortem on your stream. If you're able to look at any analytics from the platform be sure to do that and make note of any trends. This will help you organise your next live stream. Write a list of what worked well and what could be improved for your next live. The more prepared you are the better the experience will be for you and your fanbase.