Mass cancellations and major social restrictions around the world are leaving musicians, to say the least, strained. Before you panic, have you considered taking your show into the virtual realm? With more live streaming platforms available than ever before, you’ve got options. Whether you’re facing dangerous weather conditions or COVID-19 concerns, here are some of the best virtual platforms to use for your next live stream.
Virtual Platforms to Use for Your Next Live Stream
Before you dive in…
When it comes to live streaming, it’s important to move forward with intention. Choosing a popular streaming platform at random is NOT the way to go. Make sure to look into your fans’ online habits to decipher where their engagement could stand to gain the most. Check your analytics on YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, etc. to see exactly where the highest concentration of your fans lies.
Wherever your audience is strongest, that’s where you’ll find the most success.
Be prepared for anything.
- Get to know the platform before you go live. Whatever you decide to use, make sure you run a few tests to ensure all goes smoothly.
- Map out your strategy. Make a list of what needs to be included to keep you on track. With your analytics, you can find out which tracks your fans want to hear the most and plan accordingly. Are your fans awaiting something new? Increase your engagement by teasing a new song drop on socials before the live stream.
- Test it again. And again. Broadcasting your event to a live audience can be intimidating, especially when you’ve never done it before. Make it a lot less scary by running as many tests as you can. The more comfortable you are with the platform, the less nervous you’ll be about something going wrong.
Consider hosting a couple live streams of you talking about what’s to come, tease a couple songs they can expect to hear and talk directly to your fans about what they’d like to see to help increase engagement when the big day comes.
Check these out:
If you haven’t used it yet, Instagram Live is a simple add-on to the existing Stories feature. Just like an in-person show, you want to hype up the stream as much as you can on all your socials. Let your fans know when they should tune in, how to share it on their socials, and ask what they want to hear. Once you’ve set the stage, (Too much?) tease some upcoming bits of what’s in store to get them amped for the show to come.
Users who haven’t turned off live notifications will receive a message when you go live, saying “___ started a live video. Watch it before it ends!” Fans who want to keep up with you will want to jump on immediately and watch while you’re live, especially if they know exactly when it starts.
As of right now, Instagram Live streams only last for 60 minutes. That’s exactly why planning out your set and being extra prepared will come in handy. This applies for any live stream you decide to do; allocate some leeway for yourself just in case things run behind. Even if everything runs perfectly, that additional time could give you the chance to play something extra if you want to treat your adoring fans to some unreleased music.
After your video has ended, be sure to track engagement and viewer metrics in Instagram Analytics for future reference.
If you’ve got your music on Spotify, you’re probably aware of its “On Tour” section featured on artist pages. Now, Spotify is making it easier for fans to keep up with their favorite artists by partnering with StageIt, Mandolin, NoCap and nugs.net to direct it’d users to events onto each platform for live-streaming. In their latest announcement discussing the new partnerships they explain details like, “In addition to showing scheduled concerts from the four livestream options, Spotify will include info on their events in recommendation emails to users, push notifications and in the “On Tour” section of artist profiles inside the its app.”
If you see a lot of traffic from Spotify, these platforms are great to consider as an artist.
A lot of musicians love Twitch because it’s easy to navigate. Additionally, the platform is so big on community, it’s likely you’ll get more than a couple curious viewers pop in just to see what you’ve got to offer. Even more, Twitch makes monetization easy. Your fans can subscribe to your channel and tip you $$$ as you perform in real time. Every contribution gets recognized on screen (and by you verbally if you’d like), so viewers get instant gratification when they donate.
Because Twitch is so well known for its community, consider teaming up with other musicians to join your stream. Do you have a popular song with a great featured artist? Do you know another artist who already has a large following on Twitch? Ask them to join you for that song to blow your viewers minds and expand your reach even further.
Stageit was created for exactly this purpose. This platform is a web-based performance venue that hosts paid performances for artists who are looking to perform live via webcam. Voilà!
- Once a user purchases a ticket to a Stageit performance, they can join other audience members awaiting showtime in an online chat, which continues throughout the performance.
- Performances on Stageit last for up to thirty minutes. — At the end of that time, you’ll be given the option to perform an additional twenty-minute encore set.
There’s one thing, however, that sets this platform apart. Because you, the artist, get to choose how much you want the tickets to be, you have the ability to leave the price open ended. For example, this gives you the option to, in times like these where everyone is struggling, make the price from $1 – $100,000, letting your fans pay what they can. Something like this helps promote inclusivity and in-turn, earn you mad respect from your fans.
Click here to learn more about the process.
YouTube Premieres are a mix between traditional YouTube videos and a live stream. Like a regular YouTube video, you pre-record your video. Then, similarly to a live stream, you play the recording live with a live chat and live donations. Premieres announces what time your Premiere will go live and shows an announcement for your video in your audience’s feed before it does, giving them plenty of time to prepare for the show.
When it comes to choosing your titles, tags, and descriptions, make sure you optimize them just as you would for a normal video. After your live video stream ends, it’ll be made available as a regular YouTube video. It’s important to optimize these just like you would for any other YouTube video.
- In order for your video to be ranked higher in search engines, you must make sure the title of the video is clear, concise, and includes keywords.
- An easy way to test your keywords is to utilize the search auto-fill feature. Start typing and see what automatically fills in, then go from there.
To learn more, check out “How to Execute the Perfect YouTube Premiere“
With Facebook Live, all you have to do is log in to your Facebook account and live stream directly to your audience. While watching the live stream, audience members have the ability to engage with the live stream video by adding their reactions and/or comments.
Because this streams to your already existing audience, you can and should hype up the show well in advance. With this, be sure to encourage your fans to share the event on, not only FB, but their other socials as well before the live stream airs. This will get your Facebook page more follows and it’s undeniably easy to simply like/follow a FB page rather than convince strangers to do a deep dive into all your socials.
- A significant pro of Facebook Live is its mobile accessibility. Mobile viewers will still get great quality video regardless of where they are. Also, your stream will automatically be saved to your page, so those who missed it can still experience the show later.
Note: Always plug your socials and any other platforms you frequent on anything you do.
- Featuring your socials will help drive traffic onto your other platforms and help grow your audience.
- Your new viewers tuning in for the first time are going to want to see what else you’ve got to offer.
- Make sure to make it as easy as possible for them to learn more about you and your music.
eMusicLive bundles ticketing, music sales, merchandise and collectibles, all within in a single web-based platform. eMusicLive offer real-time VIP experiences, Q&A, and virtual rewards all within an end-to-end, closed-loop system.
“We’ve built eMusicLive to bring all these commercial options together in one end-to-end solution. For the first time, this means livestream can be a primary source of income for artists,” says eMusic CEO Tamir Koch.
“Our unique partnership with 7digital will allow artists to generate income streams from music sales and interact seamlessly with fans from all corners of the world, which sets our new offering apart from anything else on the market today.”
Dreamstage (Coming this fall) lets artists quickly and easily create and manage events, promote on social media, interact with fans during the show, and get a deeper understanding of their fanbase with analytics.
Co-Founder, Thomas Hesse told Pollstar, “We very much believe in a HD living room experience since this is where most people have their best audio and video environment and can lean back and best enjoy the show. With our first shows, we were struck how electrifying it is to share the same exact moment with the artists performing live in HD. Our claim is ‘it’s not like being there, it’s being there’.”
In times like these, figuring out how to move forward can be incredibly frustrating. Instead of getting overwhelmed with the obstacles in your way, it’s important to be able to adapt. There’s no getting around the dangers of COVID-19. Artists around the world are losing revenue every day from cancelled shows and tours. But with today’s technology, you have options! Before the completely virtual, holographic tours of the future have the kinks worked out, live streaming your next show could ease any fears you have going forward in the current landscape. Good Luck!