With the rise of Covid-19, the world moved online, and in this shift, artists and musicians turned from stages and concerts to livestreams.
According to a report by Quartz, Twitch, the world’s largest livestreaming platform, saw a 524% increase in viewing hours in its music and performing arts category — in just two weeks. A year into the pandemic, many entertainment experts believe that livestream performances are here to stay.
So, if you want to livestream your music to the world, it’s not too late to start. Here’s a quick guide to get you started.
To begin, make sure you have a device to connect to the Internet, and a stable connection with which to do so. Anything from smartphones and tablets to laptops and PCs will do.
And while regular Wi-Fi will do the trick, an Ethernet cable will provide a quicker and more stable connection. The physical connection to your router will ensure that your livestream continues uninterrupted.
Next, consider where to set up. Anywhere relatively quiet will ensure background noise won’t disturb your stream. Another consideration is room acoustics, which can make or break sound quality.
Hard surfaces cause reverberations while soft surfaces absorb sound, and you need the right balance of both in your setup. Otherwise, if the room is too “live”, it’ll magnify the tiniest sounds, like dropping a pen on the floor, and if it’s too “dead”, your livestream may sound muffled.
While we’re talking about acoustics, let’s discuss the audio setup. Though intimidating to tackle, there are plenty of options for beginner content creators that provide great production value, especially when it comes to USB mics that you can simply plug in – no extra equipment or interfaces needed.
For instance, the budget-friendly Blue Snowball can be placed in the middle of any setup and pick up all sounds surrounding it, while automatically adjusting sensitivity for loud vocals or instruments. Meanwhile, the Shure MV88 can be plugged directly into an iPhone for a portable setup, and it doesn’t compromise on quality. This is great if you have very little space to work with or would like to start a series of live performances in different locations.
Either way, get a microphone that produces the sound you want. While built-in mics are good for other things, you might want to step it up for livestream performances.
If you’re on a budget, smartphone or laptop cameras will suffice. However, professional cameras are great for getting a crisper image. Models like the Panasonic Lumix GH5S are beginner-friendly, and gives great value for your money.
Finally, consider your lighting situation. A window that lets in natural light will do, but for night streams, invest in electric lights to optimise how you look on camera. And make your setup eye-catching — a couple of decorations can do wonders to attract viewers.
Where to stream
Now that you’re all set, you need to choose which platform to use. This depends on what you wish to prioritise. For example, while Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are good for forming and interacting with communities, you can monetise your streams on platforms like Twitch by becoming an affiliate or partner.
And though the above services are free, you can also choose to pay for other platforms, like Crowdcast, to sell tickets commission-free.
What to stream
To engage your audience, mix it up every so often. Aside from performance streams, consider playing with other formats, like songwriting sessions or Q&As. Either way, audience interaction is what viewers most look forward to in a stream.
And, as a musician, you’re well positioned to connect people with the sounds you create. Who knows? You might make the next Sounds from Africa, and touch hearts across generations.