A Professional Musician’s Guide To Streaming Services
This is a piece contributed to my website by online author, Alisha Spencer, addressing an extremely important topic for 21st century musicians. Our industry in in a state of unprecedented flux right now and we are all searching for how to best share our art. This article has some very interesting thoughts to contribute.
Watching live performances or listening to the radio isn’t the only way to discover new songs and artists nowadays. The online world is becoming a more crucial tool for promoting and finding new music. Interestingly, more and more people are watching and subscribing to streaming services for easy access to their favorite artists and genres. Livestreaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube are gaining much traction for musicians wanting to get their work heard by audiences. Going live also presents a unique appeal and connection that on-demand media can lack. Here’s what you need to know about streaming as a musician:
Picking the right platform
It’s essential to consider your goals as a musician before finding your primary streaming service. You might want to interact more with your current following and gain a new audience, and Twitch can be an excellent place to do so. Though the platform is known for video gaming live streams, many musicians also use it to show off their skills and interact with their viewers simultaneously. Forbes' write-up on earning money from streams notes that Twitch is one way to start. You can receive direct monetary support from fans and viewers through donations and subscriptions. If you want a versatile platform accessible to more people, YouTube is another good option. It already has a massive user base watching tons of videos (like the one below), and streaming on YouTube Live or uploading music onto the platform can help you tap into that audience. There are many options to consider, but what matters is if the platform is helping you accomplish your goals and where your audience is watching videos and streams.
]Getting a good streaming sound
Using a streaming service is a lot different compared to performing live, so you may be worried about the difference in sound quality. Finding the right gear can help ensure you sound your best. Shout4Music’s guide to the best microphones for vocals discusses how the first thing a new streamer should look at is a microphone optimized for the human vocal range; this typically ranges from 85 Hz to 255 Hz, although it can vary. Condenser mics are great for recording on your computer, but dynamic mics are good for live performances; choose which best suits your sound as a musician and the ease of use. Treating your room or studio for acoustics is vital to ensure that your stream isn’t interrupted by extra sounds that can turn viewers off from watching and listening. And if you’re streaming from home, you don’t want to disturb other house residents. Rolling Stone’s guide to soundproofing curtains notes that having soft materials in your room can absorb your sound and block out noise. Choosing a visually pleasing design can also suit your home and look appealing to viewers. You can also add more blankets or carpets to the room for better acoustics and soundproofing.
Connecting to community
Community interaction is one of the most critical aspects of streaming. It lets you show off your music while connecting with fans and viewers. You can have a set script to follow that outlines songs you want to perform or things you want to talk about, like an in-person live show, but be sure to leave some room for communicating with viewers. Allowing for this connection can help you establish loyal fans and viewers, who can bring more traction to your work. Use your social media accounts to promote or announce that you're streaming so that people who follow you can tune in. You can also collaborate with other streamers to mutually expand your reach. During these streams, chat with viewers, answer questions, or give advice — things you usually wouldn’t be able to do during a live gig. These interactions can help you build your online reputation and persona; a good vibe will have people returning for more.
Keeping your viewers engaged
Aside from connecting with and building your community, keeping them engaged is essential. This helps get them to keep coming back, not just for one music stream but potentially all your future live streams. Polygon's guide to streaming alerts describes the benefits of turning your stream into an interactive show as a way to make streams more engaging. Stream alerts are onscreen notifications that appear when your viewers interact with your stream, from donating to following and subscribing. Features such as stream alerts help your viewers feel like they're a part of your show. As a musician, you can motivate your viewers to engage with your stream by changing a song's tempo or key whenever they donate or even changing the song entirely. This will intrigue your viewers and newcomers, making them want to interact more — to see what happens. Moreover, it'll help you stand out from other music streamers in your niche. Do what others aren't doing, as long as you're comfortable with it, and have fun with streaming. Your viewers and community will always have music services to tune into your music, but live streams are a more chill way for them to get to know you — the artist behind the music.
Making highlights of your streams
Lastly, your streams are only one form of video content for your community to engage with. To further build your brand, consider editing your live streams into shorter clips or videos for YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. These can highlight the funniest, most emotional, or most active moments in your live stream and can be shorter than five minutes. The point here is to develop FOMO (fear of missing out) among newcomers or fans who didn't know you were live or didn't have time to tune in. Having a place for your stream highlights also lets people catch up on streams they may have missed and will double your exposure. Instead of building an audience solely on live-streaming platforms, you're technically building one across video-sharing platforms. If you aren't sure where to start, try looking into the viewer analytics of your streaming platform. These should show key moments in your stream when viewers were most active in chat, donating, or subscribing. Edit those into a shorter and more digestible highlight with one goal: to motivate viewers to want to catch the next live stream so they can hopefully experience the highlight in real-time. It can take some time to get off the ground with streaming, and few viewers can be discouraging at first. However, some consistency and persistence might pay off in the long run! Check out more insights and updates on the Nick Drozdoff Music site, and see what I’ve been up to on YouTube.
Article written by Alisha Spencer
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