How (and where) to Livestream Your Music
October 19, 2020
The current quarantines and lockdowns across the world have hit live music hard, with cancellations, postponements and rescheduled events affecting everyone from open-mic singers to headliners at major music festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury. Despite these changes (or maybe because of them) the appetite for live music is still huge ...
How (and where) to Livestream Your Music
The current quarantines and lockdowns across the world have hit live music hard, with cancellations, postponements and rescheduled events affecting everyone from open-mic singers to festival headliners.
Despite these changes (or maybe because of them) the appetite for live music is still huge and people are looking in new places for their live music fix. There has been a massive surge inlive music streamingover the past few weeks, from amateurs doing lo-fi streams to people over Instagram, to the absolutely huge Together at Home live event curated by Lady Gaga. People are finding a way to embrace this new medium.
If you want to make sure you remain engaged with your fans and bring some happiness and excitement to them while also building your audience, it is time you got involved.
We've put together a guide to help you get up and running and streaming to your own audience.
What equipment do I need to livestream?
First, depending on your music style, you'll have some decisions to make about equipment. Internal microphones and cameras on modern smartphones have come a long way in recent years, and even budget and mid-range models provide HD video and decent sound quality. If you're anacoustic musician or singer, a tripod, your instrument and your mobile might be all you need to run a live session.For DJs and electronic artists doing mixes, you may need a bit more equipment, so make sure to test your setup thoroughly!
Where should I livestream my music?
There are countless livestreaming services to choose from. Some are provided by social networks like Facebook and Instagram, while others are dedicated livestreaming sites. Some will be better for hitting your existing fans, while others may open you up to more listeners.
You might find it's worthwhile streaming to multiple sites at once (i.e with 3 different smartphones/tripods) but you can't do them all!We've looked at some of the most common and effective options for you below. So how do the various platforms compare?
Livestreaming Music on Instagram, YouTube or Facebook Live
Most artists will be familiar with YouTube, Instagram Live and Facebook Live. These have both been in use for a while and it is likely you already have some experience with them. You'll probably already have a fanbase on these sites, who will be familiar with how it all works.
- Extremely easy to get setup quickly and start streaming to your fans
- Your fans will already be on the platform making it easy for them to join the stream
- You can use your mobile phone to stream from.
- Very sensitive copyright systems (especially YouTube) which can shut down the stream when doing DJ mixes of well known songs or covers.
- Time limit of 90 minutes for Facebook and 60 minutes for Instagram
- Difficult setting up multiple cameras
- YouTube will require minimum of 1000 followers for you to stream from mobile.
Recommendation:Acoustic musicians, singers, lo-fi and more laid back artists looking to get some music to their fans in a quick, easy way with minimal setup.
Livestreaming your music onTwitch and BandLab
Getting set up for streaming on twitch is a bit more of a challenge but can yield better results especially for DJ’s or electronic music artists.
- Dedicated livestreaming platforms designed for this purpose, providing great sound quality and multiple cameras
- The copyright system will not shut off your stream if you are doing covers or using well known tracks in a mix.
- Really easy for the fan engagement to be moderated via the chat function.
- You will need to get your audience to change platform and setup up a twitch account (it only takes a few minutes)
- It requires a bit more setup including a OBS or Streamlab OBS
- If you are streaming from one laptop and using it to mix, it can bottleneck the stream.
Recommendation:Electronic artists or DJs looking to perform live mixes using high quality audio for long periods of time.
Other Livestreaming Software
If you have audiences across multiple channels (or just cant decide where you want your live stream!) Restream may be worth looking into. It allows you to stream across multiple platforms at the same time meaning you don't have to pick and choose between facebook, Instagram or twitch! They have a paid version but also a free one if you want to give it a try. The only drawback is that this isn't a mobile app and looks like it is desktop only for now.
Open Broadcaster Software (OBS)
This is an open source piece of software which is used for recording and livestreaming. OBS is used to capture and record your screen while also capturing audio. You will need to use this if you choose to go with Twitch or Bandlab for your live streaming.
This is an alternative to OBS. Some streamers prefer the way this works as it can be a bit more user-friendly and gives you everything in one place, but the majority of support and guides out there are for OBS, so for a first time user OBS may be easier to learn. They are both built using the same cade so for now use whichever you feel more comfortable with.
Preparing to livestream your music
Once you have chosen what you want to use, you can then get it setup and test it out beforehand, maybe on a private stream if that’s possible or a mate's Instagram or Facebook if they don't mind. Make sure the music sounds good, and you are in an environment which reflects you as an artist. This ensures that when you come to the stream itself you will look like a prepared pro! Being a bit rough around the edges can be great for a live stream or behind the scenes content, but you still need to look like you know what you are doing. No wants to see five minutes of you playing around with the tripod trying to make sure your phone is standing up straight!
So now you have picked where you will be streaming to. You have tested it all out and it looks and sounds great. Now you need to shout about it and build up some hype! We would recommend you have at least a week to hype it to your fans. Remember to cross-post on all of your social accounts directing them to channels on which the stream will go out, letting them know the dates and times. If you have a mailing list, send an email out inviting your fans to tune in and watch. Don’t just mention it once, build it up with multiple posts and reminders beforehand. Your fans are busy and you are fighting for their attention so don't be afraid to really hammer the message home. This is a performance they don't want to miss out on!