9 Steps to Making the Perfect Musician Live Stream
Holograms, AI, streaming platforms – it seems like everyday something new is “disrupting” the how we enjoy music. In case you have been too busy to notice the music industry is changing faster than ever! All this can make practicing your set or trying to book gigs seem like an insurmountable challenge. Is it even possible to play for a crowded concert hall when holograms of Biggie and Tupac are driving crowds wild?
Okay, so we have not arrived there quite yet, but there is something moving faster than artists and record labels can keep up with. Something accessible to any passionate individual with a smartphone and musical talent.
Finding the right streaming platform, getting the right equipment, and turning your art (not to mention your hours of demanding work) into an art live stream can be intimidating to anyone who has never tried to take their music to a live stream. To ensure everyone has a fair shot at taking advantage of this revolutionary movement we have compiled a step-by-step guide to help you, the musician, stream successful live shows that fans are sure to adore.
First things first, if you’re going to stream you need to decide which platform is best for you. These are currently the best streaming platforms for musicians who want to bring their music into the new streaming era:
One of the best platforms for musicians live stream, Tango.Me offers a fun and creative way to share your music and generate an income with live stream - with a monetization policy that allows for $2,000 a day withdrawals.
Tango’s social features make it a one stop shop for connecting with fans, allowing you to post statuses, share broadcasts across popular social media platforms, and send notifications updating your subscribers of your next stream. The app also offers state-of-the-art analytics, allowing hosts (streamers) to measure which live sessions performed the best. With over 50,000 new users each day Tango is predicted to be the fastest growing streaming app on the market.
The biggest streaming platform around right now, YouTube Live's size is also one of its biggest drawbacks. With over 2 billion monthly users standing out is going to take some serious work. At least you'll have a lot of potential fans though.
Popular with millennials, Facebook can be a good choice for those who already have a lot of FB friends. Unfortunately, Facebook Live has limits when it comes to how long users can stream for, in addition to monetization restrictions that might make it difficult to turn your art into a solid income.
Known for short, viral videos popular among Gen Zers, TikTok is taking steps into the streaming world as well. Keep in mind that in order to stream you need at least 1000 followers, and if you're under 18 you're not allowed to receive any money for your work.
Once the go-to spot for sharing professional-style photos, Instagram is now expanding to become more than just a hotspot for vacation pics. Currently you can only stream via a mobile phone and through the app, meaning that if you want to stand out and look better than your competition, you’ll need to go through a third-party platform.
Most people who stream tend to just stick with their mobile phones. If money is tight right now, we understand, it is better to stream with what you have than not at all. That said, we guarantee you will be stunned at how just a few hundred dollars can completely enhance the quality of your live stream. This allows you to stand out and be heard while giving your audience a far superior and more enjoyable experience.
There is nothing wrong with just sticking to your trusty cellphone. If that’s your game we would recommend just a few items to increase the visual and audio quality of your stream. Most of these items are well under $100, and a few companies even offer all of them in a set.
If you want to go pro with your musician live stream, then you’ll need to start with video. Users want to be able to see you, so having a quality camera is essential to stand out from the crowd. There are three basic types of cameras you can get: starter, prosumer, and professional.
Starter: Simple and easy to use, these sell for between $300 - $700.
Prosumer: Superior to the basic cameras these have higher quality lenses and manual controls which makes bad lighting less of an issue. Sold for between $800 - $3000.
Professional: Built to last, and with pro-connectors like XLR and SDI, you’re looking at a camera that is top of the line - but won’t come cheap. Prepare to spend $1,500 - $25,000.
Even if you decide to go cheap on the video equipment, as a musician you're going to want to pay close attention to what audio gear you are using.
Starter: This is something as simple as the built-in microphone on basic or prosumer cameras.
Prosumer: If you have a professional camera then you already have an intermediate microphone built in. Otherwise, you need a USB and a 3.5mm microphone.
Professional: XLR has been the standard for professionals for decades and it does not seem to be changing anytime soon.
If you’re going to use video cameras and microphones, then you’re going to need an encoder. Most video sources aren't built for live streaming, but encoders take the RAW video files and convert them into codecs, making live streaming possible.
Used for multiple video or audio devices during your stream, know how many input and output channels your mixer has. In addition, keep an eye out for things like automation and connectivity, user interface (some have a button others have an app), mute buttons, and just the sheer physical size of them.
Making sure you've picked the best spot in your house to play in is crucial for having a great musician live show. Keep these tips in mind when deciding on the ideal area.
Acoustics: Many people mistakenly think bathroom acoustics are best, when in fact the echo often creates a disorienting sound. A better choice would be a spot in the house with soft surfaces and “dead” sounds. A room with carpet and heavy curtains, for example, is actually ideal for streaming from home.
Microphone placement: Here’s a tip: closer is not always better. Many musicians lose hundreds of potential streaming fans every time they play online because they put their microphone right up against their instrument. This amplified the base so much that everything sounds garbled and disorienting. Move the mic around, and even try elevating it. Play a few cords after each adjustment and listen to how things are sounding.
Final Check: Be 100% sure you have picked the right spot. Take a moment to go around the house and check each room for lighting, ambience, and acoustics. Be confident that the spot you have chosen is going to give you the best chance of success.
Where you stream can be as important as what you stream. It is important to take a few moments and organize your environment to something that you’re proud of, and something your fans will appreciate. It only takes a few minutes, but it can make all the difference in the world.
Clean up: Imagine as if you were inviting your mother over to your house, you wouldn’t want your place looking like a bull just rampaged through it would you? Take those few seconds to pick your clothes up off the floor and put the dirty dishes in the sink.
If necessary, you can get a green screen to tape up behind you while you play. It might seem trivial to you, but cleaning up is going to make sure that your audience’s focus is where it matters most, on you.
Lighting Having the right lighting is crucial to having a great stream. People connect with you more when they can see you - particularly your eyes and your smile. Hang string lights around you and turn off those distracting background lights.
If you want to take things a step further, then putting a soft light in front of you is a great idea. You can even turn it up a notch with a halo light either above or behind.
Internet Connection: Easily one of the most overlooked parts of any streaming broadcast, being in a spot with a great WIFI connection is crucial to having a fun and uninterrupted stream.
If you’re plugged in then it’s not something you have to worry about, but for you wireless folks out there make sure you’re in a spot whose many bars allow you to play yours!
We can’t emphasize enough just how important it is to take some time to promote your musician live stream before you hop on and start playing. You wouldn’t put on a concert without some sort of promotion, would you? So why should your live stream be any different?
The first place to start promoting yourself is probably the most obvious: social media. Post statuses and links letting your friends and followers know that you’re planning to have a musical live stream. Give them a little taste of what you have prepared.
“8:00 pm tonight debuting some new music on that you don’t want to miss! 3 new songs in addition to an acoustic set of [your favorite band or album]”
Do not just stop there though, once you’ve given people a taste of what you’re going to do, post one more time on your accounts just before going live:
“I’m going LIVE now on [Tango, YouTube Live, etc.] to play some amazing original music that you DON’T WANT TO MISS! Looking forward to meeting you there!”
Even during the stream don’t be afraid to ask your audience to share your provided link or even just make a post about your stream. If you don’t have a fan page or Facebook group for them to join now would be the time to make it. Make your audience aware of these places and let them follow you there as well.
One thing that audiences don’t enjoy is a host who makes no effort to communicate with them. That does not mean to constantly be talking during a set, but it is important that between songs you take a minute or two to respond to people or thank them for having gifted you (that’s your income after all).
If you are nervous about starting a conversation, start by playing a few cords of a song and ask your audience what they think of it. People love the opportunity to share their opinions and feelings, plus getting them to interact early and often is a sure way to keep them around while having a fun time.
The first time you sit down to your musician live stream it’s probably going to feel really weird. You might stutter, mess up, or start sweating. Things will go wrong, and you’ll be forced to adapt and overcome them. There is really no way to avoid that, and it’s the first step to growth and success. Something every artist has had to deal with. Our advice, punch that fear and nervousness in the face and just go already!
Over time you’ll get more confident, things will start to feel more natural, and your personality will begin to shine. One thing to keep in mind as you go forward: streaming is different from performing at a concert. People who come to watch live streaming shows want a connection just as much as they want to be entertained.
Take this as a chance to get to know the people who love your music, to show them who you are, and to even make new friends. All of that while making some serious cash – is it any wonder why this is the content platform of the future??
Don’t make the fatal mistake of letting yourself get stagnant with your streaming - always try new things. Set up various backgrounds, pick different spots to play, unique types of music, change the time of the day or week, and experiment with the length of the stream session.
Your live music stream doesn’t have to be just you playing your instrument as well. Offer different things that you think your audience will enjoy:
Ask your audience what they want and see what they say. Remember, streaming is about interaction!
On that note, it’s important to know when to take your audience’s advice. A single person with one complaint isn’t something to lose your head over, but if you notice that a lot of people are repeatedly saying the same thing then it might be time to pay attention.
One of the best things you can do as well is to watch popular streamers and take note of what they are doing. Follow them, see what they do, and use it as inspiration. Don’t steal it of course, but if you see someone is wearing silly costumes during their streams and it’s getting a lot of engagements, why not try wearing a silly costume yourself? Just make sure to make it unique to you!
You don’t have to do everything yourself either. Many platforms allow you to do team ups (sometimes called battles or PKs) where you can jam with other hosts. This is super beneficial to both of you in that it allows your audiences to be exposed to a new talented creator that they wouldn’t have met before. It is also a terrific way for you two to share ideas and improve as a team. Streaming is about community and connection, not just for the users, but for you as well!
By far the most important part of any stream – if you’re not having fun then your audience isn't either. Relax, make jokes, and just do what you love to do – play great music. There is no need to take things seriously either. Successful streamers have done everything from using a different themed background each week, to starting off their broadcast by holding up a stuffed llama and mimicking its voice. Guess what – people loved it! This isn’t school, go wild and have as much fun as you can.
Also, don’t stress too hard about the equipment if you don’t have the money for it right now. If all you have is your bedroom and a guitar, just go for it! The content is the most important thing, and improving your streaming skills is worth way more than a professional sound stage.
You are armed with all the basic knowledge you need to get out there and have a great musician live stream. For more tips and news of the live streaming industry, check out more of our blog!
If you’re committed, you’ll find that over time your fan base will go up and you’ll be ahead of the curve when it comes to music and livestreaming. This is projected to be the music technology of the future, with streaming expected to be worth over $184 billion by 2027! You have already made the first step by being here, the second is to show the world what you've got.
A: It shouldn't! All the best streaming platforms (Tango, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, etc.) are all free. So if someone is charging you, the host, money to go live, you should find a different platform instead.
A: During your livestreams fans will be given the chance to offer you "gifts" which are bought and paid for by them. Those gifts are your cash, with the streaming app usually taking a small percentage. The rest is your income!
A: No, livestreaming can be used for anything. You can do an art live stream, dance, gaming, comedy... the only limit is your imagination!
A: The first couple of times you stream you will be unlikely to see many fans - if you get any at all. After the third time you're likely to be ranked higher on the apps algorithm. The more you stream and interact, the higher you'll rank. It takes time, so be patient - you will be rewarded in the end.
A: While there's no official number of days or hours you should stream, you should aim for, at minimum, one hour per week. Our best advice: think of it more like a marathon, not a race. If you do too much too fast you'll likely get burnt out, so schedule streams for certain days and stick to that!