14 May The Complete Live Streaming Guide for DJs and Musicians
In the last couple of months, the world has seen a massive increase in the amount of DJ and musician sets streamed to the internet. With venues across the world closing their doors and artists staying home with no idea of when live performances will become a viable source of income again, it’s never been more important to turn to online live streaming for fan engagement and revenue.
In this article, we give you the ultimate guide for live streaming, covering everything you need to know, and why you need to start today!
What should DJs and musicians stream?
Live performances are the most obvious and are usually a safe bet for a stream, but this is also a great time to get creative and experiment with different formats or topics. There are many interesting and fun ways to engage with your audience to make them excited to tune in.
Interviews, Q&As, home studio tours, and music production tutorials are some suggested formats. You never know what might resonate with someone watching. You can even mix and match, maybe play a couple of songs, and then have a casual chat with the audience as you read through the comments section to give audience shout outs and answer questions. The tip here is to have as much interaction as you can with the audience. It will feel more intimate and personal. Give the audience a reason to watch you live and feel like they are a part of the experience.
How to prepare for live streaming
Thorough preparation is the key to success. Firstly, think about the physical space you plan to stream from. If the acoustics in your room are good and you want to do a basic live stream where you are just talking, all you really need is your smartphone and a strong, stable internet connection. It is always a good idea to put some effort into the background and lighting. This could be as simple as a floor lamp next to you and a non-distracting wall or curtain behind you.
If you are streaming a performance, and you want to make it look and sound more professional, it’s worthwhile to invest in a PC, an audio interface (soundcard), a decent microphone and a high-definition external camera. Now, let’s talk more about the options here. The better the specifications the PC you have, the smoother your live stream can be. Live streaming does require lots of resources from your machine. As for an external camera, you want to make sure the picture quality is good enough for you. Professional live streamers tend to invest in more expensive cameras. However, every DJ and musician understands that sound always come first, doesn’t it? Therefore, you may focus on having a good audio interface and microphone.
Finally, you need to choose your live streaming software. The most popular ones are OBS Studio and Streamlabs OBS. The latter has more exciting features to offer, including donation alerts, custom overlays, integrated chat, etc. Both of these apps are absolutely free and require no specific knowledge to install and go live. You might also want to consider using Periscope for live streaming on Twitter.
Watch these two video tutorials to setup for your live streams:
Which platform should you use to live stream?
The first question to ask yourself is: Where is my audience most likely to already be? All live streaming platforms allow you to fundamentally do the same thing. But the one you choose can make all the difference in how successful the stream is.
Here’s a rundown of some most popular live streaming platforms — to help you decide.
- Twitch.tv: Probably one of the most popular streaming networks. Incredibly consistent, tried, and tested by uncountable video game streams that has proven to be useful for more things than just gaming. We have seen quite a few artists use Facebook Live as an initial platform to direct their friends to their Twitch for an uninterrupted stream (more on that below) – a great funnel to drive more friends who are unfamiliar with the platform to try it out. Plus, signing up is quick and free if you haven’t done it yet.
- Instagram: Reliable, consistent streaming – but only from apps (iOS and Android), no desktop streaming easily accessible. Subject to copyright takedowns afterwards. Videos stay on your story for 24 hours post-stream. This is where a lot of people naturally are, and live streams show up at the front of everyone’s story list. Some big name DJs have had 100k+ people streams on Instagram.
- Facebook: For many DJs, Facebook has a similarly sized built-in audience as Instagram. Seeing as its arguably the most popular social media platform out there, it also tends to grab your videos a ton of attention from your immediate friends. Facebook Live works in your favor algorithmically to get eyes—it sends a notification to friends when you’re live—but it comes with a swath of consistent copyright issues (assuming you’re playing released music that you bought somewhere). Their stream will cut you off once their AI detects a copyrighted track, and then you’ll have to re-start another stream if you want to keep playing (and again, and again). It’s a regular occurrence in my newsfeed.
- YouTube: The video-streaming platform is risky with copyright issues similar to Facebook, with seemingly higher stakes. If you get 3 copyright strikes, they’ll terminate your account. Plus, depending on your followers and streaming setup, you can also only do it via laptop—mobile streaming is reserved for users with more than 1,000 subscribers. Probably worth sticking with one of the others or just using this as a secondary platform.
- Mixcloud: It has long served as a reliable platform for artists to upload their sets, podcasts, radio shows, and other long-form audio. With its reliability and reputation within the industry, it’ll be interesting to see how many users move to using Mixcloud Live. Here’s the biggest win: the service is a licensed platform, which should mean that DJs can theoretically play their tracks on Mixcloud without getting shut off. This has been a continual issue on Facebook, but since Mixcloud pays its own licensing fee, artists could have the opportunity to play uninterrupted. Mixcloud Live will also soon have the ability to archive the audio directly to a saved mix on the site as well, though the timeline here has not been made clear.Mixcloud Live has also been integrated with the platform’s SELECT program, offering an opportunity for creators to generate revenue.
Wrapping everything up
Live streaming is a chance to broaden your reach, engage with your fans, and hopefully make some money from your music in the process. Try experimenting with different platforms and formats to see what works best for you. The most popular ways to monetize your live streams include donations and subscriptions, revenue from ads, and simplified partnerships.
And finally, do support our 24/7 live streaming Singapore Community Radio over at our Twitch channel. Do support us by subscribing / follow us. We will put up regular live DJs, podcasts and other content there (or watch below)