These unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures and ideas on how to stay connected to your audience and fans. Most of us have probably experienced some measure of trouble and are affected by the current situation. There are no live concerts and you can’t play in your favourite bar anymore. But we all still want to stay connected to our fans, keep them happy, and even help them through these uncertain times. How can we do that? Live streaming music on Youtube, on Facebook, Tik Tok, and Twitch has become popular and helpful for many artists. But I know from my own experience that setting up a live stream with good audio and no technical hiccups repeatedly is challenging, and even seems scary. If you want to learn about live streaming concerts and make the experience exciting and attractive, this guide is for you.
Live streaming is the simultaneous recording and broadcasting of content in real-time – much like a live TV event. You broadcast live video out to viewers on the internet. The most popular platforms to stream live content are Facebook, Youtube, Twitch, and Tik Tok. These days, almost everything gets livestreamed: events, tutorials, interviews, behind the scenes and concerts. Even colleges have had to pivot to full online live streaming classes to keep their programs afloat.
As many of you have experienced firsthand, the ability to live stream concerts is almost essential to be able to survive as an artist and musician at the moment. Due to the restrictions that arose worldwide, all concerts, concert tours, and gatherings were cancelled. That means a huge financial and relational loss for many artists. This goes to show that being able to live stream concerts in such a time as this is not only a nice to have anymore, it is essential.
The cool thing is that technology allows artists to perform from the comfort of your own living room, studio, or backyard (and we know that monetisation is a huge factor). We all need to make money to live. Most of the platforms have or recently added some kind of possibility to get paid for live streaming events. Facebook, just a couple of weeks ago announced that they will offer a solution, where fans and followers can buy stars and “pay” them to whatever artists they watch on a stream.
The first question that you probably ask is “what kind of equipment do I need?” With all that is happening around us, new streaming platforms, equipment, and live streaming tutorials virtually shoot from the ground almost every day. This vast variety of choices doesn’t make it easier to pick what you would need for your music live streaming setup. What you actually need on the other hand might surprise you. It is not that complicated. You only need a computer or phone, a webcam, your music equipment, and potentially a streaming app like OBS or Ecamm Live. You can even start doing live streaming concerts with just an idea and your phone.
A rule of thumb is, the better the computer, the smoother the live stream. If you have a decent home music production Mac or PC, that should all be fine. Even a newer phone can be used for a good live stream.
Most computers and phones have a webcam built-in. I would go ahead and invest in a camera upgrade, though. A webcam with a 1080p HD resolution is a great way to look more professional for your fans.
Whether you do live streaming concerts or DJ sets, you just need the same equipment setup that you would normally use. Think about your instruments, vocal mics, and mics to capture the whole set and send it to your computer through a mixer.
A great free solution is OBS. Open Broadcaster Software was used primarily by gamers in the last years. It has vastly improved since it started, and is available for every platform.
I personally use Ecamm Live. It is Mac only, but if you have a Mac, it is well worth the investment and an awesome piece of live streaming software.
Streaming platforms are the channels on which you set up your stream, and where your audience can watch your live stream music concerts. There are a lot of opportunities in all of them. To make the choice a bit easier for you, these four streaming platforms are your best bet when it comes to music live streaming. For a successful event, I would go with the platform on which you have the biggest following. That way, your followers will be notified when you go live, and can watch it directly on the platform they hang out anyway.
Before you can start your live stream, you need to make sure that you enable live streaming on your channel. On new YouTube channels, it is disabled by default. Here is how to enable it:
You can choose from four options to live stream from. From a desktop computer, phone, or either software or hardware encoder. For the sake of simplicity, I will explain the easiest option: streaming from a desktop computer. On a desktop, you can simply stream from the web browser using your built-in webcam. A higher-quality USB webcam, as mentioned above, is a great way to enhance the look for your audience tremendously. The process is the same, you just need to choose the USB camera instead of the built-in one.
Once you are all set with a camera, here is how to live stream your music on YouTube through your web browser:
Facebook has been in the live streaming game for a long time now. It actively competes with YouTube for the #1 spot in the Live streaming world. For me, it feels that Facebook has upped their game in regards to live streaming since COVID-19. It became super stable, and they recently even rolled out the Rooms feature, where you can do live, group video streams, and hang out with your fans.
Top tip: Google Chrome is the only web browser that supports Facebook’s live stream feature.
If you haven’t already, create an account on twitch.tv. For Twitch, you won’t be able to live stream unless you use a software encoder like OBS Studio. This option is much more sophisticated, and has a lot of options to choose from. You can add different video and audio sources, such as your webcam, another camera and maybe a room mic and a mic for the singer and so on. For the sake of simplicity, I describe here a minimal, basic setup with one audio and one video source.
Here is how you do it:
Tik Tok allows you, just like the platforms above, to take your performance live and stream it directly to your followers and fans. Don’t be confused, since there is no obvious choice on how to do it on the app.
Here is the process step-by-step:
There is probably nothing worse than playing a concert and nobody shows up, right? The same is true for concerts that you live stream. As much as we like to be spontaneous, it necessarily doesn’t work that well for concert live streaming. Therefore, the promotion of your upcoming convert is so important as you want to build momentum upfront so that people show up.
Get creative to get people to watch it! Maybe you make it a concert where your fans can request songs that they want to hear, or you can answer questions from your live audience. Make it a special event and, the more people show up for the event, the more likely it is that you can make money from live streaming. You can earn some donations, tips, or even can sell concert tickets to your event. Promoting your live stream could look like this:
In a time like this, it has been made very clear to all of us that live streaming is the best right now to keep in touch with our live concert audience. It has also been made clear what a huge opportunity concert live streaming is for any artist anywhere in the world. As discussed in this article, it is actually not difficult to set up, perform, and promote your very own live streaming concert. There are many different free platforms available to everyone. So, there are no more excuses to procrastinate any further. Your next concert is only one “Go Live” button click away!
So, now you can hopefully try these platforms out, and can put these tips into play in your own live stream gig! Or, you can perform in one of our Facebook Live and Loud sessions. Allow us to also help you amplify your music, help with music marketing, collaborate with others, and even get your music in TV, film and more. Why not try Music Gateway for free?