By now, we are all acutely aware that the arts is one of the hardest hit industries in the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. Millions of musicians have been unable to tour or gig, and artists have seen their income slashed. But losing one thing has meant gaining something else – time! Musicians suddenly have a lot of spare time. There are only so many evenings you can spend serenading your neighbours from your rooftop, and so many musicians are taking to live streaming. This keeps them busy, and can earn some extra income. In this article, I am going to introduce some ways that you can start earning money from live streaming. I am going to tell you how you can get going immediately, with just your phone and no social media following, and I am going to give you some suggestions to get you on your way.
Live streaming is the broadcasting of a performance or presentation over the internet via live video. It differs from pre-recorded video in that it cannot be edited. It is live, real time and uncensored. A key feature of live streaming is the presence of a chat room or live chat that allows the performers to directly engage with their audience during the stream.
If you want to diversify your income streams, then monetising your live streams is yet another string in your bow. Luckily, it is relatively easy! You don’t have to travel anywhere or deal with roadies or sound engineers. You can reach a global audience without leaving your chair! It is just you and your fans in an intimate setting, and people appreciate that. You can perform on your own terms and according to your schedule.
If you keep at it, stay consistent, play lots and are genuine in your interaction with fans, the money will come. It might not be immediate, but it will come. It certainly is better than sitting in your lounge playing to the cat night after night!
Yes, you can. However, with YouTube, there is a caveat. It is not easy, and it is probably not immediate. In order to make money from AdSense and Super Chat, you have to monetise your channel. Super Chat is an electronic tip that your fans can donate to you during your live stream.
To monetise your channel, you need at least 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time. You also need to set up and link an AdSense account to your YouTube channel.
If you already have a channel that is monetised, then you may already be receiving AdSense revenue for your videos, and so you will from your live streams. You can also enable Super Chat (if you live in a country where Super Chat is supported), and you can receive any Super Chat donations that your fans make during your stream along with your AdSense revenue.
Over the last couple of years, we have all seen the organic reach of our Facebook posts from fan pages going down into the dark recesses of the earth. Currently, only about 4% of the people who like your Facebook fan page are seeing your posts. However, word has it that Facebook is pushing video and live streams (check out Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp’s recent changes regarding live streams here). Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg wants to topple YouTube and Periscope off their perches?
Like YouTube, you can monetise your Facebook fan page for video ads. The difference is that with Facebook, the adverts appear in the middle of your video, whilst with Youtube, they appear at the start (unless your video is very long). You can apply to Facebook for this feature, but the criteria is tough. You need to have more than 10,000 followers and 30,000 views on your videos published within the last 2 months.
If you want to start earning money out of your Facebook live streams, then the easiest thing to do is put a virtual tip jar in the description =, and in the first comment. You can create a virtual tip jar at PayPal by creating a www.paypal.me link. If you go for the virtual tip jar option, make sure you tell your audience about it. Don’t be shy!
I am going to discuss several other platforms that you can use to start earning money from streaming straight away. For some of these, you will just need a mobile phone and an internet connection, and for some you will need a computer and at least a USB microphone.
You can start streaming on these platforms even if you do not already have a social following. It is probably best to select one platform and try it out. If you like it, then start to build a following on that platform before trying any other platform. It will take a while for you to get up to speed and to be totally relaxed with live streaming anyway.
Please note, the following list is not exhaustive. I am just going to discuss some of the apps or platforms that can get you started.
Periscope is a dedicated live streaming app optimised to work directly from your phone. It has all the power of Twitter behind it since Twitter acquired Periscope before it even launched in 2015. Simply download the app from the app store, login using your Facebook, Twitter or Google account, allow the app to use your microphone, camera and location, balance your phone up against the wall and press “Go live”.
Once your stream has started, you can double tap at the top of the screen to turn the camera around so that your audience can see you and not the wall.
Here are a couple of pointers for your first live stream on Periscope.
This is a relatively young live streaming app that has been developed for musicians by musicians. It has a few unique features. Most importantly, your audience can tip you and you can receive the money immediately to your PayPal account, credit card or bank account, no matter how small the tip. Like, Periscope you can stream straight from your phone. Just download the app, create an account and set up your profile as a performer. Choose the performer portal and go live.
All the pointers I talked about above for Periscope apply here, except that you will not find many trolls on this platform!
Some of the unique features of My Song List include the ability to simultaneously stream to Facebook as well as the facility for your audience to request songs from your playlist. My Song List also has a very neat feature that allows you to upload your songs and lyrics so that when a fan asks for a song, you don’t have to scramble around looking for your notes.
Historically, Twitch is a live streaming site for gamers. Nevertheless, there are many musicians that are performing on Twitch, and you can too. I mention it here only because you can start earning straight away with what Twitch calls “Bits” from your viewers. When you have accrued $100 worth of bits, you can get paid out.
Twitch is huge, and the top streamers are making a huge amount of money. However, competition will be fierce and probably quite cut-throat, so you probably need to be pretty persistent and have quite a thick skin to make it as a musician on Twitch.
Like My Song List, Streetjelly is a live streaming site specifically for musicians. There is a wonderful supportive community here, and you can start earning money immediately. You can get paid out to your PayPal account once you have $50 worth in your tip jar. You can also get awarded “Rocker” pins that are like badges of honour, and are also worth some cash.
With Streetjelly, you will need a computer and at least a USB microphone. Many of the performers put in a lot of effort to get excellent sound quality, so be aware of what you are up against. A nice thing about Streetjelly is that it is very well moderated by the site operators so the chances of you running up against a troll are very slim.
Stage It is another live streaming application specifically aimed at musicians. It is an ideal platform for those musicians who want to prepare for, present and charge for an online show.
You can schedule a performance beforehand and sell tickets upfront. Like Streetjelly, you need at least a laptop and a USB microphone to stream.
If you have a large following on another platform such as Facebook or Instagram, you can use Stage It to invite people to your show and charge for tickets. I personally have not tried Stage It, but I would guess that if you are charging upfront for tickets, you probably have to be well prepared to put on a slick performance with good sound quality.
So, there you have it. All that is left is for you to try it out and make money live streaming! Try a couple of the platforms and see which one is going to suit you the best, and then stick with that one. Try it out with the equipment you have got. If you don’t have a computer with a USB microphone, then try one of the sites that allow you to stream directly from your phone. Don’t wait for the “right time”, for when you have this sound equipment or that lighting. The right time is now.
Before long, this pandemic will be over, and we will all be venturing out. That also means that this unique opportunity will be lost, so do it now! If you show up often, show up consistently, perform with feeling and are nice to the people who turn up, then the money will come.
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, collaborate with others, and even get your music in TV, film and more. Why not try Music Gateway for free?