I have been live streaming for about three years now. When I started live streaming, I tried very hard to make it work by attaching my camcorder to my laptop with a mono-pod holding a microphone. I lifted this microphone in the air in attempts to get the best sound. My friends said I would have been a great “taper” back in the day. After several months of trial and errors I started looking for other options, and I realized that my cell phone was becoming the best choice. While I have enjoyed using my laptop setup, I have had the best results streaming with my cell phone. It is easier to transport, quicker to set up, and easier to hold.
Since COVID-19 has entered our world and changed how we interact with each other I am seeing more musicians start asking questions about live streaming. I thought it would be helpful to share some of my live streaming tips that I have learned from my experiences.
Stream on your band page and then share it from there
It is important, as a musician, that you promote your music page first. Your music page can be your business Facebook page, your website, or any other social media site you have created. If you do not have one already, you can make a FREE profile page here and use it to help promote your band or music. Let your band/musician page work for you and help promote you.
It’s okay to get help streaming your bands live music. Remember you can’t do it all!
While streaming, it is helpful to have someone who can help promote you and monitor the comments during the broadcast. This can be one of your super fans or a member of your band. Whoever it is, make sure you communicate with them on where to share the live stream and how to answer any questions that might come up from others who are watching.
General tips for live streaming your bands music
If you are using the front camera on the phone, you need to mirror the image. The world really does not have that many left handed musicians
It is important that you know how to work the settings with the device you are using to live stream. One thing I did that was very helpful to learn how to live stream was to make a private Facebook group to test your live stream. Since it is private only you will be able to watch and see the stream. You work hard to rehearse and practice your music, and now it is time to practice how to get it out into the world. Practice makes perfect!
Get close ups of the performer(s)
Getting close is OK… We want to see you! The most engaging broadcasts are ones where we can see the musician and see what they are doing. If the camera is set up too far away the broadcast can get hard to watch and you will loose the interest of your viewers.
Invest in a tripod
The use of cell phones makes live streaming very convenient. They are easily portable and they are lightweight, but over time you will get tired of holding it. The audience doesn’t want a shaky image the entire broadcast.
A travel tripod can be purchased for under $100, and you will be happy you made the investment! Here is the tripod I am currently using and I love it. The legs fold up and there are no parts to assemble. The tripod comes with a zippered bag which makes transporting it even easier. However, I did need to purchase a cell phone mount in order to attach my cell phone to the tripod. In the end, it was a great purchase!
With WiFi, streaming your bands live music “it is what it is”
Don’t worry about image or sound adjustments if you are streaming on WiFi. You have no control over the speed that it is broadcasting at or the equipment your audience is using to view it. Just do the best you can.
What you CAN control (in most situations) is the lighting of the room. If possible musicians should be in a soft white light. Try to avoid colored light, the effect gets lost in the broadcast. If you know that you will be performing in a dimly lit room for the live stream, bring an additional lighting source to help brighten the area around the performer(s). Selfie Ring Light with Cell Phone Holder Stand is an option I have purchased and it works very well to help brighten small areas without washing out the image.
Your audience wants to support you, and you need to let them know how
One of the newer topics from recent events is the introduction of the Virtual Tip Jar. It is important to make your tip jar as easy and as quick as possible for your fans to use. Be sure that when you create this tip jar that you use a link name that is easily recognizable to your fans and as short as possible. PayPal.me offers an easy solution. You link your existing PayPal account to PayPal.me and then you can create your unique username which becomes part of your link. Venmo is another option created by PayPal to create a unique band link. It is a good idea to create multiple accounts because your fans do have a preference on which site they can donate through, but be sure to be consistent with the link names.
When you create your event description try to label it with a different title from your previous events or add a date. Your future self will thank you for this when you are trying to look back for a specific event.
When announcing your event be sure to add your virtual tip jar information, your business Facebook site, YouTube site, website, your FREE profile on this website…. all of this information is helpful to include so that others can find you as your event post gets shared.
Be prepared to stream your live band. Don’t just “throw something together”
Your fans are wanting to watch you, but they also are wanting to see you and connect with your personality. Live streaming can be nerve racking and uncomfortable. If you can plan out what songs you want to play and have a few band updates or announcements written on paper you will feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Having something in front of you that is organized will ease your nerves between songs and will help you have fun doing what you love. Be you! We, your fans, are watching your live streams because we want to see you and your unique personality!
I hope this information helps you and encourages you to start live streaming. Now is the time to learn how to use this technology because when the world opens up again you will be able to keep live streaming to your audience that you have continued to connect with. And because this technology is virtual, you can connect with your fans that are no longer local to your area. I look forward to seeing you perform soon!
Much love, Erika