For the past month, I have been livestreaming in all the ways I have discussed recently in my previous articles. I have streamed a ticketed concert via Side Door, performed for free through Instagram, and I have been livestreaming my music production with YouTube and Twitch. (It should be noted that I do not have a large following, but musicians of us don’t, so hopefully this is helpful.)

Ticketed Shows (9/10)

I chose to do my first livestream with an online music festival for charity. I had many musicians apply to be a part of the action, and sold tickets with half of the money going to Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless. In the end, I sold around 65 tickets, and raised over $550 for charity with other donations throughout the night. 

The event itself was simple to run, but difficult to organize. If you’ve ever worked with musicians, you know how difficult they can be to wrangle into a show. Let alone trying to get 10 of them to join a 4 hour long zoom call. With the ticketing and organizational tool Side Door, this process was made much easier. I couldn’t imagine trying to run the show by myself while livestreaming. 

People came early and sat in the virtual lobby, the chat was filled with kind words and excitement, and I received text after text that this was one of the best concerts people had attended. Giving the audience all the control they want over how they view the show is one of Side Door’s many benefits.

ProsCons
Best community feelTakes a bit to organize
InexpensiveYou have to promote it heavily

Instagram Streaming (3/10)

Honestly, this is busking. In terms of setup, it’s incredibly easy, but if you have a small following, it can lead to some sad results. Once you set your phone on a tripod, you press go live, and start playing, and watch as the consistent viewership stays at maybe a couple of friends. The biggest issue is having dozens of people just cycling through for a moment. 

However, this makes sense to me. I feel rushed to catch up with everyone’s posts and stories, and I have rarely stayed on live streams myself. If you want quick access to a few hardcore fans, Instagram works, but it gives me a feeling that I didn’t really do anything. Its one drawback from busking is that you don’t even get the occasional dollar thrown into your case. 

If you want to practice, or if you are anxious to perform quickly, this is the route to take, but it does lead to very small and quickly dismissed results.

ProsCons
Simple SetupVery Little Consistency
QuickFew Long Term Viewers

YouTube Livestreaming (5/10)

This may come as a shock, but after a total of 7 streams averaging over an hour and a half each, I have never had more than one viewer at a time. I’ve noticed YouTube seems to be the hardest place to get your fans to go. When folks are going through social media, they are not very likely to leave for any particular app. They typically got on Facebook to be on Facebook, not to be sent elsewhere. (Think about how many links you passed before you ended up clicking this link.)

Setup was the most complex for this process. Downloading OBS Studio, setting up Restream in order to get everything broadcast to both twitch and YouTube, and then organizing the look of everything, it’s an exhausting process. That said, even though I was mostly alone livestreaming for hours, I had a blast. It forced me to be creative, it helped me make decisions quickly because at any moment you could suddenly have an audience.

ProsCons
FunComplex Setup
Forces CreativityDifficult to Build Audience

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