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15 Tips for Artists New to Livestreaming

15 Tips for Artists New to Livestreaming
ArtistsMay 8, 2020

As IRL shows are on pause for now, livestreaming has quickly become the best way to share our work with others. In the latest Sofar In Session webinar —  an online resource with craft and industry advice for artists — streaming experts weighed in with their best tips to get you through your first livestream. Read up and start streaming — we can’t wait to hear your music!

  1. Don’t be afraid to work with what you have! Technical setups can feel challenging, but your equipment shouldn’t stop you from sharing your talents with the world.
  2. Do your research to find out what apps, software, and hardware will be the best fit for your home setup. Some to start with are Instagram, Twitch and PRISM Live Studio.
  3. Remember it can take some time to get it right. Be patient with the trial and error it may take to find the best way to stream your performance. 
  4. Think about your aesthetic Do you want the show to feel more like a real performance without an audience, or more laid back, like a live rehearsal? It’s up to you to set the vibe! 
  5. Make sure you’re comfortable, somewhere you’re able to perform your best.
  6. Check your lighting so that you’re easily visible from whatever camera you’re using. 
  7. Think through the performance ahead of time to help yourself feel prepared and comfortable with the content you’re sharing. Write out a setlist ahead of time as if you were playing a live venue or a list of covers you’d like to play.
  8. Have your audience weigh in. If you’re planning a live stream, engage them first by asking what kind of music they’d like to hear, whether it’s favorite originals of yours or cover songs they suggest. During the livestream, keep in mind there may be a delay in any chat engagement, so don’t worry if you don’t get any immediate feedback—it’s best to ask a question, play a song or keep talking, and then check for responses.
  9. Engage with the camera! It might feel a bit awkward at first, but asking everyone how they’re feeling, telling jokes, and sharing stories throughout your performance keeps viewers involved and online. 
  10. Don’t worry about viewer count in the moment. It’s natural for people surfing different streams to come and go. An audience will build up over time, especially if you stick to it! 
  11. Decide how long you want to stream. Some live streamers go for an hour at a time, but some stream for several hours at a time. Specifically with streaming sites like Twitch, the longer you stream (4+ hour streams are often recommended by Twitch veterans). It doesn’t have to just be music either! Share your process, write or produce a new song live, or take a break and hang out with whoever joins the stream.
  12. Consistency is key. Even if you’re only live streaming for a short while each time, commit to a schedule that works for you and stick to it.
  13. Don’t miss the opportunity to promote. You’ve got the mic and have a chance to tell everyone what you’ve been working on, where they can follow you on socials and beyond to get updates on where you’re performing or what you’re releasing next.
  14. Call out your tip jar! Many streaming sites allow tip jars and fundraising capabilities as well, in case you’re taking donations or working toward a fundraising goal. Make sure people that come to watch your streams are sharing their contact information with you as well — it’s great to promote an email list or newsletter if you have it so people can stay in touch with you more directly 
  15. Relax and enjoy the show. At the end of it all, the most important thing to focus on is your performance. Have fun!

For more in-depth tips on livestreaming and other artist-focused topics, check out our previous and upcoming In Session events here, and let us know how they’ve been helping you out!