On par with in-person shows and touring, online concerts are now more popular than ever. Navigating the online world is crucial for a successful career in music, and live streaming performances is an easy and vital way for artists to showcase their musical chops and build an audience. In this blog, we’ll teach you how to live stream your own virtual concert, from the initial idea to the final song.
WHY VIRTUAL CONCERTS ARE IMPORTANT
While many artists might prefer the benefits of in-person shows, there are also plenty of perks to playing virtual live concerts, whether you’re a beginner or seasoned artist:
- Ease into performing for others if you’re new to playing shows.
- Play for more fans via streaming than you could on tour or in a physical venue.
- Easily engage with your viewers via stream chat.
- Test new material or fine-tune your setlist on-stream.
- Use clips from streams to promote future gigs on your social media pages.
Above all else, virtual concerts are a great way to generate engaging content while doing what you do best. You entice people with a solid virtual set, which then brings traffic to your social media pages and boosts interest in your in-person shows––a true win-win-win scenario. With these points in mind, here are some steps you can take to ensure a successful live music streaming experience.
PROMOTE YOUR SHOW
As with an in-person show, promoting the heck out of your virtual concert is how you get people to tune in. This is a good way to distinguish your show as a legit, professionally prepared gig, rather than a spontaneous live stream done to pass the time or a broadcast from a propped-up phone. Here are just a few ways to start promoting your gig:
- Plan out all of your social media posts a week or two in advance
- Post stories to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
- Give out discount codes
- Send press emails
- Tell your friends to tell their friends
Remember that any route for getting the word out is a good one. The level of promo ultimately is up to you, but even a little bit goes a long way.
SET UP YOUR SPACE
You set a date, your fans are getting hyped––now comes the prep work.
Get Your Gear
A good technical setup and an internet connection can make or break a stream. Streaming often takes a lot of CPU power, so connecting to the internet via Ethernet would be the best option. If you just have Wi-Fi, maybe try a test stream to see how well it handles the broadcast.
A phone or tablet works in a pinch, but there are plenty of affordable upgrades that will help your show look instantly more professional: The Blue Yeti X USB mic works great for solo performances, while XLR mics such as the Blue Blackout Spark SL and Hummingbird are good for full-band performances––just remember that these mics need an audio interface to connect to your computer. For video, the Logitech StreamCam is a solid and affordable option.
Soundproof and Decorate
Just because you’re putting on a show in your room doesn’t mean it has to look like your room. Soundproof the room with some well-placed furniture, rugs or drapes and have your webcam on while you decorate to see how the set translates to the small screen.
Streaming is quickly becoming a vital part of building an online fan base for musicians and artists.
PICK A STREAMING SOFTWARE & CHOOSE YOUR VIRTUAL CONCERT PLATFORM
Next, you'll need to choose how and where you’re going to stream your show. There are lots of free and user-friendly streaming softwares to choose from. For instance, Streamlabs Desktop is a free software trusted by some of the web’s biggest streamers that can have you simulcasting to multiple platforms in minutes, while Switcher Studio has tools geared specifically for music streams like in-app audio mixing.
A lot of these softwares can simultaneously stream live music to multiple platforms, but it’s still good to consider the pros and cons for each website. YouTube and Twitch can handle high resolutions and web traffic, for example, while Instagram has limited audience interactions but can go live with the press of a button. Also, consider your audience––if you have an active following on YouTube but only a fraction of followers on Facebook, save the CPU power and put your time into the former concert platform.
Now that you’re set up for streaming success, it’s time to perfect your performance:
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
A basic rule, but a good one. A live stream might feel more casual than an in-person concert, but you should still play your songs to perfection and treat virtual performances with the same professionalism as an in-person one.
Along with practicing the music, try filming yourself on your phone or webcam and watching it back to get more comfortable with performing on camera. It might feel weird at first, but you’ll look camera-ready after a few rounds.
Get comfortable performing in front of a camera or phone so you can fully focus on playing a good show during your stream.
Today’s the day! Before you go live, make sure to soundcheck, tune up and sync your video and audio. The exact process for setting up your stream will vary depending on the software you’re using, but in general you should:
- Make sure your webcam and mic are the selected inputs.
- Check that your virtual tip jar is active and linked to a service like PayPal.
- Place any custom banners, backgrounds or text onto your feed.
- Connect your stream to the right platforms.
The music stream is live and people are tuning in, so now it’s time to do your thing. If you practiced enough then this part should be pretty easy!
One thing to keep in mind: Playing song after song in rapid-fire isn’t typically interesting and that’s especially true on the computer screen. Remember to check the chat between songs, banter with your audience, thank people for tips or follows and even take requests. If you anticipate an active chat, then having a moderator on board can be a helpful way of balancing playing and engaging.
AFTER THE SHOW
You did it! Congrats on a successful show!
There’s just one more step: Please, please, please remember to save your show to your computer, cloud or hard drive. You now have a solid piece of content you can share online to bring more people to your next show––post the full stream on YouTube, add screenshots to your stories or post excerpts from the stream on social media as promo for future shows.
For more info on live streaming and building an online fanbase, check out The Complete Guide to Live Streaming on Any Platform.