A step-by-step guide to get you gigging online.
In the midst of the corona virus, many artists are converting their physical performances to digitally livestreaming gigs. However, with a flood of musicians doing this, the quality of these livestreams isn’t being regulated. Many artists are rushing to put out as much content as they can in a desperate move to save their careers and continue to make music for their fans.
In this tutorial, we’re going to teach you how to set-up a high-quality live stream for your music; that will set you apart from everyone else and allow you to deliver content that will engage your fans and generate new ones.
Firstly, to set-up a live stream you need to consider these five elements.
- Tips and tricks
There are a few platforms that offer live streaming services. However, there are four which sit atop the chain of social media giants. This includes Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitch.
Facebook is the most well-known social media platform with over 2 billion active users per month. It is often considered to act as a hub for your music, although a website can also fulfill this role. If you already have a good fanbase on this platform then this would be a brilliant place to begin livestreaming as all your followers will be able to see it automatically. It has some great tools for livestreaming, and it is relatively easy to use with a few hours of practice, also allowing you to test your livestream privately before you go public.
Instagram is the most well-known photo sharing platform and whilst it doesn’t offer as many options as Facebook, YouTube or Twitch it can be great for a quick stream when you are out and about. It is more of an instant connection to your fans much like Twitter. Livestreams are shorter and are linked to your story which disappears after 24 hours, so it may be good to use this platform for a quick livestream advertising your longer one on a different platform.
YouTube is the most well-known video streaming platform and has been a behemoth in this area for years. However, the livestreaming tool is only available to those with 1,000 subscribers of more. The reason for this is because of the massive influx of content that is uploaded to YouTube daily, 300 hours of content is uploaded every minute. If everybody livestreamed it would be a massacre of viewership. If you already have a dedicated fanbase built-up on this platform it would be a good option. If this is not that case then don’t completely ignore it, stick to uploading videos and gaining subscribers to meet the requirements to livestream.
Twitch is the most well-known video game livestreaming platform, but it is slowly becoming more adaptable to a wider variety of content. The greatest thing about this platform is that it specifically specializes in livestreaming and it has done for years with immense success. It can also integrate to a wide variety of encoding software’s, because of its video game lineage, making it one of the easiest and most adaptable services available. It is also a great place to start generating a new audience because of its television like stream selection; displaying each game/topic that is being streamed and then breaking down the different channels streaming that game/topic. If you are new to streaming this is a great option to go with.
Now you have chosen the correct platform for you, you need to consider how you will livestream to these platforms. This includes your hardware and your software. We will cover the hardware first.
The hardware you will require for a high-quality stream is as follows. You may only need a phone to technically be able to livestream but taking these other elements into consideration will heighten your professionality and widen your view ship with more retention rates, because of this step-up in quality.
You will need:
- A camera or webcam
- A professional microphone
- An audio interface
- A computer or laptop
Now let’s breakdown these individually. A camera or webcam should at the very least be 720p and 30fps in quality. However, 1080p will make your livestream even better. This all depends on your budget and if your laptop already comes with a webcam. What “1080p” means is the number of pixels that are on the screen at one time and “fps” means the number of frames per second of your video. If you’re livestream is lagging, this means that you’re fps is lower than 30, as 30fps is the minimum frames per second that the human eye can see smoothly. This could be because of your internet speeds but we will speak about that shortly.
Your microphone needs to be to some professional level, whether this be a dynamic microphone or a condenser microphone. Make sure you shop around for these types of equipment as they will serve you the best audio quality possible. A good example of this is the Shure SM58, as this has been a staple in the music industry for many years; being used for a variety of purposes from recording to live performance.
Next, your audio interface. With the advancements in modern recording technology this type of equipment has been made widely available to the average musician and are common in most home studios. You can purchase a high-quality audio interface for as little as £60-£100 and the Focusrite Scarlett series have been on top of their game in this field since the birth of home studios.
Finally, your computer or laptop. Most modern computers and laptops will be able to process a livestream. However, they should have adequate processing power for encoding and uploading your livestream at the same time. At least an Intel i3 or equivalent should be able to suffice the processing power to support these two needs. As well as this, a decent graphics card may come in handy too.
The way these pieces of hardware work together are shown in the diagram below. You will need to connect the audio interface to your computer or laptop and the same with your camera. Then connect your microphone to your audio interface. You may also connect your guitar and/or bass directly to your audio interface too via a standard jack lead. Instruments that use the standard jack lead will also be able to connect this way too, otherwise you should mic them up.
Now let’s talk about software. This is what you will use to sync up all your outputs into one concise medium and then livestream to your desired platform. A very easy and simple to use software is something like OBS or Open Broadcast Software. It is also free which is a plus. As well as this, there are a plethora of other software’s available on the market ranging from beginner to pro and some which cost more than others. OBS is great to start with but if you are looking for something with more settings to tweak then shopping around for another piece of software is a good call.
Each piece of software will respond differently to your hardware and getting the right setup may take a few tries but don’t become disheartened. If you become stuck, check out a tutorial on YouTube that depicts how to use your specific software, as there is a heap of videos out there to help you with such a thing. With OBS you can simply add or remove “scenes” in order to create a setup which works for you. You can also include overlays to your livestream with custom graphics that the software allows you to import. Very nifty indeed.
This is a very important step. You will require a fast and stable bandwidth connection to be able to livestream. Basically, bandwidth means the speed and quality of connection you have to the internet. In some more remote areas, you may have a poorer bandwidth, whilst in cities and urban areas you will probably have a great bandwidth.
To be able to livestream a high-quality piece on content you will need to check the speed of your internet and make sure it can handle uploading either 720p or 1080p. You can do this by searching for a speed checker on the internet and seeing the speed of your internet by mega bites per second.
On average, the mbps you will need to livestream a 720p 30fps video will be 6mbps-to-1.25mbps and for 1080p this will be between 13mbps-to-2.75mbps.
This means, if you have an internet speed of 1.25mbps-to-6mbps you should stream in 720p. If you have an internet speed of 2.75mbps-to-13mbps you should stream in 1080p. However, you should never stream below 720p as this will make you look unprofessional. This is because 720p is the lowest type of HD or high-definition quality the human eye can see by.
Your livestream quality will also depend on the type of encoding software being used and the processing power of your computer or laptop, so make sure you tweak your settings and equipment accordingly.
Tips and tricks
Now that you have considered how you will livestream; you should consider these tips and tricks.
- Mute notifications, this will stop annoying noises from happening mid-stream and means you can put your full attention on the stream and therefor your fans.
- Close inactive and unnecessary applications, this will save you that precious processing power and allow you to focus on the software you need to use at the time.
- Perform to the camera, pay attention to your viewers, look into the camera and speak directly to them. This may come with practice as filming yourself can feel a little weird at first but make sure you are engaging with your fans otherwise; they may lose interest.
- Composition, what is behind you? What is your setting for the livestream? Don’t livestream in a messy room filled with junk. Make it look nice and provide plenty of lighting so your audience can see you clearly.
- Use your phone or another device (bearing in mind your bandwidth usage) to monitor comments, likes, shares and other interactions you may have with your fans. If a viewer posts a question, then you can answer it real-time via your microphone but don’t forget to give it a glance occasionally to monitor your chat and see what is being said. This is the internet after all and sometimes you may have someone using profanity or saying things they shouldn’t in the chat, and you may even have to ban someone from your stream; believe me, the gamers know about this!
- Do your research, have a look at what other people are doing on their streams and find new ways of engaging your fans and creating a better environment for everyone. This could be live giveaways, a question time or even a social challenge. Always strive to grow and improve.
We hope this article was of help to you and if you require any assistance with your livestream or even with your music career you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to help.
Hope everyone is keeping safe and well and we look forward to seeing your livestreams come to life! You can share these with us by tagging our social media channels below:
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