04 Jun Quarantine Concerts: 12 Live Streaming Tips For Musicians
A few years ago, I begun hosting a weekly live streamed late show on Facebook and Instagram. While you can currently listen to the show in its new format [here], I’m still regularly doing little Instagram Stories and TikTok videos, having learnt so many tips and tricks over time.
With live streaming being such an essential way to reach your audience right now, I thought I would give an updated, streamlined version of this article to help as best I can!
Clean Up Your Audience’s Field of View and Background
Don’t: Film yourself in front of a messy desk, unmade bed, or pile of dirty laundry.
Do: Keep your backdrop simple, so that the focus is on you. Plain walls or sofas work great.
Pro Tip: Have a few conversation pieces in the background to encourage audience engagement – the book you’re reading, a pice of art, a cool plant.
Remember That Not As Many People Tune In Live
Don’t: Get discouraged if only a handful of people are watching live.
Do: Give it your all, interact and show gratitude to those there.
Pro Tip: Share your livestream around after its over.
Launch Straight Into Content
Don’t: Sit there, live, twirling your thumbs until someone tunes in.
Do: Jump right in, making the video more enjoyable when people watch the replay.
Pro Tip: If you’re a performer, start with a song.
Chuck The Script
Don’t: Try to memorize a script line for line.
Do: Understand that the appeal of livestreams is that they’re casual and interactive.
Pro Tip: Put together an outline/set list before you start, but don’t feel bound by it.
Check Your Audio
Don’t: Keep your windows open if there’s busy traffic outside.
Do: Turn off the fan/AC, face the camera.
Pro Tip: If you record at home, use your existing microphone and interface setup on Facebook Lives!
Check Your Angles
Don’t: Film an entire video with your head cropped off, only realizing after… oops.
Do: Aim the camera at eye level of looking slightly down at you.
Pro Tip: Ask your audience if they can see you okay. Bonus point, it gets the engagement going.
Check Your Lighting
Don’t: Sit in between the camera and a light. You will be backlit.
Do: Gather a bunch of lamps around your filming area, so that you can adjust before starting.
Pro Tip: Buy a ring light.
Keep Your Cool
Don’t: Panic if tech glitches happen, everyone will be understanding.
Do: Keep calm, reschedule if need be.
Pro Tip: Mentally go over possible things that could go wrong, and how you will handle them if they do.
Make This An Event
Don’t: Expect a crowd if you don’t tell anyone you’re playing.
Do: Make an announcement, set a date and time.
Pro Tip: Make your live streams a collaboration between you and a venue, a festival or a small business. Heaven knows they need content right now.
Encourage Audience Engagement
Don’t: Ignore your audience. This isn’t a prerecorded Youtube video.
Do: Say hello to people who tune in, thank them.
Pro Tip: Ask your audience questions, or invite song requests.
Don’t: Verbally berate your fans for not giving you money. This is a rough economic time for everyone, and building a reputation for kindness will go further than hustling for a quick buck.
Do: Set up a virtual tip jar. I personally use PayPal.me, but there are all sorts of alternatives based on your country.
Pro Tip: Organize a paywall/ticketed live stream event with other artists. Give a portion to charity.