5 Tips For Livestreaming Concerts

From packed arena tours to modestly attended open mic nights, the ways we used to share musical performances with people were events most of us took for granted. But now that the vast majority of shows have been put on hold, musicians and audiences crave musical connection and meaning through live performances like never before. While digital concerts can’t replace the real thing, they’re your best shot at keeping in touch with fans and maintaining an income through live music right now. These five tips will help yours look and sound professional, and make an impact on your audience. 

1. Check your internet connection and turn notifications off

Let’s begin with the easy stuff. You’ll need a strong and uninterrupted internet connection to livestream your performances. A spotty internet signal will result in poor image and sound quality for your shows, or potentially the unintended and premature ending of a performance long before you planned to wrap up. Also, turn off the notifications on your devices. A phone call, for example, can embarrassingly sink your live-stream if you’re recording it on your phone. These are easy problems to solve, but not addressing these live-stream basics can severely impact the quality of your shows. 

2. Prioritize delivering professional sound

In today’s music-hungry world, fans will forgive the sound quality of your digital concerts not being up to par. But if you’re serious about making an impact through livestreaming performances, the attention you put into delivering professional sound will go a long way. The mic on your smartphone, tablet, or computer isn’t good enough to present the music you’re playing in a clear and compelling way, and winging it with the bare minimum of sound equipment means that critical parts of your music won’t make it to the speakers of your listeners. But with minimal equipment and a little planning, anyone can live-stream with professional sound. 

3. Recognize that you’re not playing on stage

Shredding in your living room isn’t the same as shredding on stage. The livestreaming format is much different than in-person shows, so tailor your performances accordingly. For example, most performers don’t engage with audiences in venues. However, digital concerts are great for answering your fans’ questions, playing their song requests, and speaking with them directly. Although livestreaming is for musicians and audiences who are separated, there’s an inherent intimacy in the nature of these shows. Acting aloof or unavailable won’t help you connect with listeners.

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4. Perform in clean, engaging settings 

At risk of sounding like your Mom, I need to tell you that no one wants to see your messy room during digital concerts. In fact, no one wants to see your poorly lit or boring space for these kinds of shows either. It doesn’t take much thought or effort to create an interesting setting to perform in. It could be in your backyard, an interesting room in your house, or a backdrop that you dream up yourself. Aim to livestream in settings that reflect and support your identity as an artist. 

5. Focus on making your performances special 

What makes live music special to you? You might not be able to transport the same energy, theatrics, settings, and surprises that shape the in-person music experiences you love, but trying goes a long way. If your digital concerts can lift spirits and inspire people during this time, your audiences will remember you for it. So whether it’s going the extra mile through an unexpected collaboration, backdrop created by a visual artist, or dramatic announcement shared over livestream, making your digital concerts special is a huge factor in whether these performances will end up being successful or not for you. Just like conventional shows, the more effort and planning you put into digital concerts, the more you and your fans will get out of them.  

Like everything in music, it takes practice to get livestreaming right. But those who put in the effort have the chance to earn money and comfort audiences during a challenging time. 

Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.

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  • Kama Linden - July 15, 2020 reply

    Why would you not list the best mic’s to use?

    My confusion is do I get a pre amp like an m-mobile pre, or use the mighty mic, and set the rest up using my regular samson and mic’s? That’s what I do not understand.

    Doc H - July 16, 2020 reply

    Your best bet is to use a mixer going stereo out into a recording interface through your computer. You can use some headphones to monitor it while you set your levels, eq’s, efx, etc. Time consuming but the overall sound quality is worth it. Using a separate quality camera is also worth it.

    Pete - July 16, 2020 reply

    Hi Kama, there’s so many options for getting the best sound, so I guess this article wasn’t meant to cover the details on that. I don’t mind sharing what’s worked for me if you’d be interested. I’ve made just about every mistake possible with live streaming, so hopefully, I’ve learned a some things along the way. For the most basic suggestion, getting a direct signal to your stream is going to be your best option for making your sound really great. I use a “Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface” — came with a bundle on Amazon with headphones and nice condenser mic. $219. That allows me to take a direct signal from my mixer and line into my computer. That one step made my sound 100 times better than just using my iPhone to get audio. There’s a few other steps involved, but if you’re interested, I can walk you thru what I do. If you copy/paste that Focusrite info into Amazon, it’ll pop right up. I’m using the Logitech Brio (HD Webcam) for my video capture. Then using OBS software to put it all together for the live stream with a small banner at the bottom of the screen that has my name and virtual tipping options.

    Liz Pommer - July 16, 2020 reply

    Ditto! These guidelines are fine but we need the details of how to act on them…

  • Kama Linden - July 15, 2020 reply

    In other words, I want to look and sound as good as the 8g band on seth Myers, or john batiste on colbert
    What equipment is being used

  • Ideamachine - July 16, 2020 reply

    Hello Kama. Yes to the above. You’ get better control when you mix your sound and you have the ability to boost your signal. You could get a pre-amp, but that limits you to one mic, or get a good quality small mixer with a good pre-amp in it, like the Yamaha MG series, and then you don’t have to rely on just one mic, you could ad digital effects, and more.

    Ideamachine

  • Theo - July 16, 2020 reply

    What.equipment.setup.should.we.use!

    hynes - July 17, 2020 reply

    Hey Theo – Here’s the set up that I use. Took a bit to figure out.

    QSC Touchmix 16 sound board > Aux out > Saramonic XLR to Lightning cable > iPhone11 Pro > Larix Broadcaster App > Restream.io (website. no app) > Twitch/Twitter/Facebook

    The Larix Broadcaster app to Restream took a minute to figure out. I set up Restream and connected Twitch/Twitter/Facebook via the Restream website. Then, I emailed the Restream code (from their website) to myself and pasted it into Larix Broadcaster app. Once that connection was completed, everything worked correctly.

    I use Aux Out on my board and set the levels. Then, I listen to the Twitter feed to make adjustments. The time delay has been as high as 8 – 10 seconds. Gotta be patient. Typically, I set the vocals at Unity and the mix the other instruments around the vocals. However, the signal peaked immediately. So, start low and slowly work your way up. I start around -25 to -20. In my experience, the slightest change from the stage makes a big difference.

    Couple of other thoughts.

    Initially, I ran directly from the board into the iPhone to the Twitch app. Sounded great. However, when I tried the same thing with Periscope, it didn’t work, at all. Periscope would not recognize the Saramonic cable. Totally threw me for a loop. I thought the cable had gone bad. That’s when I started looking at Restream.io. But, I could not find an iPhone app. Pretty sure one doesn’t exist. At that point, I found Larix Broadcaster app and everything worked.

    That’s my solution. Lemme know how it works and if you find some improvements.

    Take it easy – hynes

  • Gregory Moore - July 16, 2020 reply

    Not much usable advice here. Mics? vs. Run sound through a soundboard and into the broadcasting computer? Visually, I’d love to use two or more cameras instead of just one running the same shot the whole time. How do I pull that off on a live stream? This article only tells me that I SHOULD do it, it doesn’t even begin to tell me HOW to do it.

  • Jason - July 21, 2020 reply

    I would like to know how to post my online events on my Reverbnation page. It only asks for physical venues and I don’t want to list my back porch.

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