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Live Music Streaming: Platforms & Essentials for Online Performances

It is now more than ever that live music streaming is being acknowledged by the masses. Self quarantine is leading more people to consume content at home, while artists who are forever creating content are looking for new ways to reach their isolated audience. 

These content consumption needs are now being addressed by live streaming platforms. In this article we will cover ways to quickly utilize the different audio and video live streaming platforms out there and finally we have picked our 2 favourites for music performances. 

Broadcasting software:

These are downloadable softwares that allow you to manage your broadcast. Almost as if you were in a real television production studio. Definitely start from one of these to polish and upgrade content delivery. 

These tools allow you to:

  • Plan transitions in advance.
  • Prepare your screen with graphics and text that can run on through the broadcast,
  • Stream in HD
  • Integrate and broadcast on the main live streaming platforms: Facebook, Youtube, Zoom, or custom stream keys (we’ll get to that one in a bit)

E-camm: (For Mac users only)

E-camm us actually an outstanding product. Its very easy to understand and intuitive. There are three main video modes your camera, “share screen” view, and an option to play a video from your computer. 

E-camm also has a plugin that allows you to stream audio from your computer. This allows you to easily play audio from any DAW directly into the live stream platforms. If you are familiar with live streaming you already know that routing audio into your streams isn’t as easy as it sounds. Special tools like : voicemeter, soundflower, loopback were developed especially for doing this. 

You can simply skip this with E-camm and just download the E-camm audio plugin. 

OBS:

This is a totally free tool that many YouTube broadcasters use. OBS is a bit less intuitive than E-Camm but in terms of features you can do the same.

Audio Quality

First and foremost making extraordinary live streams is dependent on sound quality. Fans are seeking the intimacy of seeing you off stage but what will make them stay for the full show is the quality of your content. Sound is a very important factor here.

Unless you’re going for a spontaneous live solo session with your smartphone, a good audio interface is highly recommended. Assuming you already have one of these, the next step is to have an audio routing system that will allow you to control input / outputs from and to different applications. 

Lets say you want to do a  Google Hangouts session, but want the people you’re speaking with to hear what’s playing on your audio workstation, or on a video editing software. These tools will allow you to route through the different apps:

Voice Meeter
Blackhole
Soundflower (Only on Mac)
Audiobus

Social Platforms

Social live streaming is another great way to connect with fans. Facebook and Instagram, for example, love giving you updates about who’s live right now. You can easily take advantage of this and connect with your fans on a more intimate and personal level. 

Use Facebook & Instagram algorithms for your best interest. The thing to remember here is that your audience’s attention can be easily disturbed. It’s very likely that people on Facebook & Instagram won’t have the patience to stick around your 30 minute live streaming. If you have a decent following on Youtube, maybe it would be better to try and broadcast from there.

Below is a list of social streaming platforms:

Instagram live
Facebook live
Youtube live
Twitch
Periscope

Our staff pick platforms for  live stream gigs

After researching we have found ZOOM and Crowdcast to be the most accurate solutions for musicians.

With ZOOM you can easily setup the audio to both go through your DAW and have a good sound quality. By default, ZOOM doesn’t deliver well with a guitar or keyboard playing, but if you make a few adjustments , you can generate a pretty good sound. We’ve found a video that explains how to setup your ZOOM audio setting to get the best results (make sure your version of ZOOM is up to date): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEAb4G063sM .

What’s great about ZOOM is that for the purpose of playing live, you wont need any extra programs like OBS or E-Camm. Upgrade your account and you will also be able to connect your stream to other platforms such as facebook live (you wont see the comments unless you open your facebook live session. Be careful though, opening more than one of your live stream simultaneously can cause feedback).

Crowdcast allows you to create an event, connect to OBS/E-Camm, collect donations, collect emails through a registration link and even connect attendees with your Patreon account to support you. If that’s not enough, you can also stream from Crowdcast to other platforms if you use one of the upgraded versions. The only thing to keep in mind is that you should use Crowdcast with OBS or E-Camm. The platform has its limitations and since audio quality is a essential to live streaming, we highly recommend getting familiar with E-Camm or OBS when using Crowdcast . 

Crowdcast is growing rapidly now and they did have some technical problems because of this growth in demand. Regardless it is indeed a solution tailored for musicians (and other content creators) which you should check out if you haven’t already.

Live streaming is now all over the web. From meetings and webinars, to yoga classes and music concerts. People are craving for content and personal connection. There’s still a long way until streaming will be flawless and smooth. 

Until than, there’s still a feeling that we are in the stone age of live streaming evolution. The tools above can help step up your game, but keep in mind that there are more factors which can affect your live streams (internet connection for example). 

There is definitely still demand for live music, and the technical faults are part of this stage of the evolution. Maybe 20 years from now we will laugh at ourselves for having such an unstable experience, but for now,  just go have fun with the tools above. 

Play to your audience and you will eventually get better and better just like real gigging.amm