Nov 19, 2020

Live Streaming Shows: Why It’s Worth the Hassle


Following the cancellation of festivals and tours, many artists have changed their gigging habits to adapt to the situation. Long story short: Live Streaming. Why did artists massively switch to online gigs? The answer seems obvious: reaching out to their fans, keep creating, keeping busy and even making money from ticket and/or merch sales. 

In this article, we assess the pros and cons of live streaming shows and why it is worth the hassle. Is it more than just a hype during the pandemic?

Live Streaming has been possible on Social Media such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for a few years now. But with the pandemic hitting artists globally in Spring 2020, this means of communication became more popular in the music industry.

Live Streaming Shows: Is It Just A Hype?

Let’s face it, the second wave of lockdowns in Europe will not help artists get back on stage in the near future. Our goal at gigmit is to help artists find a stage to perform live. In times where physical gigs are impossible, we need to make use of the technology we have access to. That’s what live streaming is there for. But is it a temporary replacement for physical gigs or will this phenomenon last?

Many artists have actually been connecting with their fans via live streams for months if not years. The main benefits? First of all, it is free.

Invest Less & Earn Money

Organising a concert is an investment. You will first have to find a venue, which can be in some cases far from home and will imply travel and accommodation costs. But that’s not it, booking a venue doesn’t mean that people will show up. And playing for an empty room is an experience many artists will not want to face twice. Live Streaming shows allow you to play from home which implies minimal costs (no travel, accommodation, catering, etc.). It will however require good equipment, a one-time investment that will help you ensure top-quality streams (see more at the end of this article).

Additionally, Live Streamings offer infinite monetisation possibilities. Depending on the platform you are choosing to broadcast your performance, you will be able to earn money from donations, ticket revenues, exclusive content, merchandise sales, ticketing and more. Even after the lockdown ends, live streaming can remain a good way for artists to earn additional revenues throughout the year. 

On the other hand, you should bear in mind that because you invest less, you should not expect your fans to invest as much money as they would for a regular concert. Make sure to adjust the ticket prices if you sell tickets and make sure to offer exclusive content to your viewers to make them want to donate while watching. The outcome of such live streams might be lower revenues than with actual concerts. But it can also lead to future bookings from bookers watching your performance.

How likely is it to share the experience of a physical gig with only 10 visitors days after it is over? The good thing with recorded online shows is that even if your broadcast doesn’t get many views, it will remain online and you will be able to keep promoting it days after you went live. The user experience will be untouched and you’ll reach more viewers than you would ever have with a physical gig.

Reach Bigger Audiences

Your social media profiles are the place to meet your fans. We cannot repeat it enough, but being active on social media, growing your fanbase on Facebook, Spotify, Instagram, TikTok and even Twitch will considerably help you grow as an artist and to get booked. If you’d like to learn more about that, check out our online promotion whitepaper.

On your Facebook or Instagram accounts, you will be able to engage directly with your followers, answer their questions, ask them for feedback on your work. This is also the place where you will be able to invite them to watch your shows. By inviting your fans to a physical event, only a part of your fans located in the region of your show will potentially be able to buy tickets to come and see you live. But if you invite your fans to an online gig, their location is not a problem anymore and more fans will be able to catch your show. 

In order to reach more fans, you can follow the example of the Indonesian band Reality Club who got booked at INDOOR INSPIRED #2 as part of their international online tour this Summer. By playing several gigs organised by promoters based in different countries or even continents, you can play with the time difference and content viewers worldwide.

Additionally, if you decide to broadcast your show on a platform like Dice, Show4me or Dringeblieben, you will potentially get more visibility simply by appearing in the list of planned live streams. By participating in online events such as gigmit’s INDOOR INSPIRED showcase, you will also be featured and thus reach more potential viewers. Depending on the size of your following on social media, their engagement and the platform you collaborate with, you might end up performing for 10,000 people like Phoebe Bridgers did for her 30-minute performance on Pitchfork’s Instagram

Finally, once your live stream is over, in most cases you will be able to keep the video for additional fans, bookers, A&Rs and more to see it. Your performance can even help you get more gigs and show event organisers what you can do live.

Embrace the Awkwardness

“Online gigs aren’t real gigs.” What if live streams were in fact not a replacement for live gigs but an addition to it? All artists who went live online got this strange feeling of talking alone in their living room, not sure if anyone could hear or see them. One thing to remember is that your fans are also seeing you for the first time, and they are there to support you. Ask them questions and they will be more than happy to engage with you and help you out if you feel any technical difficulties. The first live streams may seem awkward, but once you master the technology and find out how to properly use those tools, playing live streams will lead to a very new feeling.

Several artists have recorded intimate sessions from home to share a different kind of musical moment with their fans. John Legend had for instance no issue performing on Instagram live in his bathrobe.

The Place to Be Creative

Let’s face it, live streams are not a new thing anymore. Most bands and DJs have taken part in online events, festivals or simply went live on their own social media channels. That’s why artists have to be even more creative. This is your chance to show what you can do and how you differentiate yourself from other artists. 

An acoustic session live from your bedroom is nice. However, this will not cut it anymore if you want to monetize your stream unless your name is Billie Eilish. Viewers have become more exigent regarding the quality of the performances they want to watch. If yours is not original enough, they will simply switch to a more creative stream. You have to make your performance count in this ocean of live streams. Offer exclusive Q&A sessions, tutorials, behind the scenes, original set-ups, new releases, win opportunities and more. Whether you want it or not, you will have to compete with other artists for the screening time. 

Ensure Technical Quality

Since Mid-March 2020, new streaming platforms have emerged to help you come up with the best qualitative online gigs possible. Technical equipment can be a struggle. Before planning any live performance, make sure that you have the right tools for that. Professional microphone, High-Quality camera and high-speed internet connection are mandatory. A very recent phone with a good camera is sometimes enough. We give you more tips on technical set up for your live streams in our Guide to Live Streaming

Get the Livestreaming Guide

Finally, remember that sound checking is key. Some platforms like Show4me will provide this service for you before you go live. If you are going live on your own, make sure to check the sound and image quality beforehand.

Avoid Live Streams Saturation: Be Open to Collabs

Live streams are a collaboration accelerator. Remember that you are not the only one running your social media accounts. Other artists will also be watching you, and you too can watch other artists’ streams to get inspired.

Inviting other artists to collaborate on a live stream will help you both reach more people than you would by playing independently. You will reach not only your followers but also those of your partner. Gathering all of the viewers in one stream will reduce the impression of saturation your followers might get.

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