Platforms for broadcasting live gigs include Facebook Live, Periscope, YouTube, YouNow, ConcertWindow, StageIt, and Gigee. They are not all created equal.
If you perform live music, chances are you’ve broadcast yourself or participated in a live broadcast online. The speed of smartphone technology and the quality of the audio/video available to iPhone/Android users are pretty amazing — especially for those of us who have been professional musicians since before the tech existed. There are more streaming platforms and apps available than ever before, and the audio and video quality of the broadcasts gets better all the time with each new phone and software update.
In my own experience, broadcasting my gigs regularly has led to new fans and a deeper connection with my existing audience. I have people who tune in for every broadcast! Very gratifying when you are playing to an empty restaurant; as long as there’s WiFi, I have a crowd online. And I made an extra $500 just from broadcasting in 2017 with very little promotion or effort beyond posting a tip jar link. My goal for 2018 is to improve that number with promotion, more targeted broadcasts aimed at my core audience, and more merch options. But that was still $500 I didn’t have before! That’s practically three weeks of groceries in the slow gig times.
For those who are adept at playing an instrument but not as comfortable manipulating technology, this idea might seem a bit daunting. Once you get the hang of it, though, it’s truly easy and the benefits can be huge. Broadcasting live is a valuable tool that all forward-thinking 21st-century musicians should be aware of. There’s really no reason not to do it.