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A Guitarists Guide to call home Streaming

By Doug Young

Live streamingperforming live via video on the internethas been growing in popularity for some time, but is surging with the existing global health crisis. With musicians locked down in the home along with everybody else, streaming is replacing lost gigs, providing entertainment, and allowing musicians for connecting musically with others.

For viewers, streaming offers a few of the same appeal as live performances. Unlike videos posted to YouTube, which might be carefully edited and produced, streamed video is shown since it happens. Even though result is frequently less polished, theres an undeniable charm to seeing people like Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, Steve Martin, and Mary Chapin Carpenter performing casually from their homes, often using only their phones.

Fortunately that anyone can stream on the internet, on equal footing with the larger name stars. If youd prefer to jump in and begin streaming, this short article are certain to get you started. Well discuss where you can stream, the apparatus you need, and in addition get some good tips from musicians who’ve been carrying it out.

Heres helpful information with links to the sections in this post:

Where in fact the Streams Are

Where you can post your stream depends upon your goals plus your potential audience. Facebook is among the hottest options, alongside Instagram, Twitter, along with other social media marketing platforms. Although people can observe the video live as you perform, the ultimate result usually lives on as a video post that folks can continue steadily to watch, share, and touch upon. YouTube offers a live streaming option and you can find a large number of other sites focused on streaming, including Vimeo and Twitch. You can find even services, like Restream or StreamYard, that enable you to simultaneously stream to multiple destinations simultaneously. StageIt is another popular platform that provides a ticketing system to help you to easily charge for the performances. In another category, you can find web-conferencing programs like Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, and also Facebook Messenger that support real-time video streaming and interaction with a particular group of people.

The best option depends on your targets and perhaps how connected you’re on these platforms. For instance, in case you have plenty of Facebook friends, they’ll typically be notified once you take up a live stream, prompting them to become listed on you, as well as your video can look in your feed. Facebook offers groupscommunities of individuals who share a standard interestthat it is possible to stream to. For instance, Tommy Loose and Jon Hart, the creators of an 18,000-member Facebook group named Fingerstyle Hub, recently organized an online live music festival for his or her group. The function, which is likely to repeat periodically, was advertised on the group page. Individual performers streamed short 15-minute live sets at pre-scheduled times, developing a sequence of concert events. Each musician announced another act, who then start their stream. Jon Hart explains that the approach helps maintain the momentum between performers and keeps listeners engaged.

YouTube create menu

YouTube is really a somewhat different environment. If you don’t have a YouTube channel with plenty of followers, folks are unlikely to just stumble on your own live stream. Consequently, YouTube probably is most effective if you need to schedule a meeting for a particular time and promote it yourself. For instance, Grammy-award-winning guitarist Al Petteway recently streamed a concert with the Keep Music Alive project and Dream Guitars, both of Asheville, NEW YORK, using YouTube. Petteway and Dream Guitars promoted the function via Facebook and their very own mailing lists, and used Eventbrite to control attendance, providing the YouTube url to registrants.

YouTube streaming setup

Streaming isnt nearly live performance. For instance, guitarist and author Mark Hanson, who’s respectable for his in-person workshops, considered Zoom in an effort to continue teaching through the existing restrictions. Zoom is trusted running a business settings for video conferencing, and allows one to create a video meeting of typically around 100 participants. Hanson advertises his workshops to potential students via his email list and website, in addition to on CLASSICAL GUITARs Livestream Events Calendar, and sells advance tickets using Eventbrite.

Gear: What DO YOU WANT?

No matter where you decide to share your live show, the gear you will require is similar. The easiest way to start out streaming is by using a smartphone or tablet. Most relatively recent smartphones can produce impressive video, and you could stream from your device. Starting a streaming broadcast is often as simple as clicking a button in the corresponding app. Facebook, for instance, includes a Live button right below the status update section near the top of your feed.Similarly, You Tubes Create button offers you either uploading a video or starting a live stream. It is possible to literally be streaming in seconds in case you have these apps on your own phone or tablet.

Facebook phone screen shot

Another easy option is by using a computer built with a webcam. The procedure is fairly similar. Just discover the button to go go on the required website, and youll be broadcasting in seconds.

Audio quality is definitely an issue with both phones and webcams. The built-in microphones tend to be more than adequate for voice conversations or casual recording, and may even execute a credible job for music when positioned right. However, you will likely end up getting the camera some distance away to be able to frame yourself as well as your instrument in the picture, that may result in a thin, distant sound. Stevie Coyle, guitarist and proprietor of Mighty Fine Guitars, has been streaming shows from his store for a long time and recommends utilizing an external microphone, which he says really cleans up the sound. Most streaming platforms permit you to select a separate source for the video and audio. Coyle runs on the Blue Yeti USB mic, along with the Blue Raspberry, which supports a Lightning connector for iOS devices and also USB.

In case you are adventurous and desire to try to create a higher-quality stream, you have a great many other options, although things will get complicated quickly. You may use audio from an audio interface, like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 ($159), on some type of computer to enable you to use top quality microphones. Additionally, there are audio interfaces which you can use with cellular devices, just like the Focusrite iTrack Solo ($129.99), IK Multimedia iRig Stream ($99), and Apogee Duet ($649). On the video side, you can find methods to use higher-quality cameras. Al Petteway plans to employ a Magewell USB Capture HDMI box ($299) for connecting a far more professional-quality camera for future shows. Remember that internet bandwidth and limitations of the streaming platform you utilize may not permit you to fully realize the advantages of higher-quality gear.

Apogee Duet USB audio interface

Another advanced option is by using software on some type of computer that collects all of your audio and video sources and connects to the streaming platform. For his concert, Petteway used OBS (Open Broadcaster Software), a free of charge program that enables you to control and switch between multiple cameras and audio inputs and stream to your destination. Using OBS takes a more technical setup. For instance, on Facebook, rather than selecting your webcam, you generate a Stream Key and a URL, that you need to enter OBS.

Facebook streaming key setup

Al Petteways live stream setup, which uses OBS to control video from the webcam and audio from the mixer. Stereo microphones on his guitar via an SSL 2 audio interface, and a shotgun mic for his vocal. Streamed to YouTube at 720p HD video. Photo credit: Greg Sipes

Tips and Techniques

Whatever the gear you utilize, here are some strategies for making your show go smoothly:

  • Ready your stageand environment. Think about your surroundings and backgroundyou hopewatchers are watching you as well as your music, and probably dont wantthem to be distracted by clutter behind you. Joe Carpenter, a Nashville-basedguitarist who recently streamed for the very first time within an online openmic, reminds us to mute your phones ringer and vibrate functions.
  • Setup your lighting. Goodlighting will not only cause you to look your very best, it could affect the product quality ofyour stream. Phone cameras generally work best in stronger light, and revealtheir weaknesses in lower light. Webcams often execute a congrats of adjusting tovarying lighting conditions, but may decrease the frame rate in lower light,producing blurry motion, as well as dropped frames. Following same basicguidelines for lighting as you’ll for an image or video shoot willproduce better resultsthere are many tutorials on lighting readily availableon the web. Stevie Coyle advises to obtain some backlight you, if youcan. Many people light from leading, but a backlight sets you off fromthe background.
  • Frame yourself in the picture. Be sure you position your camera and that means you look yourbest, utilizing an attachment to put the camera on a stand, when possible. Theall-too-common approach of laying your phone up for grabs before youproduces an unfortunate up-your-nose look. Stevie Coyle comments thatprecisely nobody looks good like this! Obtaining a nice flat angle will set youapart.
  • Utilize the back camera on a phone. Many phones will have back and front selfie cameras.The back-facing one is nearly always a higher-quality camera. Furthermore, theselfie camera often flips the image, in order that if you’re a right-handedguitarist, for instance, youll appear left-handed. Some phones have a means tochange that, however the easiest way to repair the thing is to use the trunk camera.Furthermore, contemplate using landscape mode for the stream. Not merely will itlook similar to a specialist video, nonetheless it is easier to match a guitar into theframe without having to be too much away.
  • Switch off voice processing. Many webcams along with various software packages, suchas Skype or Zoom include compression along with other automatic audio adjustments bydefault. These work ideal for voice conversations, keeping levels even andimproving speech clarity. However they wreak havoc on guitars or music generally.Look for settings, sometimes hidden behind Advanced options, and turn theseautomatic features off.
  • Execute a sound check.Test thoroughly your setup prior to starting your stream, in the same way you’ll for a live show.When you can perform some testing offline or can usually preview your video beforegoing live, it’s possible on some platforms to generate a genuine test streamthat is seen and then you. For all those streaming on Facebook, Jon Hart suggestscreating an exclusive groupits as easy as simply clicking a button to produce a newgroup rather than inviting any one else to join. Then you can certainly stream compared to that group,watching the video afterwards to observe how you’ll look and sound. On YouTube,it is possible to develop a private stream that only you can observe.
  • Enlist a helper. Althoughyou can simply stream a show on your own, its also beneficial to have anassistant. On many platforms, watchers can comment, make requests, or askquestions instantly, so having another person monitoring the feed can behelpful. For his show, Petteway says, we decided we needed another computerthat wouldn’t normally get in touch to anything we were doingnot signed to YouTube,therefore, to see what another person would see. As you dont know for certain! Beaware that the stream shown on another device could be slightly delayed, so that it isunlikely that you’ll desire to watch it yourself throughout your performance.
  • Check your web connection. Streaming takes a large amount of bandwidth and a reliableinternet connection. Streaming a 720p HD video requires at the very least five megabitsper second upload speednote that youre sending video, so its the upload speed that’s important! You cancheck your web speed with a number of online speed tests. Just googlespeedtest to get some services. Even though your web service is fast, streamingover wi-fi could be slower and less reliable, and using cellular service on aphone could be a lot more problematic.
  • Obtain the word out. Youcan develop a stream anytime, and folks may discover it, but youllprobably reach more folks with a little bit of planning and publicity. Most platformsallow one to develop a scheduled event beforehand, often with the power tosend invitations. Should you have a email list, distribute a newsletter to letpeople know whenever your show is scheduled. You may also leverage communities suchas Facebook groups specialized in music, however in most cases, you’ll get more viewersif you have already been mixed up in group beforehand, participating inconversations, commenting on others videos and so forth, instead of showing upas a complete newcomer.
  • Look at a regular schedule. Some performers are treating streaming like recurring gigs. Laurence Juber is doing a 15-minute mini-concert hes titled Tea Time with LJ each day at 1: 30 Pacific time. Stevie Coyle has been streaming from his store every Friday afternoon for a long time. Facebook enables you to schedule repeating events, that allows potential watchers to join up to be reminded of events.
  • Save your valuable stream. On some platforms, like StageIt, after the show has ended, its gone. But on others, such as for example Facebook or YouTube, the video remains in the same way in the event that you had posted a pre-recorded video, so individuals who could have missed the show can observe later. A good video that draws a little live audience may reach a lot more people as time passes.
  • Build relationships your audience. The difference between a live stream and postinga pre-recorded video is your audience will there be watching as you perform, soits beneficial to make an effort to use that in your favor. You cant start to see the audience,nevertheless, you can make an effort to build relationships them. Check the comments feed, acknowledgepeople, consider taking requests, and so forth.
  • Keep viewer counts in perspective. Many people are streaming and there’s a lot ofcompetition, so dont be disappointed if your stream isnt a viral sensation.As Tommy Loose observes, Were all sort of numbers obsessed, but even though thenumbers arent an incredible number of views, were bringing people together.
  • Adjust your performance mindset. For all those used to performing live, performing through acamera to an unknown audience could be a different experience. Hanson observes, Aperformer generates plenty of energy from the stage, and feeds off the audiencesresponse. Thats more problematic online. Simultaneously, it can help torecognize that the intimate and relatively low quality aesthetic of a livestream comes with an interest many watchers. Hart explains that its nothing like beingup on a stage. Its pretty raw, and you also dont reach note that much nowadays.Simultaneously, you’re giving a performance, so that it really helps to put yourself inthe mindset that you will be on stage. Recalling his first streaming experience,Joe Carpenter observed that each performer in the group I was in started offtheir set with a blank five-to-ten-second stare at the lens and asking: Am Ion? Is it possible to hear me? I want to know when you can hear me? Every. Single. Performer.Dont be see your face!

Income Opportunities

For most musicians, streaming is really a way to connect to others, share their music, and especially in these challenging times, help to make people feel just a little better. But with the coronavirus temporarily ending all live show opportunities, many working musicians have to replace income from lost gigs. While live streaming could be a promotional tool, as well as perhaps help sell CDs, that only goes up to now. Here are some approaches to generate profits from streaming:

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  • Ticketed platforms. Several platforms, especially StageIt, directly support ticket sales along with providing a virtual tip jar for performers.
  • Sell advance tickets yourself. In the event that you stream your show to a non-public location, it is possible to presell tickets and tell your purchasers where to find your scheduled stream. Mark Hanson uses Eventbrite for ticket sales to his workshops, nevertheless, you could accept payment by any mechanism (PayPal, for instance). This system is effective with YouTube, where one can create an unlisted stream that’s visible and then anyone who has the URL, or platforms like Zoom where viewers will need to have an invitation to become listed on.
  • Accept tips or donations through the show. Some performers display PayPal or Venmo addresses throughout their performance or in notes that accompany the stream, requesting donations. One good thing about this process is that folks may continue steadily to send money should they watch the video lateranother reason to help keep the resulting video available following the live stream is finished.

Gently Down the Stream

Whether you wish to stream for fun or for profit, it could be surprisingly an easy task to start streaming your music and sharing it with the planet. In this stressful time, its the best way to connect to other musicians, achieve your audience, and brighten your day of people that are struggling to attend the forms of live events they will have enjoyed.

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