On May 28th, I had the privilege to moderate a panel on Live-streaming for musicians on behalf of the Recording Academy and Berklee ICE. We had an incredible panel including Pat Shah (VP of Music Strategy, Twitch), Matt Heafy (Lead Singer of Trivium & Twitch Streamer), Sav Buist (The Accidentals, Author of “OBS How-To”), Stephen White (CEO of StageIt), and Rhett Miller (Lead Singer of the Old 97s & StageIt Streamer). The video is embedded below, and you can scroll down to read my summary of the panel.
TWITCH: PAT SHAH & MATT HEAFY
While Twitch has long been known as the de facto home for video game streaming, musicians have flocked to Twitch as a performance.
Matt Heafy (lead singer of Trivium) has been streaming on Twitch multiple days a week for about 3 years - even while on the road with Trivium. As a gamer, he originally streamed his video game sessions and played with fans. Now, his streams include solo home-studio performances, walk throughs of audio editing, hang/chat sessions with fans, watching Youtube videos, and, of course, video games.
His consistent streaming has brought him much closer to this subset of fans that tune in regularly. Initially getting to know them by their Twitch handles, Matt has now met many of them at shows. The real time interactive nature of Twitch has connected him in a much more meaningful way to these core fans than “traditional” social media was able to.
As a moderator, one of my biggest takeaways from the conversation with Matt and Pat was how users are gamifying monetization. A core monetization mechanic in Twitch is subscribing to a streamer. Matt will do “encores” exclusively for subscribers. Some streamers allow subscribers to request songs. Others will invite subscribers to play a video game.
OBS: SAV BUIST
Sav Buist (of The Accidentals) wrote an incredibly impressive 30-page how-to guide on using OBS, an open source broadcasting software. Sav talks about her experience live streaming across different platforms and how that has changed The Accidentals’ relationship with their fans. As live streaming became a more integral part of her band’s content strategy, Sav became an expert in using OBS to improve the quality of their live streams. She expects live streaming to be a long term strategy and to stay relevant even after venues re-open and touring becomes viable again
Download Sav’s guide here: How to Livestream Using Free OBS Software
My personal prediction is that live streaming will become a core competency for many up-and-coming musicians, differentiating them from artists who don’t allow real-time remote interaction with fans. Sav and The Accidentals (along with the other musicians on this panel) are proof of the positive impacts of live streaming.
STAGEIT: STEPHEN WHITE & RHETT MILLER
Launched in 2009, StageIt was one of the original live-streaming platforms for musicians. They’ve had notable musicians like Jon Bon Jovi, Common, Sara Bareilles, and even Randy Newman perform on their platform over the years.
More importantly, they are one of the few “ticketed” live streaming platforms. Artists can set the ticket price as low as 10¢. Our StageIt artist panelist, Rhett Miller sets his show as “Pay What You Want”, giving fans the option to set their own price.
Rhett plays four shows a week, each with a different theme. Some sets are playthroughs of albums, other sets are chosen by celebrity friends.
In addition to the entry ticket price, StageIt allows fans to tip the artist. The top tippers are put on a leaderboard. At the end of each live stream, Rhett asks the top tipper to pick a song, and Rhett will play that song as an “encore”.
Unlike our other artist guests, Rhett is new to live streaming. He didn’t start until his Spring tour dates started to get canceled and didn’t previously envision himself as a live streamer. Now, live streaming Rhett says that live streaming, specifically on StageIt, has been a life saver.
Thank you to Lisa Farris of the Recording Academy and Nicole d’Avis of Berklee ICE for inviting me to moderate. You can learn more about the Recording Academy’s Pro Sessions here: www.grammy.com/ProSessions