Suggestions for running a livestream show, collected from music performers.
Livestreaming 101: Making your shows better
Do you have suggestions to help your fellow musicians? Please send them in and we will add them here.
How To Livestream?
Facebook is the easiest place to do a livestream, even though it can be complicated getting all of the settings right. It's comparable to an all-new stage and sound setup, plus the requirement to work out the best camera angle, and lighting. You will have a choice of livestreaming from your personal Facebook profile page, or your Facebook music page. Your Facebook music page is accessible on the Facebook Watch app for AppleTV and other streaming devices. This means that you livestream shows broadcast from your Facebook music page can be watched directly on your audience's TV. Ultimately you want to build the connections with your fans on your Facebook Music page, this is an opportunity to do so.
Have all of your tech devices ready ahead of time for your livestream. Start your livestream about 5 minutes early - when you start your livestream on Facebook, the alert will go out to your connections that you are now livestreaming. It will take them a few minutes to get their devices, TV, etc. setup to watch your livestream. Take those first few minutes to talk to those just joining, talk about your experience livestreaming. See the Trial Runs/Testing section below for all advanced preparation.
If you already have the ability to record music, deal with the mixing of all channels, and are doing this on your computer/laptop, you will have the ability to use that same laptop to video your livestream and take the sound directly from your sound system to the livestream input. That will create a very high quality sound on the livestream as people are watching. This may require additional software on your laptop that specializes in managing livestream broadcasts. This has been a lengthy, frustrating process for musicians to work the technology to make this last hurdle from their studio software to the Facebook livestream feed. We can add more on that if the demand is there.
If you do not have that ability, the next best thing is to setup a normal stage and sound equipment to produce a live performance sound, and use your phone standalone (without a direct connect to your sound system) for Facebook livestreaming.
Most livestreams have a lag time on the audio, where the audio isn't perfectly synchronized with the video. This is not unique to your livestream, and is becoming an expected by livestream audiences.
Have the camera about 5-6ft off the floor. The perspective of someone standing and watching you perform. Its a more comfortable viewing perspective.
Your camera should be capturing the video in horizontal/landscape orientation. Many viewers at home are pushing the livestream to their large TV screens, connected to their laptops or phones. Fill up that entire big screen!
If you do not livestream in the horizontal orientation, the audience will see your livestream on a large screen (TV or laptop) in only the middle third of the screen, seeing a tall viewing area in the middle third of the large screen (not filling the entire screen), and we'll probably be seeing the floor in front of you and the ceiling over your head, which is really a distraction from you.
See the section below if you are livestreaming from a phone or tablet, to setup the livestream horizontal orientation correctly.
Have the camera close enough to get the performer(s) front and center in the viewing area, with no extra space above and below them. People want to see the performer, not the ceiling or the empty floor space in front of them.
There is a horizontal flip setting in Facebook live to eliminate the mirror image and have it a true to life view.
You should be able to read the comments coming in while you are performing. Acknowledge the people - by name - that are commenting.
Using Your Phone or tablet for Livestreaming
Have your phone first positioned on its side (horizontal or landscape mode as they call it) and then start your Facebook livestream. Double check that your phone setting does not have the screen rotate in the "locked" position. If you start your livestream with your phone in the tall orientation, and then secondly turn your phone on its side, then the entire livestream may end up broadcasting sideways.
The mic on your phone, although is not a high quality mic, will pickup the sound similar to how someone would hear your music as played in a bar/restaurant. Not the best but more of a live, in-person sound.
You should have the phone as close to you as possible, to get everything needed in the video frame. Getting closer to the sound source will create a better sound on your livestream.
Be sure to have a phone charger connected to your phone, livestreaming will drain the battery quickly, especially with extended shows.
Lighting for your livestream is important. Some people setup in their living room, and the windows or lamps behind them cast shadows on the front side of the performers. All of your lighting should be on your front side. Get some lighting pulled together to illuminate you well. Soft white, diffused lighting works the best, not a direct beam of light which can be harsh for viewing and on the performer.
Trial Runs, Testing (important)
You want your livestream to look right, and not have to worry about it while you are performing. There are two ways to do a trial run.
- You can record a video with your phone to test the playback sound quality, make the needed volume adjustments on vocal/instrumental balancing. Also the recording will give you an idea of what your livestream will look like for people viewing it, double checking the lighting.
- When you have everything setup and ready to go, you can then try a test run on Facebook livestream (use the "Only Me" set as the audience for the test run). Make sure you set the audience back to "Public" when you are done with the test run.
Online Tip Jar
Online tip jars are a must. We recommend to our clients to use PayPal, since you can setup a payment tool for people to use their credit card to make a donation to you. Venmo has also become popular for friends to transfer money between each other, but PayPal may be more of a mainstream option for you. Have both to cover everyone, but start with PayPal.
Create a PayPal account if you don’t already have one. PayPal keys off of an email address, so be sure to use your music business email address, not necessarily your personal email. We downloadable have instructions for setting up a Donate payment tool in PayPal. We’ve detailed every step to make it easy to follow. Once you are done with the instructions, you will be given a web address by PayPal for you to share with people as a link, for them to tip you.
Put the link to your online tip jar on the first line of your livestream post/description, then follow with any other information. This way it is always at the top and people can see it. Some livestreams have placed the tip jar after a long paragraph description and it is not easily visible to the livestream viewer. Having a sign next to a performer with the tip jar info most likely will not be readable over a livestream. Many of your tips will come to you when people replay your livestream. Make sure your online tip jar info is easy to find on your livestream description.
Ultimately the best way to present your online tip jar is to have it on your website, close to the top on your site so its easy to find when arriving there. When you put your virtual tip jar info on the top of your livestream description, use the text "online tips:" with the web address of your website next to it. Sending people to your website to get access to your tip jar info is an extra step/click, but you also want people to see your website, bookmark it and keep returning there.
Schedule You Livestream Shows
You may consider your livestream shows on the same days and times people are accustomed to watching you perform, that's their habit and yours, that's a good time to catch them. Also keep in mind with everyone sheltering at home, watching you on a weekday no longer means they need to make arrangements at home to go out and see you during the week. You are streaming into their home, so the weekdays are a time for your fans to see you when the live-streaming isn't so busy by other music performers.
Be sure to include the location that your livestream will be originating from. Will it be from your Facebook Music page? Or from your personal Facebook profile page. You want your audience to go to the right location on the day of the event. Then just be sure to actually livestream from that same Facebook location. Yes, this mistake happens regularly - like live-streaming from a personal Facebook account rather than the Music Page it was intended to be broadcast from.
One hour livestream sessions are a good amount of time to start out with. Once you get used to live-streaming, how to take breaks (put a "break" sign in front of the camera), you may end up going much longer.
Promote Your Livestream to Attract a Large Audience.
Once you schedule a couple livestream shows, please use our signup form to share your show details, the sooner the better - this will be added to our national livestream calendar which we are promoting on social media, in order to help you draw a larger audience to your livestream, and therefore an opportunity of receiving more tips. No guarantees here, but with this promoted calendar we are doing what we can to pitch in to help you out. Please take advantage of this free resource.
Setup events in Facebook for these livestream shows, just as you would for your live gigs. This will alert your connections days in advance to plan on attending.
When we are attending your livestream show, we share it with our social media pages, which "re-broadcasts" your livestream to our network of contacts of our social media accounts across different music regions.
Good luck and lets keep the music going!
Use our contact form to send in your suggestions for livestreaming. Thank you!