This past Saturday night, there was a sudden surge in the number of bands and musicians who took their shows on the road via social media! Fans were given a chance to tune in, mostly via Facebook, to watch favorite local performers speak and play directly to the camera set up in their home studio’s, bedrooms, living rooms and backyards. Notes introducing the live feeds had links to Venmo, Cash App and Paypal accounts. Comments posted by fans were all positive and encouraging. Fans of live music were grateful to the musicians for taking the time to set up their home stages and play for an hour or two. Applause was given in the form of Facebook thumbs-up and hearts floating on the screen. And not all the donations were used for the musicians alone as hourly workers at local bars and restaurants are in dire need of funds too so a few opted to divert their tips towards unemployed wait staff or a local charity which showed that the music community can continue to support the greater community as well.
Even if large numbers of viewers tune in, the number of people actually making monetary donations may be similar to the results experienced by telethons (remember Jerry Lewis?) or NPR fundraisers where only a small percentage of listeners will take the steps necessary to transfer their cash to the entertainers. However, a bi-product of these live performances should be clear – they provide a great avenue for musicians to demonstrate any special skills they possess which may lead to more jobs once the all-clear is given to get back on the road and play real stages. Over the course of the past week alone, viewers were exposed to many unique styles which may attract both new fans and new gigs from bars, restaurants, talent agents, and maybe even new bands! The most attractive qualities demonstrated covered a wide gamut including straight from the heart storytelling to an ability to comfortably interact with the camera without actually seeing any faces – a tough thing to do when the seats in front of you are empty – just ask Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel who all attempted this one night before taking a break from the production of their late-nite talk shows.
Rinse and Repeat
Secondary skills that can make or break any live broadcast include sound quality and visuals such as an interesting room decor. The most important thing that musicians can do before getting too far into their live stream is to acknowledge and solicit feedback from viewers. Although hard enough to sing and play an instrument at the same time, artists should take a moment to read comments in between songs. Not everything will go just right during the first session, however, repeating online performances daily, trying different hours, different backgrounds or just adjusting microphone settings can yield dramatic improvements in viewership. And just like promoting a gig at your favorite venue, enlisting your “street team” to spread the word to their friends online can ensure a good base of viewers to get the ball rolling.
We, at Weekend Broward, will continue supporting live music online until such time that we can safely make our way to bars and restaurants once again, so we have cleared out all the canceled events for the month of March and replaced them with names of artists who will be performing live. Links to the Facebook pages where the live feeds will appear are put into notes. There’s still a learning curve as far as where exactly viewers need to tune in since most musicians have both a personal page and one or more band pages. We also look forward to exploring new ways of tuning in online, from YouTube Live to Twitch.tv (popular with gamers) and maybe even Zoom, a popular teleconferencing app or Eventbrite virtual events. You know what they say “Necessity is the mother of invention” which is why we are continuing to share anything that will help our local live music community come together in news ways as we plow through this invisible storm.
Here are some useful links to find out who will be online and when:
More Resources for Serious Live Streaming
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Photo credit: Mouth Tape Band