Live streaming has skyrocketed since the coronavirus set in. The lockdowns, curfews, and general social distancing rules are forcing people to stay at home rather than go out to their favorite events and concerts. Whether its sports, political activities, or business events, they can’t be there in person.

So, what have enthusiasts done? They’ve brought the party to their homes! They’re streaming those events from the comfort of their sofas, and it’s proving to be just as entertaining as being out there.

Twitch, currently the biggest live-streaming platform, for instance, recorded a 50% jump in watched hours between March and April, and a 101% increase in year-over-year watched numbers. The platform is now up to over 1.645 billion watched hours per month!

Musicians can learn a lot from these numbers as the sector attempts to claim a piece of the live-streaming cake.

1. A lesson from live casinos – CTAs are vital
The music streaming industry has long relied on paid ads for revenues. So, ads from promoters are typical, either at the beginning or during the live broadcast. While this isn’t a bad idea, the lockdown period has revealed another high-potential revenue stream – direct CTAs.
Live casinos are perhaps the best place to learn how CTAs work. For example, at bestcasino.co.uk , one of the best live casinos comparison sites in Europe, is constantly promoting their offers, for instance. Whether its new games, cash bonuses, or jackpots, the audience is always being called on to take action. Musicians, too, must start asking their live audience to take a specific action.

2. Live streams are more than just live performances
Musicians can also learn that fans aren’t just interested in watching a simple live stream. Instead, they want to hang around the interactive video session with their favorite artist.
For instance, in China, musicians have been forced to adopt a hybrid music-streaming formula where artists and fans can chat and interact. Twitch-style tipping and selling branded artist skins are also recommended to create more excitement. It’s the way to go if you’re going to stage successful live music events.

3. Live streaming provides an opportunity for local talent
The music industry is one of the most difficult to break into. A local, unknown talent, often has to wait for their “turn,” which sometimes never comes because of the dominance of the established artists. Without a helping hand from the household names, it takes a lot of effort to get noticed.
Live streaming, especially during the lockdown, has given the lesser-known names a chance. Since people are stuck at home, the middle class, especially, are sampling more musicians and finding new “idols.” It’s a trend that will likely stick post-covid-19.

4. Go live for a reason, not for convenience
A musician must never go live because they are bored and feel that going live would provide a way out of their boredom. It doesn’t work that way. Although going live is incredibly exciting (and hip at the moment), the sexiness quotient alone isn’t reason enough to start a live session.
There are only two conditions that, if met, make a live event worth it. The first one is if the event is interactive and participatory on the part of the viewers. Secondly, only go live if the event is time-sensitive, such as the upcoming AIM Awards.

5. Participation comes in all shapes and forms
Audience interaction is a major challenge when staging a live event. Most of the audience don’t come to participate in the broadcast directly. Only about 1% do. But, these people still want to feel the “realness” of the show. So, how do you prevent boredom?
There are endless options to consider. Virtual gifts, for instance, help to maintain engagement. Whether it’s through thumbs-ups or handclaps, it helps keep the audience hooked. The performer’s team should acknowledge these inputs to keep the audience excited.

6. Don’t blow out the bitrate
Not everyone is streaming your content on a 4K TV. In fact, even the number of people streaming on an Ultra HD device may be relatively small. So, don’t stream at a very high bitrate.
If it’s a fast-paced event with fast-moving cameras, such as car racing, then you may need to push more data through to fill gaps and avoid pixelation issues. But, most music streaming events are slow-moving performances, with mostly stationary people. As such, streaming at anywhere between 200kbps to 300kbps works just fine. Otherwise, you’ll lock most of your audience out.

7. Test, test, and test again
Finally, musicians can also learn from the explosion of the streaming industry that perfection during a live event is an imagination. You’ll make a lot of mistakes along the way. During the first few sessions, especially, everything could go wrong. From bandwidth to internet connection and site factors, it could be a disaster.
You can minimize the disappointment by testing out your performances before the actual event. Test the lighting, the sounds, the staging, and everything else a day or two to the main event. Try things out with a smaller audience. Jean-Michael Jarre, with live shows scheduled for later this month, for instance, is already testing out several things.

The Time to Act Is Now!
In the end, live streaming will become critical to the music industry, just like it already is for gaming and other industries. Don’t be left behind. Learn from the above lessons and ask yourself – what do I need to do?

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