One big trend we saw during the pandemic was livestream shows. Those obviously came in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes people would just open up Instagram live on their phone and play some songs… other times, people tried to produce a big, polished “concert.”
I think we can agree that we got tired of both of those approaches by like May 2020. It's fun when your musician friends decide to just play some songs on Instagram live for a few mins, but approaching it as a regular thing gets very old, very fast. People will only pop in, say hi, then leave 5 mins later.
Even getting a bunch of your friends together to do a quality production doesn't seem to work. Ask anyone who's tried that – you'll find that the audience didn't care any more than when you just whipped open Instagram on a whim. People still only watched for like 5 mins. At the end of the day it's just a worse version of a show.
The problem is that a livestream is inherently not a live show. You can't approach it like a show.
Don't just play a song, say an anecdote/joke, and move on to the next song. If people just wanted to hear you perform your song, they'd pull up Spotify!
What Should Your Goal Be?
The point of a livestream is more about connecting with people. Having an ongoing chat. Giving people a window into your life. And I mean more than just saying “how's everyone doing? Sound off in the chat.”
Look at the rise of Twitch streamers. It's gotten huge.
Imagine describing a Twitch streamer to someone who's never heard of it: “uhhh you just watch them play video games for like 4 hours.” Like WTF…. that makes no sense. Why in the world would I want to watch someone play video games for 4 hours?
Because it's not about the video games. It's about the community, the chat, the jokes, the hanging out! The video games are a MacGuffin.
People are lonely… why not let them hang out with you for 4 hours while they're eating chips in their PJs?
It's the exact same thing as a musician. Music is your MacGuffin. Don't just play a set… create a room for people to hang out. Just jam while you shoot the breeze with your audience. Do parodies of your own song. Tell Jokes. Whatever. Nurture relationships with the audience! Make it feel like a bunch of friends chilling at your house.
I'll say that again… use it as a tool to nurture relationships! You can't do it to the same degree during a live show where you're on stage and then fans only have 45 seconds with you after.
Meet RAC – A Successful Musician Who Streams
One of the artists that gets this better than anyone I know is RAC. If you're not familiar, he got his start doing remixes for other artists before moving into producing originals.
He's been streaming on Twitch very regularly during the pandemic and it's gone VERY well for him. He just hangs out, loops stuff, jams, talks about his cats, food, whatever. People feel like they're getting to hang out and talk with an awesome artist. Click here to check out his Twitch channel:
It's VERY casual, right? He's just hanging out and jamming. Yet people just have it on while they're chilling in the evening and it nurtures his fans into true fans and super fans (which you need to do – learn more in this free course about success in the music business). He then uses this stream to convert his fans into Patreon supporters, join his private Discord, etc.
I interviewed RAC on an episode of Music Business Mindset (formerly called Behind The Band). In addition to his very unique story, we talk about his experience with streaming a lot in the episode, so definitely check it out!