How to successfully live stream your music

ICMP Music Production tutor and Ableton Live expert Craig Lowe offers his essential tips on live streaming…



From performing live at New York's Madison Square Gardens to DJing electronica via Instagram Live streams, ICMP tutor Craig Lowe is the master of many musical trades. 

With the onset of the lockdown and the social distancing measures, many musicians, DJs and artists are turning to live streaming as a way of connecting with their fanbases and building an audience. But for the uninitiated, what do you need in place to make the best of your technology and enjoy a successful live stream? 

We quizzed Craig on the tech required, his advice and how artists and musicians need to go beyond the music to these a success... 

As someone starting out in live streaming, what do you need in your toolkit? What basic tech do you require to go live? 

Firstly, you need a good stand for your iPhone and good lighting.

The audio quality of a live stream shouldn't be overlooked. I use iConnectivity iConnectAUDIO4+. This audio interface enables you to stream audio from your computer to a smartphone, which is perfect if you are doing more computer-based performance such as from Ableton or DJing.

For live performers check out the Roland Go mixer. You have three audio inputs and an iPod/iPhone audio input and this streams straight to the iPhone. 

How do you work out which platform is the best one for you? 

I think Instagram live is the most engaging, it just seems to be more people getting involved and engaging in the live stream.  

You also seem to organically pick up more viewers with Instagram live. However, the advantages of YouTube and Facebook are you can schedule live streams so it can be easier to promote well in advance. You can also stream directly from your desktop.

You can use programs to simultaneously stream to multiple live streaming platforms and you can stream pre-recorded videos with programs such as OBS.

And at what point should you start streaming online? Is it best to wait until you have an audience and brand identity established? Or is trial and error a valid way of approaching this? 

You should just give it ago as you never know who could tune in.

Go live as much as possible to get used to it. Make sure you prepare things to talk about, you could even script it to start with until you feel more comfortable talking on camera.

As a performer on a live stream, how do you make it as engaging as possible for your audience? 

Think about how the performance will look. Use visuals, or think about your "stage area" - it could funny, it could be cool, try to make it rememberable to catch people's attention.

For example, I watched Disclosure do a live stream and the DJ booth was covered in plants! I'm not the biggest fan but it made me watch and even comment on the performance. Also, consider doing a long live stream, as the longer you are live the more viewers will potentially join. Another great feature with Instagram Live is how another user can join in with your live stream. Having some else join can double your opportunity to reach more people. 

Have you any advice on promoting a live stream? 

It's different for different platforms. However, I would say for all that it is important to write a catchy/engaging post with a good description of your live stream, to promote the main topic. This will add more value and make people more likely to engage. It is a good idea to set the exact time and date you plan to go live.

A good feature on Instagram is the interactive stickers in stories. With these, you can add a count down to your live stream and people can sign up for a reminder. Get people to ask you questions in advance so you can prepare." 

Alongside performing music, should you include other content too? Perhaps a Q&A? And how should you engage with your audience during a live stream? 

Yes exactly, this is what people like live streaming for! If you are performing and unable to respond to questions, note what questions are being asked and afterward you could do a post to respond to them. This shows you pay attention to their requests. At the beginning of your stream, write a comment about yourself and pin it, so all viewers can see what's that about. You could arrange a separate Q&A session and behind the scenes, it will also encourage the views to come back. You could make it a regular live stream and make followers come back for more insights this is how you build long term relationships with people who will support you. 

What should you do after your live stream? Are there any tips on how you should maximize opportunities from this? 

I would always recommend posting your Instagram Live stream as a story. You will probably get more people to view the live stream as a story in the long term. You can also download your live stream and post in on YouTube or Instagram TV.

How do you get an audience to come back for more? 

Consistency. Once you have established a time that works for you and people are engaging, you can create a series of live streams. Your audience will get used to it and more views will join if you are delivering constantly. 

What projects are keeping you busy? 

I'm currently writing my second EP which will hopefully be out early next year and you can check out all the updates on my Instagram. I also just started writing music for music libraries, it's something completely new and interesting to me. At the moment I am also writing a business plan for the online music tech learning school I want to launch this summer, this keeps me very busy.

There are two approaches in music jobs or any area - the first one is to wait for the opportunities to arise, and the second is to create it yourself. I prefer the latter because it gives you a lot of control. 

Great producers change the way the world listens

If you’re looking to turn heads with your own unique production style, ICMP’s pioneering approach to music education will provide everything you need. Our Music Production students all benefit from fully equipped Audient and SSL recording studios, Mac Labs, world-class gear, an exceptional team of tutors, masterclasses, exclusive events, collaborative opportunities, and a curriculum that covers studio and live work, engineering, composition, advanced skills, business, and professional development.

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

Production Courses
by Jim Ottewill
April 30, 2020
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