07-05-2020 / BY MUSICDIGI / TIPS

How to Host an Online Concert 

Social distancing has put a damper on any live performances at least through summer, which means artists won't be making money from live events for a while. With this important revenue stream cut off, how can musicians try to stay connected with fans and still give them the experience of a live performance without the risk? Don't worry! Live streaming concerts are a great way to release music and stay connected with fans right from your living room.

We're going to show you how to host a successful online show easily without breaking the bank.

Choose a Platform

First, you'll need to decide where you want to host your show. There are tons of options from social media live streaming options to more formal streaming options. Without extra software or services, you can only stream to one platform at a time, but there are tons of great choices. Focus on where your audience usually is when planning and promoting.

Here are a few options:

Facebook Live - Facebook live is a great option when you just want to jam live whenever you feel like it or if you are just starting to grow your audience. It lets you invite users, control who watches, and stream it again afterwards. You can let followers know you'll be logging on for a session beforehand, or you can just hop on and see who joins in. Plus, live content is prioritized over pre-recorded content, so you may attract even more viewers by going live. You can couple this with a virtual tip jar or post your PayPal.me, GoFundMe or Crowdfunder links to help bring in profit.

YouTube: YouTube Live is a great way to stream directly to fans from wherever you're at. To be able to Live stream on mobile, you have a YouTube channel with at least 1,000 subscribers, but it's free to stream through desktop or webcam.

Musicians can hold an event for free on sites like Eventbrite, which lets users stream events and pass on low per-ticket fees to ticket buyers.

Knowing what you want and who your audience is will help you narrow down your choice.

What Do I Need?

While pricy audio and video equipment can help make your show better by giving great quality entertainment to your audience, it's not necessary. Use what you've got - a digital camera, a phone, your computer - whatever works.

Consider your performance area and "set the stage" - literally. Make it feel like a live show so your viewers get the real live experience without having to be in the room with you. Get creative with lighting, props, and yourself.

Familiarize yourself with the online platform you choose, as well as your equipment, well beforehand to make sure there are no last minute complications. You can also incorporate add-ons like chat functions if you want more audience interaction.

Scheduling an Online Show

Knowing your audience is key. It's important to consider where your audience is and what they might be doing so you can grab them at the best time without losing their attention. If other artists are involved, be sure to agree on a date and time early on.

Make a plan for the time and try to avoid potential conflicts your audience might have. You should also think about when, where, and how often you'll want to post footage of the show.

Promote, Promote, Promote!

A concert isn't a concert if there's not audience, so make sure you properly market your show in advance to ensure the highest viewership possible.

Be sure to tell your followers:

- When it is
- How they can access
- The cost or if it is free
- Who is performing
- What you'll be doing

Like any show at a live venue, promotion is the key. Using social media can help you get RSVPs, sell tickets, and send invites to followers to get more eyes on your performance. Promoting earlier will help reduce potential conflicts as the show nears. You can also promote with countdowns and reminders beforehand.

Test Your Equipment

Not testing your equipment before a digital concert can spell disaster. Make sure to do a test run to ensure good sound quality and lighting ahead of time. There's nothing worse than having a huge audience excited to settle into a nice evening of good music only to be met with less-than-stellar sound or visuals that can result in a canceled gig.

Don't Forget to Thank Your Audience

As with any live show, don't just disappear at the end and log off. Be sure to connect with your viewers and let them know you appreciated them watching by saying thanks. You can also promote any new music, merch, or other events.

Get Creative

However you choose to weather the quarantine storm as a musician, it's important to try to be creative. While artists are earning more than ever by distributing their music through MusicDigi, many of the methods that worked before for artists just aren't possible at the moment, like live performances. So try something new to connect and make money - it may just end up becoming a part of your long-term strategy long after social distancing has ended.

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