Streaming your Music Live with StageIt, Ustream, and Justin.tv 13


StageIt, Ustream.tv, and Justin.tv. Virtual shows and concerts for your band.Can a band make money off virtual live shows from their rehearsal room? Can they gain more fans on a global level by streaming live shows, rehearsals, and private events? Instead of hauling heavy gear, spending tons on gas, and not knowing a show’s turnout, can bands lower their risk and make their fans happy?

I have no clue, but I want to try! Recently, I’ve been introduced to StageIt, a service that lets you stream a live show, but allows you to charge for entrance. Also, StageIt has a handy tip jar that anyone can tip for your performance.

This got me thinking about virtual shows. Honestly, I’ve recommended them, but never used them. I think the idea is fabulous to promote your music, but StageIt has made me think that it could actually be profitable. And, the coolest thing for my band, we can start playing shows without being fully ready for a live show. (I’m still learning how to play bass and sing at the same time. Shut up!)

This lead me down to a brief, but disappointing, search for video streaming services for music. Here’s the main irksome things: pro audio, multiple cameras, and private viewing (Invite-only). I’ll talk about that later. First, here’s the services I know of that musicians use. I’m sure there’s more, but I’m a noob. Yell at me in the comments!

Ustream.tv and Justin.tv

The Good:
Both Ustream.tv and Justin.tv are easy to sign up for and immediately start streaming. There’s no restriction to the viewers just tuning in and viewing you. Plus, Justin.tv allows a lot of customization and branding of your channel. I even see that you can add Twitter chats with your own hashtags.

Fans can participate. They can chat through text or using their webcams.

Ustream allows you to record and share your performance on YouTube.

The Bad:
Both services are ad driven. When you first start watching a channel, you are subjected to irritating, 30 second ads that you can’t skip. That means fans tuning in will miss 30 seconds of your performance. Ustream allows you to get rid of these ads, but the monthly cost is prohibitive.

You can’t charge for shows. It’s live or nothing. Ustream has options for customizing how your streams are shared, but, again, the costs are prohibitive.

The streaming quality is questionable. I recorded a brief test video, and it was highly pixelated.

You can’t record your videos to sell later. On Ustream, you can record your show, but you don’t have access to download it. You’re only given the option of sharing it on YouTube. Which is both a plus and a minus.

Uses:

Quick and easy streaming of your rehearsals, shows, or impromptu streams. You can use this to generate interest in your new music, your album, or to create a buzz about upcoming shows. In addition, you can use the streams to engage fans and gather new fans. Just imagine a regular live stream that people look forward to. A weekly, live engagement that fans can participate in.

In addition to you playing music, you can use this to just interact with people. Leave it open as a Q&A session, a drinking game, or whatever crazy thing that enters your imagination.

StageIt

The Good:
StageIt is cool. You can charge for people to see your online shows! Or you can just make it an optional donation for people to watch your stream. In addition, people can tip you while you play!

The Bad:
StageIt requires fans to signup. Signups could chase people away. In order for people to pay and tip, they have to enter their financial information. This could definitely scare people away.

StageIt has some weird, messed up payment thing. They say that 10 “Notes” costs a dollar. I’m not sure what that crap means. It reminds me of Xbox Live which has the “points” system, so you have no clue what the hell you’re actually spending. Personally, I don’t need trickery with my money. I like to know exactly what costs what without having to convert some stupid virtual currency.

No recording of your shows. Only the one stream, and it’s gone forever. I would like the option to have the show recorded, so I could either sell it to the viewers or offer it as an incentive to sign up for my email list. Or give it to them as a thank you for watching.

StageIt is slow to activate performer accounts. It’s been a few days since I signed up and still haven’t been approved. So I can’t tell you what percentage they take from your shows. Also, I couldn’t test it to see how the interface works. I’ll have to get back to you on that in a future post.

Uses:
Make money from online shows! You have to rehearse your shows anyways, right?

Only perform encores based on tips. Sneaky!

Monthly virtual shows that can reach a global audience.

Team up with other bands and have full fledged virtual concerts.

Testing the waters

This is my initial dip into these streaming services to do virtual concerts. In my next post, I will discuss some drawbacks, hurdles, and my plans for my band to start conducting experiments. I’m really excited to start!

If you have experience with these services, let me know in the comments. Or, better yet, tell me something cool you’ve done with these streaming services to get money or more fans, and I will feature you on this blog! Send me an email at seth@howtorunaband.com.

 


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13 thoughts on “Streaming your Music Live with StageIt, Ustream, and Justin.tv

  • Tia

    Hey,

    I wanted to let you know that even if you could get the videos onto iTunes, there is a way to copy the videos to DVD. I don’t remember exactly how (once I do remember I can email to let you know) but I’m sure you can google how to copy videos to DVD. I’ve done it. I copied a whole USHER concert and am thinking about doing the same for other artists that I like. But if you can get your UStream videos to YouTube, you can definitely copy it the videos to DVD.

    • Chris "Seth" Jackson Post author

      Thanks for the heads up, Tia! I love hacking the system! :) Ideally, I’d like to get the video and audio before it’s crunched and reduced in quality. And if it’s already for free online, there’s not much of a point in selling it. But, I guess you could put it on YouTube long enough to copy it, then remove the video. Or make it unlisted.

      Hmmm. Thank you for the food for thought. I need to experiment with this to see what quality I can get. It’d be really cool to sell a super high-quality version for those that tuned in.

      • Tia

        Well as you know the quality of the videos is dependant on the quality of your lens. My concert videos that I put together came out great because the cameras used were great. It might be size heavy but thats what DVDs are for, right?

          • Tia

            No its not a link… Remember. Some kind of way I downloaded the videos from youtube (using Youtube Downloader probably). And then I figured out how to burn the videos to DVD with my MAC. But I don’t remember what I did. I think it was just a matter of locating the videos on my computer and copying them to another place where they could be burned with the DVD software that came with the computer. Then I burned them onto 3 or 4 DVDs.

            The whole point was that if your video quality is great, you can use the videos that were automatically uploaded to Youtube (from UStream or whatever site you were saying). And I’m sure once you have saved the videos on your computer, you can edit them as you like. Mix it all together and create your DVD.

          • Chris "Seth" Jackson Post author

            Ahhh. I was hoping you had a sample up on YouTube without me buying DVDs. :) I’m curious because I’ve heard reports that Ustream’s quality can vary. If it only records the resulting stream at a lower bitrate, it’s not going to be something I’d want to sell.

            But it sounds like you had success with this! I’ll check it out. Especially if Ustream preserves the HD quality of your upload.

  • Sibley

    We’d love to have you try out StreamJam, which takes the Ustream or Justin.tv (or Livestream) broadcast to the next level for fans with a virtual venue. We have lots more we’ll be adding in the months ahead, but a first version is up as a Facebook app / embeddable on your site. You can sign up as an artist at http://www.streamjam.com All feedback welcome.