You may have heard of Twitch as a streaming site for video games where people can tune into an individual’s channel and watch them play on a live stream. But how can this site help musicians? Because Twitch is growing in popularity among a whole host of people as a way of connecting with audiences and promoting work, a diverse group of professionals is using the platform to live stream, including visual artists, poker players and DJs. It’s a great tool to use to connect with a wider audience as well as promote what you’re currently working on. This could be WIPs (works in progress), live tournaments or what’s happening in the studio.
All you need to get started is an internet connection, a webcam and a microphone. Sign up for an account from the Twitch homepage and start customizing your setup. Once you have a channel, people can subscribe to it and you can begin to cultivate a loyal audience. To keep those subscribers happy and watching, however, you need to think about what type of content you’re going to broadcast. Remember, Twitch is all about forging a connection between the broadcaster and viewer, so the more informal and accessible the better.
Ideas to get you started can include inviting your viewers along to a jam session or band practice or your songwriting session as you work on lyrics or if you’re a producer, give them a sneak peek behind the scenes of what goes on in the studio. Viewers love to feel like they’re gaining access to an “exclusive” look at the creative process, and the more you can get them involved, the stronger their interest will become. With the Twitch chat room feature, you can even speak directly to anybody currently watching your live stream, so why not ask for their input and opinion on your current work? This way, putting together a project can become a more collaborative process between the artist and audience.
Twitch also offers a partnership scheme where channels can apply to be partners and therefore receive perks, such as paid subscriptions, advertising revenue and access to Bits (donations made by viewers). If you want to make the most of your channel, then this is worth considering. However, there are criteria to meet in most partner applications. Building a strong following first, with regular broadcasting times multiple times a week is a must if you want to achieve partnership status. It will also go a long way toward establishing your Twitch channel as a prime promotional tool for your music in general.
One musician who has already made a success of his Twitch channel is Deadmau5, who currently offers ad-free streaming, exclusive subscriber badges and subscriber-only chat for a monthly subscription. He boasts 312,835 followers, millions of watches on his channel and 417 saved videos spanning hours of live stream footage. This is a prime example of just how big the interest is in the behind-the-scenes work of musicians. If people enjoy your work enough to want to watch how it’s developed, then they are far more likely to put their money where their mouth is. Twitch capitalizes on this knowledge by offering the option to link viewers to your store and your website directly from your channel.
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