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Deliver a Hit Performance – The Guide

How to deliver a hit performance on an online stage. This is your StreetJelly Guide to getting started and enjoying the creation of memorable e-concerts.

MartinaSpecial guest blog by StreetJelly’s co-founder, Martina.
“Here are helpful tips for live streaming musical performances based on feedback and suggestions from StreetJelly musicians, viewers, and staff.”

Music is a beautiful addition to the lives of millions of people around the world. Modern technology allows us to reach audiences we were never able to reach several years ago. An online streaming music service is a venue much like any conventional venue which unites musical performers and viewers in one place. Just like traditional performances, an online show should be considered that, a real show. Let me explain in detail why viewers prefer certain performances over others.

Positive headline
It all starts with a positive headline. A positive headline will attract viewers to your show. It does not have to be super witty and the catch-all phrase of the century. Keep it simple with uplifting words, and let it explain the type of performance and music genre. Negative headlines, like “I’m bored,” are not appealing! They will instantly result in turning viewers away from your performance.

Inviting and clean performance space
Regardless where your webcam is pointing, your are setting a stage for your show. Depending on your performance style, it can be anything from a casual corner in your home to a professionally decorated stage in a concert hall. Individual musicians and fans enjoy different types of shows. No matter the style of your stage, make it appealing to the viewers. Remove trash, clutter, dirty laundry, or anything from the camera that is a distraction. Double-check your image in the broadcast window. Your performance is greatly enhanced by a pleasant, neat surrounding. Many viewers truly appreciate the effort put into a well crafted stage. It will be the center of their attention and often result in increased tips or loyal followers.

Fill out your profile
Once you caught the viewers’ attention, your audience will be interested in finding out more about you. Make it easy for them to get that information by filling out your StreetJelly profile. Don’t forget to add links to your website, Facebook fan page, YouTube videos, and so on. Viewers will look you up at their convenience. Add your full name to your Bio, as well. This will help in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and let viewers find you from Google and Bing.

No dead space during the performance
Prepare a show. Viewers appreciate the fact that some musicians can fulfill random requests. But generally, viewers enjoy a well prepared performance more. If you unexpectedly walk away from your show for extended periods of time and all your audience sees is an empty chair, it will result in losing viewers. Do not pause for more than a few minutes. If you have to take a longer break, end your show and tell the viewers you will return at a later time.

Put on a show, not a practice session
StreetJelly is a music performance site. Although we welcome performers with various skill levels, please do not use StreetJelly as a practicing platform. If your practice session is essentially identical to a performance and you consider it suitable for broadcasting, don’t label it as “only practicing.” (See “Positive headline” above.) This directs viewers to other performers who put on a well planned show.

Stage

“Flies” are Ok
StreetJelly gives viewers the option to chat during a performance, or to watch silently without logging in by name. We welcome both kinds of listeners. We call the viewers who don’t interact “Flies,” like a fly listening on the wall. Many regular viewers alternate between those two modes depending on where they are watching from, or their momentary listening preference. Some viewers prefer to remain anonymous all the time, some occasionally. We offer a guest tipping option for them, too, in case they wish to tip a musician and stay anonymous.

No official time limit on shows
Generally, a performance from 1 to 1½ hours appears to be very popular with viewers. We have several performers who put on longer shows with great success. It is up to each performer to choose how long and when they want to play. Any musician can pick a time and length of show convenient for him or her. StreetJelly has a wonderful community of supportive and respectful members. But every now and then, an individual musician will try to force his or her personal view (and time-slot) unto others about performance times, show durations, and so on. If you have any questions about this, please contact us at support@streetjelly.com.

No recordings
We do not allow playing full recorded music as karaoke or background accompaniment. This is a licensing issue and we ask you to follow this rule. In case we detect a violation of this policy, we reserve the right to shut down any performance. We do allow “backtracks.” Consider a backtrack recording as adding an extra instrument or two to your performance. Many musicians create their own original backtracks ahead of time.

Fill out your playlist
StreetJelly pays the licensing cover fees to various songwriter associations (BMI, ASCAP, etc.). Please fill out your playlist to ensure an accurate distribution of royalties. Maintaining your playlist repertoire will help you plan out your next show, too.

Don’t steal viewers from another performer’s show
Many musicians work hard to build their audience. Please do not go into an ongoing show and ask viewers to watch you instead. Committing this social faux-pas will instantly raise the eye-brows of both viewers and fellow musicians. They will boycott your show, guaranteed!

PG 13
Please keep your language suitable to a “PG 13” movie. We try to provide a pleasant environment for ALL our viewers and ensure an enjoyable experience for the majority of StreetJelly members. Read more about this topic: What is a Family Friendly Site?

Music can improve our daily lives on so many levels. It unites people, helps many of us through difficult times, or simply entertains us. We would like to thank everyone who visits this online venue and shares our passion for music and music lovers.

Martina
StreetJelly co-founder

SJ Busking Blog – Basement Busking Advice

Special guest blog by StreetJelly performer: Rewind.
SJ Busking Blog – Basement Busking Advice.

Rewind

Rewind

Years ago I used to busk on Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado. It was a great way to get my music in front of a wider audience as well as make some extra money. Some days I would earn just a few bucks, and others I would come home with a lot more. StreetJelly is the closest thing to an online version of busking I have found. Call it basement busking. I learned a lot of performance tips during my time busking, and many of those are relevant to online busking from the basement. We recently had the chance to take StreetJelly on the road and travel to Asheville, NC to talk with the Asheville Busker’s Collective. I thought it would be a good time to go ahead and publish a blog post on some of these basement busking tips I learned from my Pearl Street days.

•    Be prepared. I would never think of playing a song in front of a group of people while busking if I didn’t know the song well. Learn the lyrics if it’s a cover song and know which key you are going to play the song in. Bring a cheat sheet as a backup. If you know you are going to play a song that you need a cheat sheet for in advance, look it up online and keep a separate window open on your computer that you can quickly switch to. Have a set list planned out in advance. It’s not a problem to stray from your set list, but it can help you if you get stuck trying to remember what the heck you were going to play.

•    Minimize the time you spend in between each song. If you have a story to tell about the song, that’s fine, but it’s best to keep it brief. When you’re busking, most people are walking by, and you have a short stretch of time to catch their attention. This is true of basement busking, too. If someone pops into your show, and you are tuning for a long time or spending lots of time figuring out what song to do next, chances are good that person will leave your show and go check out something else.

Shop Light•    Don’t wait for requests. It’s human nature that people connect to songs they already know and like, so lots of musicians throw cover songs into their set to maintain crowd interest. You can ask your audience if they have any requests. But if they don’t answer quickly, don’t wait around until they do. Chances are good you won’t know it, and most of the time the viewers just want to hear whatever you want to play.

•    Location, location, location. For anyone who has ever busked outside, you know how crucial location can be. With online busking, your location is often wherever in your house you set up; basement, living room, garage, and so on. Before you broadcast, look at how your performance will look to your viewers. Is the lighting good? You’d be amazed at what a lamp or a shop light duct taped to a mic stand can do. Is there a bunch of junk in the background that distracts from your performance? Maybe change locations or put up a backdrop. I made a cheap frame out of PVC pipe and hung a blanket over it when I had to broadcast from a room that had a lot of other stuff going on.PVC Frame

If you have any other basement busking tips, share them in the comments section below.

Simple Stereo Broadcasting by Bill Hall

Special guest blog by StreetJelly performer: Bill Hall.
Thoughts on the new StreetJelly.com “Jellycaster” stereo broadcasting process (and optional simple stereo set up).

Bill HallOverview:
The StreetJelly.com stereo broadcasting system nicknamed “Jellycaster” not only supports stereo broadcasting but it supports such broadcasting in exceptional high fidelity. I believe it is as good or better than you will have available on any other streaming sites. On StreetJelly, we have a very varied group of performers with different ways of presenting their music and all will benefit from this excellent available sound process.

For example: Some musicians add pre-recorded stereo background tracks from commercially available software programs such as “band in a box” or even separate drum machines. Some performers like adding effects such as reverb, chorus and vocal harmonizers. All can be done with varying amounts of complexity and all can sound great when heard via the Jellycaster.

My own simple stereo set up:
In my particular case, I use two microphones in a simple stereo setup called an XY configuration (described well in the Shure stereo microphone tutorial link below). I set up the microphones about chin level and two feet away to pick up my guitar and vocal as one stereo signal. Please note: I am by no means saying it is the best way to go but it just works for me and is simple to set up for acoustic musicians/singers. It also is a very pure stereo signal.

Getting a simple stereo set-up into the computer:
Some choices for transferring this type of simple stereo broadcasting into the computer are: 1) Use a USB audio interface, containing some good mic pre-amps and good analog to digital converters (Mackie, M-Audio, Pre-sonus and other companies produce these). They are now relatively inexpensive A simple two channel version is about $100-$200 U.S.. 2) Use one of the nice USB stereo microphones available today for a reasonable price, or 3) Buy a small format USB mixer that has at least two channels equipped with simple one knob compressors and effects (most importantly reverb).

My recommended option:
For the simple type of stereo set up as described herein, I recommend option 3). It gets you all the basic variables that are most important for good sound. Companies such as Yamaha, Behringer, and Samson make stereo USB mixers for $100-$200 U.S. equipped as described herein. This allows you to to apply some reverb for a little ambiance to all Channels (usually 4-12 in small format mixers). That said, all you need for an XY set up are two channels with a little stereo reverb and some simple compression (to make the overall sound a little fuller and tame the peaks a bit).
Below, is a link to Samson’s YouTube video describing their models just to give a nice idea of the essential features. Note: all the brands have nice microphone pre-amps on these models nowadays.

Summary:
Again, this is just a recommendation for getting there simply. More elaborate set-ups will sound wonderful on the Jellycaster as well. Contact me if you want any help setting up such a simple system at billhall@billhall.us

Thanks to Frankie and Martina for getting this great Stereo option in place.
Bill

Shure Website – Stereo microphone configuration (see XY)
http://www.shure.co.uk/support_download/educational_content/microphones-basics/stereo_microphone_techniques

Samson on YouTube – good simple video included on their small format stereo mixers

Streaming Great Sound, Quick and Easy, at Live Venues

This past week, we had an opportunity to broadcast two live shows from different venues.  First, our own Rewind had a Friday night gig down at the SawWorks Brewing Company in Knoxville’s “Old City.”  Then, on Saturday, we broadcasted the Hundred Acres band on stage at Sound Biscuit studios.  Each broadcast was different, but with some very simple equipment set ups, the sound and streaming came out crisp and clear.

The Night Club / Pub Gig

Most musicians will eventually find themselves performing at night clubs, cafés, open mics, etc.  Rewind, a StreetJelly and local Knoxville musician, performed a Friday night show in the confines of a typical brew-pub.  The venue was an industrial warehouse converted to gentrified hipster hangout (just kidding, it’s a very nice place with super nice people).  It was a last minute decision and permission from the owner to broadcast on StreetJelly.  With ten minutes to go before the show started, we fired up the laptop, plugged in our regular webcam, and pulled out a new-in-box Blue Yeti USB microphone.

First, a brief description of the live music and venue.  Rewind and band mate, Thad Bissett, were set up with typical gear: two guitars, mics, foot pedals, mixer board, two PA speakers (one for the room and one as a monitor).  The room size fit a half-dozen large round tables, a bar that ran the length of one wall, and a counter / register area by the front door.  About 25 people were present at the time. It was probably not the best space, however, for producing live music: concrete floors, brick/cinder-block walls, and an exposed metal truss ceiling.  Anyway, Rewind and Thad had their gear set up sounding good for the room.SawWorks

For the StreetJelly broadcast, we unwrapped the Blue Yeti and connected the USB into the laptop.  (No software applications were running at the time, no browsers, and no connection to SJ.)  The installation software already exists within the mic.  So when connecting the USB cord, the Blue Yeti installs itself.  The installation took only a few seconds, and the laptop did NOT need to be rebooted.  We opened up a browser (Firefox), navigated to StreetJelly, and everything was ready to go the first try.  (I’m still amazed how easy this worked.)  We placed the mic about 10 ~ 12 ft from the stage, and set its selector position to bi-directional stereo.  Basically, that means the two internal condenser mics pick up sound at 180° apart.  On the mic, we set the gain around 1/4 from the lowest setting.  On StreetJelly, we set the sound input around 1/3.  That’s it!  Really, that was it.  Sound was very clean with no distortions, pops, or clicks.Blue Yeti

 

The Stage Gig

Next up was broadcasting a 6-piece band, called Hundred Acres.  This was a full professional stage set up in a large corrugated metal building, with half the side opened to the outside.  The space held a 100+ guests inside and out.  Sound Biscuit is a professional recording studio, so needless to say there were more mics, cables, speakers, spot lights, and cool stuff that one could count in any single glance.  Oddly enough, however, the main sound board did not have an extra stereo feed out.  It was already being used for something else.Sound Biscuit board

Our solution was to place two (cheapo) dynamic mics close to the main PA speakers from the stage.  Again, we always recommend going for the simplest set up for streaming on StreetJelly.  You can see in the pics, we placed each mic around 18″ from the center of the PA.  Note: make sure you place the distance of each mic from the PA the same for each channel.  This will make balancing the channels later much easier.Left Right Mics

We plugged in the two mics’ XLR connectors into our Alesis USB Multi-mixer.  This device then plugs into our laptop via USB and gets recognized as any common sound input device to the computer.  We have used the Alesis many times on this laptop broadcasting on SJ, so the computer already was configured for this.  We did have to tweak the gain and output levels on the mixer, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Phantom power was turned off.Alesis

Again, it was a very simple set up to broadcast: two dynamic mics shoved close to the main PA speakers, the USB mixer, and the same Logitech webcam we always use.  The sound streamed extremely well.

Verifying the Output

When you are broadcasting a live show, it’s always tricky to know exactly how well it sounds over the internet.  Listening to headphones from your computer or from the mixer’s main-out is virtually impossible to give a good indication.  The sound in the room almost always overpowers the headphones.  Yes, asking the audience “how does it sound?” is extremely important.  But sometimes the best way to check is to check yourself.  In both broadcasts, we took our mobile phones outside (way outside), plugged in good studio headphones into our phones, and watched the actual StreetJelly broadcast ourselves for a true sound check.  It’s the only way to know for sure.

A Word about WiFi
Jetpack Mifi

In both cases, we used our Verizon Mifi / Jetpack device to connect to the internet.  It’s 4g capable and almost always streams well for StreetJelly shows.  But in both cases, especially in the industrial warehouse gig, the wifi signal cut out a few times.  It was very brief, but enough to cause the stream to buffer.  Next time, we would really like to get a dedicated wired internet connection from the venues.

To recap, keep your configuration as simple as possible.  In our scenarios, the show’s sound was separate from broadcasting.  Let the musicians and sound engineers do what they do best.  Then, capture that sound from your own mics for your broadcast.

Happy Streaming!

Are you an Anti-marketer?

Special guest blog about the “Drive-by” from StreetJelly blues musician: Clifton Printy

An interesting phenomenon occurs every few months or so. I call it “anti-marketing.” There are those who for some reason feel entitled to viewers coming to their shows. Some are atrocious hacks and some are superb artists, but almost all of them are completely without a following. They get on StreetJelly and play for a short while.

"Did you just pull a Drive-by?"

“Did you just pull a Drive-by?”

As a passerby, they wander through other shows gradually adopting the attitude wanting… no demanding… other musicians’ viewers. Then :bam! They announce in someone else’s show for those viewers to come to their show. It’s the infamous “Drive-by,” the biggest faux-pas you can make in online live streaming.

There are regulars on the site who have shared so much of their crowd.  Like Larry, Lana, Image and Family, Heading West, and Kelly_Mark who have honed their branding and created a crowd. Larry brought his following with him. He still frequents other shows and introduces many to the SJ family. He advertises his shows on Facebook and talks directly with his followers. Beside him being a professional musician, Larry constantly checks out new artists and encourages them. Heading West spent months supporting SJ members before ever doing a show. Lana sends out tagged Facebook posts to her followers and her fans every single show. She supports other shows and engages the audience directly from her show. Image and Family has supported everyone, worked to solve problems, created events for other artists, and sends random swag to individuals. Kelly_Mark has done a few shows and has supported hundreds.

The examples are endless and exactly what it takes to relate to a crowd in the modern age. We deliberately build connections with our followers. It helps them identify with us and conversely us with them. We connect and support one another. There will probably be viewers at any given show, as it is at most venues. But we must not forget this is a stage. Your viewership here depends on you, your sound, your ability to perform, how well you engage the audience, and how well you treat others.

The problem I see with the drive-by is not only for the musician getting his viewers barked at, but also for that person committing the blunder. It is very hard to discern the talent level or personal attitude of the individual. They may very well be a person of quality and integrity with a great show to offer. Because of this I think a lot of us are willing to overlook the intrusion into our time, and the disruption of our show’s flow. We try to encourage the other artist to the extent that we pseudo endorse the encouragement of that artist. Our fans also reciprocate the same. So that person then some how has become part of our “brand.” Basically, the people on SJ are so nice that the offender may not even know he has trampled on others.

Further; there are many performers in these virtual settings that feel entitled to a stage. It is important to consider that these shows and the attendance is not always about talent. Sometimes we are talking about long forged friendships and value systems. As an example, would a Christian band’s fan-base be likely to attend a death metal band show? Probably not. So why would an artist expect to solicit viewers from a completely different genre? Also, it does happen sometimes that a great performer sits empty on SJ while at the same time a so/so artist has a great draw. It’s just something we have to accept.

Having witnessed the huge heart of our regular StreetJelly crowd, I know how hard it is for people to discourage certain behaviors. There is, however, no benefit for you as an individual artist to allow this bad behavior, i.e. the drive-by. Go ahead and say, “It is really not polite to come to my show and tell people your are going to play in 10 minutes.”  My friends, it is not about attitude nor is it rude. Would you go to an amphitheater and ask the people to come to the parking lot for a show? Would it be polite to walk up to the stage at a local pub and ask people over the microphone to come next door in ten minutes? It is an unethical practice that steals from the moment of the performing musician, and puts the offender in an unfavorable light. The dreaded Drive-by is the opposite of marketing. It’s anti-marketing!

Flash 17.0.0.169 Issues

UPDATE: May 12th, 2015

Adobe releases Flash version 17.0.0.188 with fixes to this problem. Go to Adobe’s website to get the latest version.

UPDATE: April 16th, 2015

We applied a patch on our side to prevent the issues of garbled sound. Essentially, we turned off the automatic sample-rate checking for audio. Apparently, Adobe has recognized this issue and has put in a bug-report for the Flash Player. Currently, our patch is working and users should not have to rollback their Flash versions (latest version 17.0.0.169 should work!). Let us know if you still continue with problems.

April 15th, 2015

We have had numerous reports, and confirmed it with our own computers, that the latest version of Flash released yesterday, version 17.0.0.169, is causing problems for some playing back streaming video. Symptoms include garbled sound; digital distortion; and/or video speeds up and slows down, then stops and restarts. We have witnessed this problem on Windows 7 and 8, Firefox and Chrome.  However, there are reports to us that this has happened on Safari, Opera (Linux), etc.

If you think you are experiencing these problems, and everything worked on your computer a few days ago; first let’s check what version of Flash have.  Click this link: What Version of Flash do I have?

How to fix the problem?  The current “fix” is to uninstall the latest version of Flash and reinstall the prior one, 17.0.0.134. This is not our favorite approach, but as of today (4/15) this is the only option.  We continue to investigate a better solution.

The full instructions are here from Adobe: Install a Previous Version of Flash

We understand its tricky and appreciate your patience.  Here are our simplified instructions.

  1. First, download and execute the Flash Uninstaller.
    1. Windows  Scroll down to “1. Download the uninstaller for Flash Player” and click on the bullet “uninstaller” link and follow instructions.
    2. Mac  Scroll down to “2. Run the uninstaller applicable to your Mac OS version” and click on the link for your appropriate Mac version.  Follow uninstall instructions.
  2. Install previous version of Flash. Last good version was 17.0.0.134
    1. Click here Archived Flash Player versions
    2. Scroll down to the Flash Player Archives section
    3. Choose the link to Flash Player 17.0.0.134 (235.98 MB)
    4. This will download a compressed zip file to your computer.  Use any unzip program on your computer to decompress to a local folder.
    5. There will be a file to install version 17.0.0.134 for both Windows and Mac in the list.
      1. Windows: execute (double-click) on flashplayer17_0r0_134_win.msi  for Firefox/Chrome plugins, or flashplayer17_0r0_134_winax.msi for IE. Follow instructions.
      2. Mac: install the DMG file as you would normally install any application in Mac O/S.  flashplayer17_0r0_134_mac.dmg or flashplayer17_0r0_134_mac_pkg.dmg to extract a PKG package (double-click PKG to install)
  3. For Chrome users, you have one more step. Chrome uses its own embedded version of Flash. You have to turn off that “plugin” and tell Chrome to use the one you just installed.
    1. In Chrome, type “chrome://plugins” into the address bar.  This will bring up the Plugins configuration page on your computer.
    2. Click on “+Details” in the upper right corner to expand plugin details.
    3. Scroll down until you see the “Adobe Flash Player” (Shockwave Flash) in the list. You should see two files. “Disable” the one pointing to location “…\pepflashplayer.dll”
    4. “Enable” the one pointing to location “…\NPSWF32_xxxx.dll”
    5. Close and restart Chrome.

Some notes: uninstalling and reinstalling will require you to close down all your browsers and restart them.

Please contact us for any assistance.  support@streetjelly.com

Building Profitable Entertainers

Special guest blog by StreetJelly musician Clifton Printy to help his fellow musicians.

Building Profitable Entertainers

Clifty and Jim

Clifty and Jim

So here’s the deal.

You know at StreetJelly we have been building a series about promoting yourself and succeeding as a musician. Guess what? It is hard work. A creative and diversified approach to generating income will help today’s musicians earn a living.

Your fans, in one form or another, are your customers. But! Don’t try to sell to them. The idea is to be their friend, be in their heart and minds. When they are ready to buy, they will buy. You are their trusted pal.

Did I call your fans customers? Why yes! And if you don’t see them that way, you might quit now and save yourself some time. Your Music is your Brand. If you plan on any monetary success from your fans, then they have to be viewed as customers.

So don’t abuse them like spamming their email with, “buy my this and that.” Remember, they will come to you when they are ready.

Mentally put your suit on. You are a business. This is the music business so get into your business brain. Start spit balling. What would you buy? Here’s a few off the cuff ideas.

A “Love eating lobster and listening to Slam” stickerSummer Red Riding Hood
“That’s my Kind of Music! Danny Campo” coffee cup.
The !clifty: Coffee cup
Summer Russell’s “Red Riding Hood Feet-Pajamas”
Lana’s “Christmas Bunny Hoodie”

So, ideally in a business you deliver a product and your customers pay you for it. For musicians, you are asking them to support your musical livelihood.

Are you making a plan?

Let’s start with some baby steps. Do you have customers? Maybe an email list of fans?
Try this to-do list…

  1. Start a newsletter.
    Goal, populate an email list and send out a bi-monthly newsletter to your fans.
  2. Set a fan base goal. Let’s call it 500 people for this.
  3. When you are at 500 people ask them what they want.
  4. Deliver it for a price.

So here is your assignment. Think up your own ideas. Share them with your friends by commenting below. Make a difference. And thank you for contributing to the livelihood of your fellow musicians, BTW.  ~Clifton Printy

How to get a 1000 Viewers

Special group-guest blog by StreetJelly musicians: Clifton Printy, Peter Bensen, Josh Cline, Image and Family.  They have a combined 28,900+ viewerships to their StreetJelly shows …and still growing.

How to get a Thousand Viewers?

Here’s a clue for you. If you want to set records for the most viewers in an online show, own the world record for the most tips, become an internet streaming pop icon, and maybe even have some fun while making a little scratch; here is all you need to do…

Don’t Suck!

So where do we start? At a show with no viewers, of course. We have all been there. No fun at all. So what should you do? Get viewers! Not too difficult really. What is your mom doing? How about your best friend? Where are you fans from the real world? Did you invite them? Are you using the twitter link? Did you post your show on Facebook? It doesn’t take much time to post a message telling your friends that you are performing.  Also, it may seem like such a small thing, but it’s amazing how much people respond to the personal touch. Send them a message to ask them out to your show.

1,000s of ViewersYou can get a little creative, too. How about posting, “live music no cover with free imaginary drinks,” on your favorite social venue. It works! Try it!

If you have the computer savvy, try using Photoshop, or other such programs, to create posters for your shows. You can post them on Facebook or any other social media type sites to help get your name out there. Print a couple off for your job, friends, and acquaintances. (editors note, i.e. Frankie – try BandPosters.com)

Next, Don’t Suck! No one wants to hear the beginning of Stairway to Heaven sixteen times only to listen to 4 bars of Smoke on the Water. One song well performed is worth more than 100  hours of garbage.

Are you interacting with your guests? Ask them if there is anything about your show they “don’t love” (answers could hurt, but you’ll get an answer).  Want to engage someone? Ask them about themselves.  Be gracious and friendly. Support other artists. Support other artist supporters. Try dedicating a song to your viewers, it’s a great way to show them that you appreciate their support.

It helps to acknowledge your viewers. They are “gold” to you. Try to mention EVERY visitors name. People LOVE hearing their name treated respectfully. Keep an eye on the comments, clappies, and tips. You’ll get a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. Play what the audience says is good (another hard pill to swallow). Let them tell you if it’s good.

Be aware that every show is different. It’s all good. You can do a killer show with only 5 viewers or a horrible show with 20, and those five viewers will come back.  I’ve even found that mistakes I’ve made in a performance are not always caught by the audience. They can still be entertained by a less than perfect show.

The idea is to keep your nose to the wheel. When in doubt, PLAY!!! As it has been said, “If you build it, they will come”. StreetJelly beats performing on your sofa alone for your metronome. People will come and go, but your (total) viewers will accumulate!

Don’t just be a performer in an ivory tower. Watch other shows! Become an active part of the StreetJelly community. There are a lot of people participating in the StreetJelly “thing.” Making new friends, and showing an interest in other artists will foster a curiosity about you, in viewers of other shows. Also, glean from other shows. Nobody knows everything. There is more to know about performing. You can learn a lot from what other people do. Stand on the shoulders of the giants that have gone before you. And, if you can’t stand a show then I like to say, “take the chicken and spit out the bones.” Take the stuff that works and try it. It can be a big help.

“Not sucking” contains a few ingredients. It’s more than playing your instrument, and singing in key. Your overall image as a performer is huge. An engaging, friendly player/singer will do better in the long run at this racket than a pure virtuoso that has the personality of a cardboard box. That doesn’t mean that you need to be something you’re not. It means that consideration for your audience, and their desires will be rewarded in the long run.

The most important part of a successful show is to have fun. If you are enjoying yourself it will show and it will rub off on your audience.

Lastly friends, you are a visionary, so pony up. You have seen that the internet age is going to change the world. You have stated that eventually everyone will want to interact directly with their favorite artist. You know that this is the herald of a new age for performance of music. Time to pay for your entertainment. What? Oh yes we have to make this work from both ends. Why should someone believe that this is a legitimate venue and support you when you wouldn’t support it yourself? Where is the crowd? What are you?

Great Sound, Simple

I had this question come in the other day, it’s always worth repeating for everyone.  ~Frankie

Blue SnowballWhat do I need to have a good broadcast quality?  -Bob

Hello Bob,
The best way to get a good broadcast is to have a quality mic input for your computer.  Most webcams these days all look great – so any decent webcam you can find at Walmart will do fine.

For sound, it depends a lot on the type of performance you put on.  If it’s a singer-and-a-guitar kind of show, then all you need is a good USB “podcast” mic.  We recommend a Blue Snowball ($50) – http://amzn.to/1u3MyaT

Alesis 4 Channel MultimixerFor a more complicated setup: multiple mics, amps, keyboards, etc – the best approach is to mix them (with a multi-mixer) before you connect it all to your computer.  A great product to do this is an Alesis 4-Channel Multi-mixer (under $60) – http://amzn.to/1vt77Nt  Like the Snowball mic, this is a USB plug-in to your computer.  Your computer will see all your sound as one simple mic input source.  They both give great sound and make it VERY easy to hookup.

-Frankie

The key here is simplicity.  I’ve seen it many times over where tech-gurus try to perfect their sound with computer software – especially those who use a computer as their mixing board, effects machine, and so on.  It just takes much more processing power (CPU cycles) for your computer to mix multiple sound inputs AND broadcast the video upstream.  And there are always a zillion more things that can go wrong.

So the advice is – process everything before it gets to the computer you are broadcasting from.