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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.

Branding, the Key to Large Crowds and Fans

StreetJelly starts a new blog series on Marketing and Artist Promotion.

Stand Out from the Crowd

Stand Out from the Crowd

Whether you are fairly new to StreetJelly or part of a larger following of regular StreetJelly performers; you almost certainly notice the steadily increasing number of artists who draw a large audience. These musicians are the envy of most performers on StreetJelly. There is no magic trick behind attracting an audience of die-hard-fans. You can follow some simple steps that can lead to an increase in viewer numbers and even a cult of followers who will go above and beyond to tip, attend shows, and promote your music. It all boils down to Branding: the who – your name, the what – what you are all about, and the how – how you spread the word.

Who – the Artist Name  Don’t underestimate the power of your artist name. StreetJelly allows you to create a unique profile name (at least 5 characters) that becomes your own StreetJelly link. Think of it as your “stage name.” Choose a name that is pleasant and meaningful. It is tempting to choose something cool, but keep in mind that names which are associated with unpleasant events in life might deter people from going to your show. Pick something that defines you as a person or your music. It is perfectly fine to be inventive, but toilet references or violent phrases can be an automatic turn off to your shows.

Recommendations: keep it simple; choose a name that you are comfortable being addressed by; and when in doubt, use your actual name or family nickname.

What – Are you All About  What does that mean? It’s your personal identity. Your intent is to create a strong bond with your audience so they feel a deep connection to you. The key to a large loyal fan base is a personal and individual approach to communicating with your fans. It literally means conversing with them one on one. It is about exchanging interests and skills in everyday life. If you lend a helping hand to someone, often people will remember you and support your own agenda. We often call this “networking,” or the building of productive relationships.

StreetJelly is a great avenue for networking since you get to talk live to your fans. Think about what you say during your shows, how you want people to perceive you, and what you post later online in other social media communities. Talk to people, a lot of people, everyone you meet.

How – You Spread the Word  Many Streetjelly artists support each other and attend each other’s shows. This is wonderful, but it is important to attract your own personal audience. Maybe your friends or family, your coworkers, or neighbors enjoy live music. Let them know that you are performing on StreetJelly. Inform them about your upcoming shows and share your talent with as many people as possible. Soon your audience will grow and you will be one of the artists with the popular show. This will attract even more fans. Crowds attract crowds. Connect with this audience and make them watch you perform over and over.

Remember, do not spam a huge number of people on social media. Your posts will get lost in the sea of noise out there. But do individually invite people you know to your shows. And ask them to share your invitations. Rotate through different groups of people you know, too. It’s unpleasant to burden the same people all the time.

Branding is forming memories, opinions, representing ideals, and stirring emotions. You build loyal fans that associate your name and performance with a specific mixture of musical talent and personal charm. Building that deep bond takes time and commitment. But it’s simple. Get to know your fans, entertain them with your music, help them out when you can. Good luck out there!

First Gig Advice from a Newbie

First Gig Advice from a Newbie, by Rewind

Special guest blog about playing the very first time on StreetJelly.

Rewind TN

Rewind TN

After watching other shows on StreetJelly for a few weeks, I decided it was time for me to test it out from the other side of the webcam. I had seen and listened to how things sounded through other people’s gear and knew what I wanted to do. Also, I had made connections with other performers who ended up tuning in to my first performance.  I purchased a webcam for the video (since my computer is ancient), and I used the same gear I have previously used for recording to handle the audio (mics, mixing board, audio interface). Here are a few pointers for your first broadcast:

  • Take advantage of the “Test Broadcast Settings” button before you go live. You get to this from the broadcast page, right above the “Start the Show” button. Even though it might look and sound great on your end, you want to know how it will come across to the viewers. Maybe your lighting is terrible. Maybe your mics are distorting. Maybe there is no audio at all. This will help you figure all that out.
  • Make sure your computer’s power settings are such that your computer does not go to screensaver mode while you are performing. That makes it a bit challenging to interact with the viewers.
  • Let your friends know that you are planning to perform on StreetJelly and give them the web address. Chances are good that at least some of them will tune in. There are casual viewers who will likely tune in anyway, but it’s always a good idea to bring along folks you know, just like at a “regular” gig.
  • I was confused when I didn’t show up on the main screen after I scheduled my first show. It showed up in the little scrolling banner on the side of the screen, but not in the main area. This is normal, as you don’t show up there until your first broadcast has begun.
  • Have a tentative set list. This will help you avoid long periods of silence in between your songs. But be flexible in case a viewer suggests a song you know how to play.

RewindI had a blast with my first show on StreetJelly, and I plan to be a regular.  It was fun to be able to interact with music fans I had never met before. Think of it like you would any other gig. It’s all about playing great music and connecting with the viewers. If you just play songs and don’t interact at all, it doesn’t create a great experience. One last thing:  have fun!

-Rewind

http://www.soundcloud.com/rewindtn
https://twitter.com/rewindtn

 

 

Live Paying Gigs – Where The Fish Are

Live $$$$$ Gigs – Where The Fish Are, by Danny Campo

Special guest blog with great advice and marketing tips to find paying gigs.

Disclaimer: Please take the content of this blog for what I intended, and that is to help us maybe take a different approach to both the way we look for gigs but even more importantly “where” we look for gigs. If you have already adapted this plan obviously the content does not apply to you, but if this approach is news to you, it should help you get more “paying” gigs starting as soon as you want to start.

Danny Campo

Danny Campo

“Man, the live music scene is dead in my town, I just can’t seem to get a paying gig any where.” If I had a nickle for every time I have heard that over the years, well I wouldn’t be rich, but I’d have a crap load of nickles! What I do hear a lot of, “the venue owner wants me to come in and play for nothing until he deems me acceptable to his establishment and clientele, and maybe then we can negotiate my fee.” I like to tell them, OK that will work as long as I can bring my family in to dine and drink until we decide if we like your food, and then we’ll negotiate your menu pricing.

First and foremost, I thank the Good Lord every day for the number of “payed bookings” I get every year. They keep me buying my music toys and help me fund my charitable non-paying gigs and related expenses. Now with that said, I am no fool as I know that many of you SJ performers blow me out the water with your talent and skills. So why is it that I am booked while some of you are not? Well maybe some of you don’t want any live gigs and I respect that totally. But for the ones who would like to be playing more and getting paid for the gigs there must be another reason. I think that reason, as another good fisherman SJ performer Kenny Z would agree, is that I am simply fishing where the fish are. And of course by that I mean adapting to a different type of venue that is not usually associated with live music and its patrons, at least in our musician minds.

Now before you read down further please keep two very important words in mind when dealing with these alternative venues. The words are “adaptability” and “versatility” because very often these venues will ask and expect you to adapt your style and maybe be more versatile with your play-list to suit their clientele. So if you are a musician who says, “I will not play a certain genre of music.” Some of these gigs will not be for you. Of course personally, I offer right up front, No Rap and No Heavy Metal or Hard Rock. In my case I can just about see what they are thinking, maybe something like, “duh no kidding pops.” But these genres are usually not a big request with the clients you will find down below anyway.

In the next paragraph I am going to let you know what took me years of research, planning and cold sales calls to make the connections. In other words I am going to tell you where the fish are.

The Fish

Corporate Functions: From annual award dinners to all types of holiday parties. Everyone who has a sign on their door doing business is a potential client. From doctors and dentists to hardware stores, lawyers and banks. They will also help you get your foot in the door of venues who cater these events. FYI . . . I play all of the above including auto dealerships “Special Sales Events” and can even be found at some “Bank Branch’s Grand Openings” sitting on a stool playing some background jazz from time to time.

Often you can speak with your local restaurants and caterers to find out who is booking these type of events. You can then start the contact by doing a mailing inquiring about their corporate social events, let them know a little about what and where you play, where they can hear some of your music and an offer to meet with them to discuss any “special events” they may have in their plans. Sometimes I just knock on their doors and introduce myself to the receptionist and ask who plans their corporate functions, that simple.

Independent and Assisted Retirement Communities: These are not your granddad’s nursing homes, heck I play one where it costs the client a $150,000 upfront non-refundable fee just to get an apartment. So you can bet these clients are not satisfied with a movie in the VCR and some warm milk for Happy Hour. They expect good local lively entertainment, great food, and a 2nd-to-none selection of Wine and Spirits …and they get it. All of these establishments have a Social Director on staff along with a budget to hire live entertainment. I have also booked many private functions including birthday, anniversary and assorted social events held in private homes and other venues as a direct result of playing the retirement circuit.

Google them, then pay a visit to the Social Director to discuss what you have to offer and your fees. I am lucky enough to have been playing upwards of 75 of these upscale venues over the past 10 years. Nice easy fun one-hour gigs for wonderful music savvy audiences. Mostly late afternoons which leaves plenty of time to play elsewhere if I choose later in the evening or night. Another plus is that they like to book in increments of 6 months to one year in advance.

It may take a couple of years but once you get intrenched in the corporate scene in your area I can almost promise you will get as many of these gigs as you like, to the point of picking and choosing who and for what fee you want to perform.

If anyone would like to speak with me in depth as to my personal experiences with these venues just drop me a note on my Facebook page.

Now let’s play some music, one . . . two . . . three . . . etc!

PS: Now don’t get so many gigs that we won’t see you on StreetJelly anymore. Oh, I think that is in the contract anyway, just ask Merv! lol

Setup USB Mixer on a Mac

It’s very easy to use a USB Mixer with StreetJelly.com. Anna Laube shows how it’s done in the video with her Behringer XENYX Q802 USB mixer on her Mac.

  1. Plug in the USB
  2. Click on the “Settings” icon
  3. Choose “Sound”
  4. Click on the “Input” tab and choose the USB device

That’s it. The StreetJelly player will see the mixer as the default sound device and use it when broadcasting.


USB Mixer Setup on Mac

Many thanks to Anna Laube for making the video. Check out her music, it’s fantastic! www.AnnaLaube.com

Viewer Quick Graph

New Feature: Viewer Quick Graph

User Type: Musicians

How to Find: Click on main menu Down Arrow ∇, choose My Shows, click show Id link

We created the “Viewer Quick Graph” for musicians to get a better feel of how long viewers are watching their StreetJelly broadcasts. Unlike a concert where a patron would purchase a ticket to a show, broadcasting on StreetJelly is more like performing open mic in a cafe or busking on the street corner for coin.  People will come and go continuously during the performance for many different reasons.  But unlike in the real world, we now report to the musicians how long viewers were connected to their stream.
VQG Screenshot
The graph is not a reflection of one’s musical skills, but merely shows the flow of viewers in and out of a performance. The free-to-view nature of StreetJelly, and the internet in general, encourages visitors to pop in and check out as many musicians as possible. But at the same time, die hard fans will flock to a favorite musician and watch an entire show. The graph shows this relationship of time-spent-in-a-show.

We call it a “quick” graph because its the visual pattern of the graph, and not necessarily the values of each bar, that quickly gives the musician the visual cue of how long viewers stayed.  But first, let’s explain those bars. We divide the duration of your show into twelve time increments represented by each bar (the x-axis). For example: in a 1-hour show, the 1st bar represents 5 minutes, the 2nd bar 10 minutes, 3rd bar 15, and so on. For a 2-hour show, each bar then represents 10 minutes, 20, etc. Next, the height of each bar (the y-axis) shows how many people watched your show for that length of time. On the actual graph, hover over each bar with your mouse to see the data values.

VQG AxisThe less time people stay connected to your stream, they will be counted in bars on the left side. The longer time they stay, they will be collected in the right side bars. For example, all the bars stacked to the left means most everyone left after a short time, while all the bars stacked to the right mean most people stayed for the entire show.  But remember, the timer for a viewer starts counting whenever they arrive.  If a viewer arrives late at the end of a set, then their viewing time would naturally be a fraction of the total length of the show. That late viewer would be represented in the bars on the left.

Ok, now that we thoroughly confused everyone, let’s take a look at some sample graphs to put this all together:

Typical Graph
VQG TypicalMost shows will have a nice spread of viewers who stay for various lengths. But you will always have many viewers that pop in for a very short time, hence the large bar on left.

Short Stay Viewers
VQG Short StayWe call these the “busy body” viewers who can’t sit still. These people are bouncing around the site, checking out multiple shows, making dinner on the side, and not able to stay long.

Long Stay Viewers
VQG Long StayHere we see our favorite couch potatoes. Most people stuck around for much of the show. The musician has managed to capture and entertain their crowd for a nice long time.

No Graph Data
VQG No DataThis is a special case when either the show is less than 12 minutes long (remember we divide the bars up in 12 time increments); or you are looking at a show way back in time before we collected viewing time information (back in 2013).

The Viewer Quick Graph is a marketing tool for StreetJelly musicians. Use it to understand what your viewers are doing, how they respond to your performance, and how to improve fun for everyone. Got any performance tips about increasing viewership? Add them in the comments below…

Upgrade Your Flash Version

We are upgrading our broadcaster software to use Flash version 11.4 or higher.

Adobe Flash SoftwareBackground:  The StreetJelly broadcaster software uses Flash Media Live Encoder (FMLE) for streaming.  This all happens automatically for musicians on StreetJelly behind the scenes.  Most websites use this technology for streaming, as well.  Many times, people cringe when they hear “Flash” website.  They think of those tacky animations from 10 years ago.  We do not use any part of that, but only the FMLE portion to connect to ones camera and microphone.

The FMLE comes as part of the Flash software installed on most desktops: Windows, Apple Macbook, etc.  It is typically not available for mobile devices: Android phones and tablets no longer support Flash, and iPhone/iPads never supported it.

Currently:  The StreetJelly broadcasting page for musicians uses features in the FMLE that require a minimum of Flash v10.3 or higher.  We have been at this version for some time to accommodate a few stragglers who may have trouble with older audio equipment.  This version produces a stream format, however, that can only be viewed by other Flash devices.  Hence, StreetJelly can only be viewed easily on desktops with Flash.  It’s much more complicated to view performances with other devices without 3rd party software, side-jacking, etc.

The Upgrade:  We are upgrading the musician’s broadcasting page with features found in FMLE v11.4 (or higher) that will use newer and improved streaming formats.  Specifically, we’re moving to an mp4 h.264 codec.  This will allow StreetJelly to transmit in mp4 (h.264 + aac) to mobile devices.  Yes, this is part of a larger project to build mobile apps of StreetJelly!

So what should I do?  Probably nothing.  Most everyone has Flash installed on their computers to automatically update (its default setting).  The current Flash version is v12.0.0 (March 2014).  Click this link to see what version of Flash you have installed.  Only a few folks may have turned off the auto-update to keep them at a specific older version.  This is most likely due to newer Flash versions not being compatible with older microphone equipment and sound drivers.  To that point, those folks need to take a systematic approach to upgrading.  They should install the highest version they can that still works with their equipment.  Below are some links to get started.

Links

To install the latest version of Flash:
http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

To install older versions of Flash:
http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/  Choose “click here for older versions…” below on that page.

StreetJelly Test Flash 11 page (musician account only):
http://www.StreetJelly.com/test_flash11

Contact us if you have problems:
support@streetjelly.com

What is a Family Friendly Site?

“What is a family friendly site, Frank?”

A few people have asked me this question, and I suspect many more are thinking the same thing.  Here at StreetJelly, we often tell newcomers that we are a “Family Friendly Website.”  Inevitably, that has caused some confusion as the definition of family-friendly is as diverse as the community on StreetJelly.

First, let me say that family-friendly on StreetJelly is not a set of specific rules about what words or phases someone can or can not say on air or in the chat.  It is, however, all about common decency and respect for others.

Once upon a time, we were taught as children about a crazy thing called manners.  Some say manners are lost today, and especially lost in the online world of social media.  I say they aren’t.  It’s not hard to remember when online, or in regular public, that we think about our behavior and how we are perceived by others.  When online, it is very easy to offend others and make ourselves look like idiots.  This is made true by the lack of full context in our communications (body language, abbreviated text, misspellings, etc.).  Family-friendly means to think about what you say …or type …before you spew it out to the world.  One can be incredibly rude even if they don’t use any swear words.  (Yes, I’ve heard a few very offensive and despicable people use the excuse, “but I don’t swear.”  As if that makes horrible behavior ok. Oy!)

So the obvious answer is profanity, lewdness, pornography, and gratuitous disrespect are not allowed on StreetJelly.

We are not trying to “silence people,” impose censorship, or restrict someone’s right to express themselves.  Far from it.  Let me repeat, that is as far from the truth as possible.  I will defend anyone’s right to freedom of speech, regardless of what country they are from.  I think my pedigree as a soldier and veteran speaks to my resolve.  But I will also vigorously defend everyone’s right to enjoy music and art without the disruption of a few who can not conduct themselves properly in public.

Here are some simple guidelines to make this easier to understand.

  1. Remember George Carlin’s “7 Dirty Words you can’t say on TV.”  Stay away from them.
  2. Use the movie rating of PG-13 as a guide for topics discussed in shows and chat.

Movie Raiting PG-13

And for musicians, we give you much more latitude for your music.  If your art includes a few swear words, dark topics, etc., you are fine.  We are not judging anyone’s art.  Please take a sensible approach, however, to the diversity of the StreetJelly audience, would they likely be offended, and perhaps give them a warning of your content.

Thank you everyone for letting me rant for a few minutes.

Frank Podlaha,
Founder and CEO of StreetJelly
a.k.a King Frankie

ps – For all the narcissists out there that think I wrote this article specifically to you, that is incorrect.  No wait, if you think that – then YES – this article is totally about you.