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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.

New Feature: My Shows

New Feature: My Shows

We’ve added a new page for artists called My Shows.  Here is a quick summary of what’s included:

  • Get detail info about each performance (times, viewers, etc.).
  • Get detail info about tip jar contents (who tipped what).
  • Enter / Update a set list any time (no longer have to only enter songs during a broadcast).
  • This info is not open to the general public or shared with other musicians.

The link to My Shows is only available to musicians and can be found on the main menu drop-down.  Click the arrow on the top-right of any page next to the thumbnail image.  Also, artists will be automatically sent to this page after each show when they click on the “Stop Broadcast” button.

My Shows

This is the first in a series of StreetJelly improvements for set list management and every musician’s reporting requirements to the songwriter’s associations.  Stay tuned, we are currently working on “My Repertoire” so musicians can enter a list of songs once, and easily build a show’s set list by point and clicking.  Musicians will also have the option to share their repertoire on their EPK profile page and during performances.

 

Tips when Broadcasting from Public Venue

Live Show

We love it when StreetJelly musicians broadcast their public performances.  But it takes a little extra care to produce a decent show.  Below are three main areas to consider when setting up a successful streaming event.

WiFi

Biggest thing to remember, not all wireless internet, WiFi, is created equal.  In fact, public WiFi is notoriously slow in many venues.  The local wireless router at a club or coffee house is usually dialed down to prevent any one person, or group of people, from hogging up the entire bandwidth.  Most small WiFi routers just can’t handle everyone camping out at a table, sipping coffee, and watching YouTubes all day long.  A slow internet connection will cause your StreetJelly video to be choppy or freeze, and make your sound cut out often.

What to do?

  • Test, test, test.  Go to the venue ahead of time and test their WiFi connection.  Make sure their internet is fast enough to broadcast and receive video.  Also, test during peak times when there are a lot of people in the building.  Everyone of you will be competing for the same bandwidth.  Use the StreetJelly broadcast-testing page to analyze how well you can broadcast.
  • Talk with the venue owners.  For one, you should already have permission to broadcast from their location, right?  Many times, a venue will have another password-protected WiFi network they use for themselves.  Ask if they have a second fast and reliable connection to the internet you can use.  They will probably be happy to help as you certainly can help promote the local venue in your show.  “Come on down, it’s Happy Hour at the best pizza joint in town.”
  • Another option, bring your own WiFi.  Most cellphone carriers offer 4g Hotspot or MiFi devices.  These work great and almost always guarantee a very strong internet connection (unless you are way out in the boonies).  But beware, this is expensive and data charges can add up quickly.  Most data plans ($50-80/mth) often limit 5 to 10 gigs of data transfer per month.  A typical one-hour streaming broadcast can use up to 1 gig of data transfer.  The penalty fees can be outrageous if you go over your limit.

Sound

Just as important as a good internet connection is your sound.  (I love stating the obvious.)  However, getting a public performance to stream well over the internet is much different than streaming from your living room.  We try to make StreetJelly as easy as possible to broadcast from home – a typical guitar player / singer can do well with a simple USB microphone like the Snowball or Meteor podcast-style mics.  Being in public, however, you are most likely using a lot more equipment to get a good and loud sound in the venue.  You cannot rely on your computer’s mic to pick up that sound well to broadcast upstream.  You will need a way to get the sound out of your equipment into your computer.  Most built-in computer mics, and even the better USB mics, can only pick up sound within 10 feet or less.  In a large room, even with high volume, these mics will pull in a dull and muddy sound.  Folks are tempted to turn up the input levels, but only to find they pick up more ambient noise (people talking, dishes clanging) with no improvement to their music.

What to do?

  • Do not use the built-in mic on your computer – never for a public broadcast.
  • Only use a USB podcast-style mic in a small intimate setting, like a coffee house, with very little background noise.
  • Use the output from your mixer to feed directly into your laptop.  An external device that can mix your sound and produce a single source to your computer works best.  Here’s an example of a “mini-mixer” device, the Alesis MultiMix 4-Channel USB Mixer.  It does a good job and is very easy to set up.  (Please note: we mention these products only for your convenience.  There are many similar products out there.  If you have used any to success, tell us below in the comments.)
  • Test at home.  It could be hard to test your full setup ahead of time at a nightclub, so best to get the feel of everything at home first.  Try your garage or wide open basement.  That will best simulate the horrible bouncing conditions you may encounter in a restaurant or club.  Set up your mic, amp, mixer, everything.  Jam as loud as you would in public.  Then test broadcast on StreetJelly’s test page and have a friend help confirm your sound settings.

Overall Package

Performing live to a public crowd, large or small, is not the same as broadcasting and chit-chatting on StreetJelly from your couch.  To think you can “throw up a webcam” at your next open-mic and hope everything is good enough; will be very disappointing.  At best, you will get the “webcam in the corner” affect on StreetJelly.  You’ve all seen this a hundred times.  A band is “streaming live” at some club – but the show is terribly boring as you only see the one tiny cam image from somewhere in the club’s rafters, and the musicians never looking into the camera.  StreetJelly viewers will get bored and not stay long …and not tip much, either.

What to do?

  • Frame yourself in the camera as best as you can, and as close as you can.
  • Remember you are performing for two audiences; the one in front of you and the one on StreetJelly.  Talk to both parties.  Even a simple acknowledgement can make all the difference.  Part of your skill as an entertainer is “working the crowd.”  Do it.
  • Get a friend to man your StreetJelly chat.  If you can not have your laptop close to you on stage, get a friend to chat for you.  The StreetJelly viewers will understand if you can’t read, type, and perform all at the same time.  But having a friend by your side to answer questions, tell everyone the name of the venue, the songs you are playing, etc., will translate into a nice experience for all those online  …and hopefully more tips!

Final thoughts.  As much as you practice your vocal range, picking skills, and songwriting ability; performing in front of an audience is also part of your craft.  Work it, practice it, and perfect it.

Any musicians with experience streaming from a public location? Please add your insights below in the comments.