StreetJelly BLOG: Community News, Video Streaming, Online Busking, and more…
Home » Archive by category "Support, Help, Tricks" (Page 4)

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.

Singer Songwriter Contest – Tips and Suggestions

Attention Artists! Submit your ORIGINAL song to the StreetJelly “Singer Songwriter Contest” for a chance at prizes, industry recognition, and the opportunity to present your song to publishers. Create a video of yourself performing your original song, and the StreetJelly community will vote on the winners.

Music Contest WinnerHello Ladies and Jellymen, Frankie here!  You all know we’re having the songwriter’s contest.  Let me tell you a little more how we’re handling the submissions, what the judges are looking for, and what to expect from viewer voting.

We have a panel of six judges.  They include musicians, music teachers, music industry experts, and …well, me!  The judges will be picking ten finalists.  The StreetJelly community will then get to vote for their favorite from the ten finalists.

The judges will all be using a form rating sheet to assign points to various categories.  We’ll use these scores to fairly and consistently rank the Top 10.  Here are the categories:

  • Structure – Segments, components, length, and arrangement.  (10 points)
  • Melody – Is it pleasing to the ear?  (10 points)
  • Dynamic – The use of musical rise, fall, sustain, staccato to bring the listener “somewhere.”  (10 points)
  • Lyrics – meaningful words that make you think.  (10 points)
  • The Hook – Is it stuck in your head later?  (10 points)
  • Rhythm and Rhyme Scheme – The groove, the phrasing, the poetics and the feel of the song.  (10 points)
  • Overall Likability – This is the subjective feeling for the judge.  How well do you like it.  (40 points)

So when you submit your original songs, or anytime you write a song, keep all this in mind.  But you already know this.  Let me make a suggestion about the videos.  It’s perfectly fine to submit us a video you already have on YouTube.  (Btw, we want your link to your YouTube channel so you get the benefit of all the new viewer counts.)  Feel free, however, to make a new video and talk a little before and / or after your performance about the song.  You will make a better impression about your song by explaining the lyrics, the story behind it, the day you wrote it, whatever.

This is a great tip not only for the contest, but anytime you upload an original song video to YouTube.  Unless you have the fan-base of The Bieb, chances are few people will find your video and watch it for its merit.  But some people will find and watch the video out of curiosity.  You have a short opportunity to make a lasting impression about your song.

We all like art more when we make a connection with an artist.  Think about it, how many times have you watched a DVD movie that was only average?  But after you watched all the behind-the-scene extras and actor interviews that come with the DVD; you somehow liked the movie more.  Same thing works with music.  We like songs better when we like the musician.  Even taking 10 or 15 seconds to introduce yourself and your song makes a favorable impression on the viewer (and judges).  Makes them feel welcomed.

Ok, you get the idea:  being personable will help in the judging round, AND it will really help in the voting round.  The viewers and fans on StreetJelly will vote most exclusively by likability.  I hate to say a lot of this sounds like marketing, but it is.  However, marketing is a big part in becoming a successful singer songwriter!  Best of luck to everyone entering the contest, we can’t wait to hear …and see, all your songs.

 

Fix Crackle Bubble Noise with Older Version of Flash

Support Topic:  Sound Issues, Install older version of Adobe Flash

Scenario:  Viewers are saying there is a cracking or bubbling distortion in your sound, and you have Adobe Flash 11.7 installed.

Discovery: We’ve found that some musicians produce a crackling or bubbling digital distortion when using a dynamic type mic. These are usually the traditional music store microphones.  Musicians may not be aware of the distortion unless they are told by the viewers or listen closely from the StreetJelly test_broadcast page. The problem seems to have started with the latest version of Flash 11.7. It doesn’t work well with older sound/microphone drivers. The distortion was fixed by a number of our musicians by installing an older version of Flash.  Version 10.3 is a good version to use.

Note: DO NOT USE Flash versions prior 10.3.  They are incompatible with StreetJelly.

Before you get started: Check your version of flash.
http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/find-version-flash-player.html

Uninstall Flash 11.7:
http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/uninstall-flash-player-windows.html

Download and Install Archived version of Flash:  Choose Flash 10.3
http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/archived-flash-player-versions.html

Direct link to Flash 10.3:
http://download.macromedia.com/pub/flashplayer/installers/archive/fp_10.3.183.90_archive.zip
This zip file contains all the different versions of Flash 10.3. You will run the .exe file for your specific computer (Win, Mac, Linux, etc). Instructions are included in the README.TXT file.

Final Thoughts: With an older version of Flash, remember not to automatically choose to upgrade to the latest version of Flash. Adobe will most likely popup notifications for a later version. Just ignore those.

Still have questions? Ask them below, or contact us at support@streetjelly.com.

Record your Performance while Streaming

Special guest blog by Tom Rule from Macon, GA.
Tom Rule

Tom Rule

StreetJelly is, of course, all about live performances. The user agreement even has a requirement to never use a recorded performance when streaming. But it says nothing about performing live AND recording the live performance! […….and even Frankie said it was OK!]

After getting a few StreetJelly performances under my belt, I began wondering if I could do just that – record a performance at the same time it’s being streamed on StreetJelly. I have a website of my own over at http://www.tomrule.info where things are for sale, and I thought a video might make a useful marketing tool [youtube, anyone?].

My parents would probably like a copy as well! They did pay for all those piano lessons……

This is one of those things that might be useful to know that (A) it CAN be done, and (B) HOW it can be done….at least on a Mac. [If you run Windows, see below!]

So the idea is to have ONE webcam streaming live out to StreetJelly AND have the computer taking the SAME audio and video streams and saving it to a movie on the computer – which you can then ship up to youtube, burn to a disk, email to distant relatives, or use the video to scare off small rodents and annoy your neighbors.

QUICK NOTE ON MY SETUP

I’m a keyboardist AND an audio guy, so it really doesn’t work for me to put up a mic when streaming – I get MUCH better audio running the keyboard into the computer. I’ll use a mic to talk to the audience – it and the keyboard audio feed into a little Mackie mixer, which plugs into the audio interface [an old M-audio Firewire Audiophile]. I’m using an iMac that is a couple of years old…..so it is NOT the “latest greatest”.

I’m using a Logitech webcam, although this would also work with the builtin iSight camera.

HERE’S HOW

You’re going to use your web browser and Quicktime Player.

1. Surf over to StreetJelly and setup your broadcast as normal. You can go ahead and start broadcasting, or just keep it on the test screen for now – it doesn’t matter.

2. Fire up Quicktime Player – it’s in the Applications folder.

3. in QT Player, select File–>New Movie Recording.

4. In my case it automatically selected the webcam. If it doesn’t, then click the triangle in the bottom area of the window and select the correct video and audio sources.

There are some other settings there as well … quality levels, where to save the file, etc. If you don’t know what something does do a test and see what happens.

5. Click record.

That’s it!

6. When done, click the record button again to stop recording, and then stop the broadcast. My version of QT Player will actually upload to youtube from within the application – so the performance can be on Youtube pretty quickly after it is completed!

WINDOWS?

From some cursory research it appears that there are a couple of programs that will allow this same thing to occur on Windows. You can either get a program [ManyCam is one] that creates a “virtual camera”….i.e. you select the “virtual camera” in the settings in Flash and whatever program you are using to record [your webcam probably came with some recording software].

In this scenario Camera talks to Cam Software [i.e. ManyCam] which then splits the video/audio out to StreetJelly AND your recording software.

It is also possible that you have an app like Quicktime Player that will work in a similar fashion as on the Mac – where you just fire it up, select the camera, and it works.

There are waaaaaay too many variations of Windows to even begin writing about it – my suggestion is to try something and see if it works. Just another piece of technology magic that allows us to create in our living rooms/studios/barns/wherever!

Thanks Tom!  Do forget, everyone, put your YouTube channel in your StreetJelly artist profile so we can all get a link to your videos.  ~frankie

Random Token Winners

New Feature: Random Token Winners

SJ Winners CupWe’ve added a new fun feature on StreetJelly.  Every time someone tips a musician, they have a chance to win back Free Tokens!  Yes, every tip is run through our Jelly Randomizer Engine to determine if that viewer wins free tokens.  The more tokens one tips, and the more often one tips, the better chances to win.  It’s simple – tip the musician and we give away tokens.

When a viewer wins tokens, they will see this pink message popup in the chat window.  The winning tokens will be added to their account.

Screenshot Winner Message

The Jelly Randomizer Engine will continually run different winning amounts, odds of winning, special promotion nights, etc.  You never know what you may win.  So check in with the site often, follow the Facebook page, and ask the folks on the site what’s new.

 

Watch StreetJelly from your iPad and iPhone

Q:  Can I watch StreetJelly from my iPhone?
A:  Yes, with the Photon Browser app.

There is a Flash compatible browser, called Photon, that can stream StreetJelly performances on an iPad, iPhone, iPod.  Below is a screen shot taken from an iPhone 4.  Photon is an alternative browser to Safari for mobile Apple products.  It works the same way as any browser:  just navigate to a website as you would on the regular browser.  Photon works for any Flash enabled website, including those with Flash games like Facebook.

The StreetJelly website is obviously very small on a phone, the better experience is on an iPad.  But this gives us good insight as we develop our mobile apps for StreetJelly.  It’s not just a matter of “shrinking” down a website to fit on a mobile device.  We want to make sure the experience fits for when you are mobile, verses sitting at home or work in front of a pc.  In the meantime, check out the Photon Browser.  Cost as of this time is $3.99 on the iTunes App Store.

Photon Browser for iPad: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photon-flash-video-player/id430200224

Photon Browser for iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photon-flash-video-player/id453546382

 

Taken from an iPhone 4 with Photon Browser

Taken from an iPhone 4 with Photon Browser

Let Flies be Flies

Jelly FliesFlies are our friends.  Of course, I’m talking about Jellyflies!  A Jellyfly is a term created by the StreetJelly community to indicate viewers watching a musician but not participating in the conversation.  They are just “flying” around a performance.

There is a great discussion on the Do’s and Don’ts blog post how to increase your tips while performing on StreetJelly.  This topic of flies is really a continuation of that post, but I think it’s worth to talk a little deeper about Jellyflies.

So here is my tip to musicians: Let the Flies be Flies.  Odd advice, you’re thinking?  Some musicians are great at engaging their StreetJelly fans and prying the flies out of anonymity.  But others try too hard to get the flies to talk.  There is definitely a fine line between being inviting and being too aggressive.

I speak from experience because I am a fly on the site sometimes.  I know, “how dare you Frank?”  Yes, it’s true.  There are two reasons why I end up being a fly.

  1. I only have about 5 or 10 minutes before I have to go do something (I have a crazy schedule).  I choose not to become part of the conversation because otherwise I’ll enjoy myself too much and never leave.
  2. I like to listen to the music while I work.  Again, I may be very busy and really have to get some work done – even at 2am.  I have to force myself not to look at the chat.  After all, StreetJelly is a music site, and sometimes I just want to listen.

I know that on a few occasions, I’ve heard musicians lay on the guilt trip pretty thick to get the flies to talk.  That’s probably not going to help get them to talk nor tip more tokens.  They may even leave the performance.  Performing art is a lot like marketing.  If a potential customer (i.e. token tipper) is driven away, they may never come back.

There are probably many other reasons why someone may be a fly.  As a matter of fact, StreetJelly was built around the fact to allow anyone to listen in, find great musicians, and jump in only if they like.  Think of a street musician, they could never possibly stop everyone that walks by and ask to see their identification.

You never know who is watching on StreetJelly.  If someone needs to be a fly for whatever reason – that’s fine.  Say, “hello.”  Remind them they can login to chat (maybe they don’t realize that).  And thank them for stopping by.  They will be happier if you did.

Thoughts from the artists?  How do you engage the flies?  Continue the discussion below…