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Optimize your Broadcasting and Viewing

Special guest post submitted by StreetJelly co-founder, Martina!


StreetJelly offers multiple broadcasting options to accommodate various technical capabilities and preferences. Each broadcasting option is a different technology and requires certain settings on your computer. As addressed in previous blogs, there have been changes in streaming technology during the last year or two. The once widely common and very user friendly Flash-based method is being quickly replaced by WebRTC and OBS. While Flash broadcasts in a fairly continuous stream, WebRTC broadcasts in packets (picture them like chunks) and requires more bandwidth and very steady bandwidth. The overall steadiness is key to a smooth, uninterrupted broadcast. A musician can have overall very good bandwidth (600 to 700 kbps) but still experience broadcasting issues if there are drastic, sudden drops.

Over the course of the last year the overall, use of bandwidth across the internet has increased immensely. Many people are using more bandwidth than ever due to cultural changes like watching TV and movies streamed over the internet. The usage of other surrounding households can affect your personal bandwidth, especially if you are using cable internet. Being in an urban area is not a sure ticket to a great internet connection anymore. Densely populated areas, apartment complexes, hotels and schools are often a victim of huge swings in bandwidth usage. These fast increases by your neighbors can temporarily affect your own bandwidth. You might also be dealing with intentional throttling of bandwidth by your internet provider. Musicians and viewers can achieve an enjoyable and stress free musical experience with just a few clicks of your mouse that can make all the difference.

“Photon” app on iPhone, click the Flash icon

Depending on which broadcast method a musician chooses, a performance is either mobile ready or requires Flash to view. Most shows are mobile ready which means they can be viewed on mobile devices without any additional adjustments. Flash broadcasts require you to “allow” Flash on your mobile device. You can do this by installing an app like Photon or Puffin. After the app is installed Flash still needs to be activated by clicking on the Flash symbol. Depending on your device you might have to do this each time you view a show in Flash. Viewers using desktops also need to allow Flash. Since major browser companies turned off Flash, it needs to be turned on in your browser settings. Many times when browser updates are downloaded the Flash setting will be turned off and needs to be reset after each update. This is a browser imposed inconvenience and not initiated by StreetJelly. By hovering over the artist’s picture on our home page you can tell whether a performance requires Flash. If you see a mobile symbol, the show is mobile ready. If not, the show requires Flash.

Here are some small and simple adjustments you can try for a smooth broadcasting and viewing experience, especially those of you dealing with low or inconsistent bandwidth.

Check that you have Flash installed (a browser update might have uninstalled it even if you just checked a few days ago). You can do this in your browser settings (generally under Plugins) and enable Flash if necessary.

Turn off all other devices and programs in your household which affect your bandwidth, especially everything using large amounts like watching TV or programs like Facebook.

There are 2 volume meters, one on your computer and one on the bottom of the broadcast screen. If you have no sound, please check that neither one is turned off. For musicians broadcasting, check whether you selected the correct sound source. If you broadcast through a mixer this device will become your sound source.

If a viewer experiences issues with broadcasts cutting out, it can either be a bandwidth issue from the musician or an issue with viewer’s computer; such as a slow computer with little memory. You can try to switch to a different browser and see whether that might work better for you. It is very important to turn off all other programs which have a large amount of graphics or video features. Your computer might simply not be fast enough to handle the StreetJelly stream and Facebook feed at the same time. If multiple viewers have trouble watching a certain performer, the problem lies generally on the musician’s end. In this case a bandwidth issue is the most likely cause.

We are looking forward to your next visit to and would like to thank musicians and viewers alike for being part of this wonderful community.

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.


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.


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.