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Optimize your Broadcasting and Viewing

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

HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR BROADCASTING AND VIEWING EXPERIENCE ON STREETJELLY

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 StreetJelly.com and would like to thank musicians and viewers alike for being part of this wonderful community.

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

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

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.