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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

SJ Busking Blog – Basement Busking Advice

Special guest blog by StreetJelly performer: Rewind.
SJ Busking Blog – Basement Busking Advice.

Rewind

Rewind

Years ago I used to busk on Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado. It was a great way to get my music in front of a wider audience as well as make some extra money. Some days I would earn just a few bucks, and others I would come home with a lot more. StreetJelly is the closest thing to an online version of busking I have found. Call it basement busking. I learned a lot of performance tips during my time busking, and many of those are relevant to online busking from the basement. We recently had the chance to take StreetJelly on the road and travel to Asheville, NC to talk with the Asheville Busker’s Collective. I thought it would be a good time to go ahead and publish a blog post on some of these basement busking tips I learned from my Pearl Street days.

•    Be prepared. I would never think of playing a song in front of a group of people while busking if I didn’t know the song well. Learn the lyrics if it’s a cover song and know which key you are going to play the song in. Bring a cheat sheet as a backup. If you know you are going to play a song that you need a cheat sheet for in advance, look it up online and keep a separate window open on your computer that you can quickly switch to. Have a set list planned out in advance. It’s not a problem to stray from your set list, but it can help you if you get stuck trying to remember what the heck you were going to play.

•    Minimize the time you spend in between each song. If you have a story to tell about the song, that’s fine, but it’s best to keep it brief. When you’re busking, most people are walking by, and you have a short stretch of time to catch their attention. This is true of basement busking, too. If someone pops into your show, and you are tuning for a long time or spending lots of time figuring out what song to do next, chances are good that person will leave your show and go check out something else.

Shop Light•    Don’t wait for requests. It’s human nature that people connect to songs they already know and like, so lots of musicians throw cover songs into their set to maintain crowd interest. You can ask your audience if they have any requests. But if they don’t answer quickly, don’t wait around until they do. Chances are good you won’t know it, and most of the time the viewers just want to hear whatever you want to play.

•    Location, location, location. For anyone who has ever busked outside, you know how crucial location can be. With online busking, your location is often wherever in your house you set up; basement, living room, garage, and so on. Before you broadcast, look at how your performance will look to your viewers. Is the lighting good? You’d be amazed at what a lamp or a shop light duct taped to a mic stand can do. Is there a bunch of junk in the background that distracts from your performance? Maybe change locations or put up a backdrop. I made a cheap frame out of PVC pipe and hung a blanket over it when I had to broadcast from a room that had a lot of other stuff going on.PVC Frame

If you have any other basement busking tips, share them in the comments section below.

Commitment to Musicians Payout

A message from Frank Podlaha, CEO

Pile of TokensMany of you have probably noticed the new Payout Percentage we now display on the StreetJelly BuyTokens page. On the right hand side, we show a running average of the amount of cash that we pay back to musicians from the tokens purchased by fans. Let me explain a little deeper how it all works.

We do things a little differently on StreetJelly than most sites. Instead of just tipping in US Dollar amounts, we use tokens (and Rocker Pin awards) to show our love to the musicians. Each tipped token is always paid out at 16¢ (US). However, we sell those tokens for various prices depending on the size of the package a fan purchases. People like a deal when they buy in bulk. No difference with our tokens. The more you buy, the better price you get. The percentage of the money that goes to the musicians then varies depending on which package is purchased. The tokens vary in sale price from 32¢ to 20¢ (or 50% to 80% payout).

Of course, different people buy different packages. If we average out all the packages sold, we consistently get a payout above 70%. It’s been like that from the very beginning. We have just as many fans buy the larger token packages as do the smaller ones.

However, this is not the complete picture because we also give away tons of free tokens with promo-codes, contests, and other events. Think for a minute what happens when you get a promo-code worth 25 Free Tokens. Those extra tokens still become real cash that we payout to musicians. For example: if you buy the smallest package of 25 tokens at $8 with that promo, you actually receive 50 tokens (25 purchased + 25 free).  The payout to the musicians becomes $8, or 50 x .16 = $8.  100% of your purchase goes to the musicians. Cool, huh!?

We are displaying that full Payout Percentage on the BuyTokens page. It’s a running average over the past 30 days, and includes all the extra tokens we give away. On a side note: it does NOT include any fees/royalties we payout to the songwriters associations (BMI, ASCAP, etc). Those artists get their piece of the pie from our revenue, not the musicians. It’s our obligation to take care of that portion.

We are very proud that our true Payout Percentage is running in the mid-80s! It is our goal to always keep that at or above 80% and still stay in business.

Thank you for all the support!

~Frank Podlaha, CEO – a.k.a. Frankie

Payout Percentage - Feb 2015

Payout Percentage – Feb 2015

 

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

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?

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

StreetJelly Musicians Play from their Heart

“Another delight happened in StreetJelly Land. SJ Musician DannyC donates his tips to the Wounded Warrior Project.  As a veteran, this kind gesture really hits home.  It is also a great testament to the musicians and viewers on StreetJelly that support one another, support live music, and nourish a community of wonderful people.”
~Frank Podlaha

The proceeds for my 1st month on StreetJelly resulted in 92.80 of tips of which we rounded the charity check up to $100.00 even and mailed it to The Wounded Warrior Project last week. Thanks to SJ and of course all of you who found it in your heart to tip at my sets. We sincerely appreciate you guys!

Danny Campo Donation to Wounded Warrior Project,
Facebook, February 15th, 2014

Put Butts In Da Seats

Special guest blog by DannyC, South Louisiana, USA

Larger audiences . . . am I doing my share to “Put Butts In Da Seats?”

Rock CrowdI ask this question as while StreetJelly is no doubt a wonderful site for musicians and songwriters to showcase their talent the fact remains for ultimate success, for performers anyway, we as a group must do all we can to boost the “civilian members” of our audiences. This is of prime importance if indeed you truly want to get compensated i.e. tips from your performances.

For you “true” buskers out there, I’d be willing to bet when you stake out a setup location you are looking for the highest traffic and target music demographic audience you can reach. Well on SJ while we have a built in audience, they are like family, and while I love my “real” family as much as the next guy they are the last group I would ever expect to support my living, especially as a musician. With this said, if we want to grow our tips and audience size we simply must get more music fans to visit SJ.

As a group we can instantly start bringing in more audience members. Look, we all have email accounts, 99% of us have FB pages or websites. I urge you to take a little time, say once a month or so to do some blitz emails campaigns, FB sharing promotions and website links and yes “blatantly plug” your future performances. It’s numbers game guys, the more we “all” tell the story to our contacts and get them to tell it to their contacts the larger the “civilian” audiences will be. And every new music lover we drive to our performance will eventually check out other performers. In fact I encourage you to point out the diversity of music they can hear on SJ in your campaigns. I learned long ago you only gain by plugging other acts as you highlight yours.

Frankie and Martina have a wonderful website built with the musician and music lover in mind, and I like many of you are very thankful for the platform they have given us to showcase our music. But, IMHO, the time has come for “us” to do something to grow SJ. We as musicians just can’t sit back, plug in and expect for our popularity and tips to grow. We owe it to ourselves to do something with this platform they have afforded us to insure it does, as the saying goes the ball is in our courts.

Bottom-line . . . How often do we hear lines like, man we can’t get squat for a 3 hour gig in my town, and the next thing you learn is that very often some cat is playing a gig for “nadda” just so he/she can get “the exposure”. Well we can’t do much about that but we do have the ability and means to help build our SJ “civilian” audiences. My bet is that not only will your tips increase but the more local audience members you bring in the more audience members you will have supporting you in your live events around your town . . . therefore your number of live paid gigs should also increase.

DannyCFellow SJ family members please take this for what it is and no more, a personal opinion offered with the hope that if some of you agree you will get on board with trying to build civilian audiences. Either way, I thank you for your time to read it.

Now let’s count off the next tune 1 ana 2 ana 3 . . .

Best Regards,

Danny C.