Podcast Spotlight – Episode #65: Matthew Ebel

Stream your concerts to the world!

Matthew-ustreamGetting out on the road to build an audience is a constant struggle for the average indie artist. Limitations on time, money, and resources are all huge hurdles to overcome. But what if you could take your show around the world without moving a single guitar amp or eating another drive-thru meal? Now you can!

Indie artists like Matthew Ebel have harnessed the power of online services like UStream to accomplish just that. Each week, Matthew performs live via UStream without leaving the comfort of his very own basement. Internet audience members congregate (in the virtual sense) from all points around the globe to watch his homespun concert broadcasts. In the full-length audio interview, Matthew goes into great detail concerning some of the technical aspects of how he produces a UStream show. If this piques your interest, you can listen to the episode in its entirety at http://cdbabypodcast.com or subscribe in the iTunes podcast directory.

What is UStream?
Well UStream, like YouTube, is just another site on the Internet. But instead of doing video hosting of recorded videos, they host live video feeds. It’s the first site I’ve seen that has brought live streaming to the masses in a similar fashion that YouTube brought pre-recorded video to the masses. It’s very easy to set up, very accessible, and you don’t need a lot of equipment to make it work. It can just be a MacBook connected to the internet.

It goes beyond just having the ability to stream, though. Part of it is the interaction that you have with the audience. How have you used the live chat room component?
The chat room is live interaction just like having an audience. And it’s something I’ve been telling other artists who have been asking me about this stuff. One thing that you need to do when doing a UStream show is talk to your online audience a lot. Treat them like they paid for front the row seats because that’s basically what they are doing. To the end viewer it’s nothing more than you and them in a room. So it’s really nice being able to interact with people live even if you’re alone in a little studio in Boston, Massachusetts once a week — like I am.

When I first saw your show, I hadn’t realized there was the chat room component beforehand, which made the whole experience have a much greater impact. People were actually having more fun because of the chat room. They were interacting with you and each other, and it made it a really cool event to be a part of. When you see a show on UStream, you’re not just watching something on the web. You actually have the opportunity to participate.
Oh Yeah! And they’re not just participating. My viewers are actually making requests, which is really nice because I can deliver the exact show my viewers want… and there is the prospect of making money. The particular show you saw, I had people watching in the Netherlands, London, Canada, and other various countries around the world. One person asked, “Can I get your CDs shipped internationally?” I wasn’t 100% sure if CD Baby shipped internationally, but the best part was that while I was stuck in front of a keyboard performing, other audience members went to CD Baby and looked it up for themselves and answered the guy for me.

One of your shows I saw, you had over 300 people watching.
And last week there was like 85. Some days it’s good and some days it’s bad. It all just boils down to how many people know about you in the first place. One of the things that drives up the viewer base is getting your fans to imbed the show on their sites. Just like YouTube, you can imbed the video, not recorded video, but the live streaming video. I actually encourage my fans to imbed my show on their MySpace page, blog or website, and then put up their own affiliate links to CD Baby, iTunes, or Amazon to basically make themselves some money selling my CDs. It benefits both of us that way.

Have you seen an impact on your music sales as a result of doing these live UStream concerts on a weekly basis?
Without fail, somebody buys one of my CDs, or goes on iTunes and gets some of the tracks. The real kicker, though, is that people sign up on my email list and grab coupon codes for the subscriber side of my website. It’s one thing to have somebody show up and look at the UStream page and say, “This music is kind of nice.” But as soon as they click on one of those things, that’s a way to bring the casual viewer closer into my world for me to build a stronger relationship with that viewer.

Matthew Ebel streams live every Tuesday on UStream. To catch his next show, just go to matthewebel.com/ustream



Join the Conversation