[This article was written by Stephen Backer, co-founder & CEO of 2ndLine.tv.]
Just the other week, I was at a fantastic music festival down in Louisiana. One of the stages there promised a live-streamed broadcast to fans tuning in from across the country. The organizers had run extra cables, arranged for a special Internet connection, and set aside precious space in the intimate venue for additional gear. I thought: This is perfect… I can invite a friend from home who couldn’t afford the plane ticket to sit down and watch with me! But, when show time rolled around, I saw the event’s producers slam the laptop shut in frustration upon finding their connection had gone dead. Ugh!!
There is a powerful appeal to delivering a live experience for fans that might never have a chance to see you play in person. When you get a community of people watching all in the same moment – no matter what the context – it allows for spontaneous, passionate interaction around your performance that enhances the energy of the music itself. There is a special quality to the give-and-take, the unexpected questions, and the insights into your work that you are able to deliver when you’re there, sharing time with supporters. It’s the reason people have been trying to get the live-streaming concert businesses to work since the mid-90’s!
But since the mid-90’s live streaming has never ceased to frustrate and disappoint. Those of us who’ve tried live streaming know its challenges all too well. How many times have you been just about to start your live stream, only to find that the Internet connection died? Or, a cable had come undone? Or how about the annoyed notes from fans who watched twenty minutes of dead air before you took the stage or between sets? Perhaps you’ve found yourself playing a live-streamed show from your living room, frustrated by the upstream bandwidth of your home network? Or, maybe you’ve been left dry by the sometimes-awkward social dynamic of playing your heart out in an empty room for a laptop webcam?
I’ve been there. I had a vision of building a business that would broadcast the highest quality shows from intimate local venues. Every night we had a show, we did everything we could to successfully cope with the infuriating complexity of live-broadcast production. And yet, there was always something beyond our control. Whether it was the night a guitarist sat down funny on his wireless mic, killing his feed in the mix for the at-home viewers, or the time a woman snuck behind our rig, pulled up our gaff tape and UNPLUGGED our live gear because she had her eyes on our outlet to charge her phone, live production was messy.
Fortunately, live streaming is not the only way you can share your shows with remote audiences. On 2ndLine, we’ve designed a way for you to put your best work out there, give it the attention it deserves, and create an incentive for fans to watch with you as the action unfolds.
You can create a live experience for your fans with footage you control completely. You can edit and sweeten footage to your heart’s content so you can show fans the very best performances in your archive and set the broadcast to begin whenever you decide it’s a good time. Then, during the show, chat with your fans, see their feedback, and contribute your own spontaneous stories. You can think of it as pop-up video in a digital venue where you and your fans are in the driver’s seat. Set a fixed price, offer pay-what-you-will tickets, or reward your fans with a free show. Because whether you see live broadcasts as a valuable revenue stream or, rather, a promotional / engagement tool to support a new release, we’re flexible to the myriad ways creative folks will come up with to use the 2ndLine platform.
If you’ve been frustrated with live streaming your concerts, or if you’ve been warned off giving one a try, do yourself a favor: Visit our creators’ page, watch our quick explainer video, and start planning your first 2ndLine today!
[Picture of frustrated guy from Shutterstock.]