Twitch Stream Aid 2020 Cover Image

How Twitch Stream Aid Could Improve Itself as a Virtual Concert Event

March 29, 2020 no comments Melvin Wong

I was rather dismayed when I found out that the so-called live stream show of Twitch Stream Aid virtual concert was not actually live. It’s a combination of live streams of the two hosts with pre-recorded videos of artists performing.

Twitch Stream Aid 2020 is a 12-hour long (9am to 9pm on Saturday, March 28) virtual event featuring celebrities like John Legend, One Republic, Garth Brooks, Steve Aoki and Kpop Monsta X. Its aim is to raise as much money as possible for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization.

In the entire virtual event, they raised over 2.7 million in funds to help those in need during this coronavirus outbreak. It went from around $10,000 raised to a sudden jump to $2 million within the first 1 to 3 hours of the show and stayed there for more or less the same amount towards the entire time. I reckon they could probably achieve more if they put a bit more effort to make the whole experience better.

Pre-Recording Is Not Live, Period

In one incident earlier in the show, the host actually said “afternoon” instead of morning (it was aired live from 9am PT onwards). And he finally admitted that the live stream was somehow pre-recorded. Isn’t experience everything? Live viewers, you be the judge. It was just like watching YouTube playbacks of a bunch of artists performing from their homes.

John Legend on Twitch Stream Aid

You could further tell that the online show was not live by noticing that none of the celebrities performing in the show was actually interacting with the live online viewers. No one was actually commenting or talking to the chats happening on the screen, unlike the usual Twitch streamers.

Interaction Is Imperative

I took the liberty to view other Twitch streamers while Stream Aid was live and I thought the others were much more fun to watch than John Legend on Stream Aid. The true live streamers actually read out the chat message I posted. Talking about interactivity! I even made a song request and the online artist when ahead and sang me that song. Touche! Another big point for true live streamers (give it to ’em plasticjosh).

I could not emphasize enough that online live streaming is all about interactivity, just like how BTS took social media to the peak level by actually interacting with their fans.

Improve The Poor Sound Quality

I was hoping to get some good quality performance from top artists but virtually all of them were streaming either from their webcam+built-in mic or direct from their mobile phone. You could tell its low-quality audio from the echo and most don’t use dedicated microphones.

Going from 200k to 100k to 73k Online Viewers

Stats tell a lot. In the earlier part of the live online program, there were over 200,000 concurrent online viewers watching and went down to around 86,000 concurrent viewers after 6 hours of streaming. It goes further downhill to over 73,000 viewers at the few last performances, notably during the duet between Shaggy and Sting.

Shaggy and Sting on Twitch Stream Aid virtual concert

Effort and Experience Are Everything

Whatever effort that the artists are willing to put in in this virtual concert could immensely improve the online viewing experience. I hope that the next virtual event of such scale will be more compelling for the global audience to tune in.

I do hope celebrities could take online concerts more seriously because we could never foresee if this virus outbreak shall be the last. Chances are there will be more to come.

 

 

Online Monetization Methods For Virtual Concerts

Discover 7 Online Monetization Methods For Virtual Concerts

March 27, 2020 no comments Melvin Wong

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already thinking outside the box by wanting to run an online concert. Here, we’re not talking about pre-recording a session and play it back in a live stream. That’s the very undefinition of live streaming. We’re pushing through the edge of innovation for live entertainment by producing truly compelling virtual events that could captivate our fans and be financially rewarding to you in return.

Most monetization programs explained below are built-into popular social media platforms so the easiest way to start monetizing is by choosing the platform that you already have the most followers or subscribers.

So, let’s discover these online monetization options that we could employ to break the live event barrier.

YouTube Live

It’s a given to think of YouTube as the first possible option. Introducing YouTube Partner Program, the very program that allows you to monetize your online concert, but there are some requirements you need to adhere to.

  • You need to have more at least 1,000 subscribers to your channel.
  • Live in a country where YouTube Partner Program is available.
  • Have 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months.
  • Own a Google Adsense account.

It’s the best option for you if you already meet the criteria above. But still, it is relatively easier to start monetizing here since getting YouTube subscribers isn’t as hard as getting Facebook Page likes.

Once you’re in the program, you’d be spoilt for choice on how you wish to earn money, but do note that these monetization options depend on your number of subscribers and total views. Below is quoted from YouTube FAQ page.

  • Advertising revenue: Get ad revenue from display, overlay, and video ads.
  • Channel membershipsYour members make recurring monthly payments in exchange for special perks that you offer.
  • Merchandise shelfYour fans can browse and buy official branded merchandise that’s showcased on your watch pages.

The percentage that you earn varies depending on the monetization feature above. For example, for video ads, you typically earn around 55% of the gross revenue that YouTube earns from the advertisers.

LiveKrowd

This latest live streaming booking site empowers online singers and musicians to be paid to live stream privately. Private means unlike broadcasting yourself publicly online, you actually earn an income by being booked by clients who want you to perform online on certain dates and times for specific venues. These clients can be an event owner, cafe, bar, club, restaurant or even a church.

This concept is particularly useful for those who need some live entertainment at their venues. Clients and artists could pick their preferred streaming platforms – YouTube, Facebook or Twitch. Clients and their guests could make song requests and dedications using the built-in web app dedicated to each musician.

At the time of this writing, live streaming musicians and singers get 100% of all the sales they earn from the site.

Twitch

Twitch is also one of the most generous live streaming platforms since they offer two programs to generate revenue from your live stream – via their Partner Program or Affiliate Program where the former is an upgrade of the latter. Here’s a detailed comparison of these two programs (scroll down to the FAQ section). At the bare minimum, you still need some traction in order to monetize, such as,

  • Minimum 500 total minutes broadcast in the last 30 days
  • Minimum 7 unique broadcast days in the last 30 days
  • An average of 3 concurrent viewers or more over the last 30 days
  • Minimum 50 Followers

You could make money from these options – ads and subscriptions. Ads are the usual ads you see on the video stream and subscriptions are the monthly plan that followers pay to Twitch streamers (from $4.99 to $24.99 per month). Twitch takes 50% from these subscriptions fees from average streamers but if you’re in their top tier streamer list, they only take 30%. Do note that a paying subscriber and a free follower are different. Followers usually pay to subscribe to get an ad-free viewing (and other virtual recognitions like badges).

Facebook Live

Facebook monetization model is available and explained here but it has its conditions that may be hard for some to meet if you’re not active on the site. The eligibility requires you to have a minimum 10,000 followers on your Facebook Page and you already have videos that are at least three minutes long and generated more than 30,000 1-minute views in total over the past two months. That’s quite a mouthful let alone a mindful.

The revenue split is you (55%) : Facebook (45%) which is similar to YouTube, but YouTube offers more monetization options.

Stageit

Stageit has the most straight forward monetization model without any pre-requisite. You just need to sign-up and create your virtual concert. No eligibility check whatsoever. To make money, you sell virtual tickets in the form of virtual banknotes. Every 10 notes cost $1. Online audience buys these notes to watch your online concert.

The more notes you earned from your online show, the more the revenue percentage goes to you. You earn a minimum of 63% of the gross revenue while 83% is the maximum.

Other Alternatives

If you’re starting new and could not fit into the criteria of the monetization programs above, you can consider these options below.

GoFundMe

In short, GoFundMe is like “Kickstarter but for people”, which basically means it’s a crowdfunding platform that to raise funds for individuals or for a cause. It is basically free because they don’t take a cut from the money you raised. They only charge a standard transaction fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 per donation to pay for credit card processing and to securely transfer the funds to you. However, GoFundMe currently only supports certain countries such as major western European and Scandinavian countries, and of course, the US, UK plus Australia.

Indiegogo

This is the predecessor of GoFundMe and the alternative to Kickstarter. Although most crowdfunding campaigns here are catering to products and projects, some people still managed to raise significant funding on this platform. Besides, it supports more countries than GoFundMe. They take a 5% cut from all funds raised from your campaign and on top of that, you’ll be charged a payment processing fee which varies depending on the country and currency.

Patreon

This newcomer to the online monetization arena has been making headways among YouTubers. It particularly targets online creators such as podcasters, video creators, writers and also musicians. Followers pay a monthly subscription fee to support these creators and from there, they take a percentage ranging from 5% to 12%.

Money is One Thing, Feature is Another

If you’ve found your platform of choice to monetize, you should also consider the different features that each platform above offers. Another consideration is the technical capability that you and your band have to successfully produce virtual concerts that are worthy of dollars and cents. For that, you should read this technical guide on how to set up your online concert.

 

 

Comparison of YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Twitch & Stage It

Comparison Between YouTube Live, Twitch, Facebook Live, Instagram Live and Stageit

March 27, 2020 no comments Melvin Wong

Whether you are planning a virtual concert or online event, learn the difference between the top live streaming platforms that are available for free and find out which fits you the best.

Difference between YouTube Live Facebook Live Instagram Live Twitch Stage It

YouTube Live

If you’re looking for a more professional setup, YouTube Live should be your choice. Configuring YouTube Live is pretty easy for someone very comfortable with using a computer because you could utilize a streaming software such as OBS Studio, or just stream with your PC microphone and webcam. But by using OBS software, you get to enhance your online broadcasting quality by adding external cameras, microphones, instruments and more. Here’s a tutorial on that.

It allows you to monetize your live stream via the YouTube Partner Program, but there are certain criteria that you need to meet such as having at least 1,000 subscribers. But still, it is relatively easier to monetize since getting YouTube subscribers isn’t as hard as getting Facebook Page likes.

Pros:

  • No account required to view the live stream.
  • Option to have a professional stream beyond webcam and built-in mic on your PC.
  • Relatively easier to monetize compared to other platforms.
  • Live chat is provided.
  • Replay option is available.
  • Relatively easy to set up if you’re very comfortable with computers.

Cons:

  • Some terms and conditions to monetize your live stream.

Twitch

The most popular live streaming site for online gamers but doesn’t mean it’s only good for viewing people playing their favorite games. You could also set up your virtual event here. The setup closely resembles YouTube Live and you need more computer brain to get it working. You could learn the basic by following this quick video tutorial.

It comes with two options to generate revenue from your stream – via their Partner Program or Affiliate Program.

Pros:

  • No account required to view the live stream.
  • High quality professional live stream with multiple streaming features and analytics.
  • Two options to monetize.

Cons:

  • Quite complicated to configure.

Facebook Live

Another popular live streaming option, especially for those who already have active followers on Facebook. Other than that, it offers two options to set up – the easy lower quality way or the advanced higher quality option (via a streaming software).

One advantage with Facebook Live is you could create polls and other fancy UI stuff on your live stream.

Pros:

  • Two levels of difficulty to set up – for live stream beginners or advanced users.
  • Create polls and questions.
  • Add effects like lenses, filters and more (only on the Facebook app).

Cons:

  • Facebook account is necessary to view your live stream.
  • Not easy to start monetizing.

Instagram Live

Instagram is a popular platform for streaming especially among avid users. It is John Legend and Keith Urban choice for their online concerts. Although you can’t do much to improve the streaming quality, with a good enough smartphone, your stream should not look or sound too bad.

Pros:

  • Super easy to start streaming. Good for ultra beginners.
  • Easy to add filters or emoticons on the stream.
  • Also comes with live chat/comments.

Cons:

  • Can only stream via the Instagram app.
  • No option to set up a professional stream. As good as what your smartphone can do.
  • No option to monetize.

Stageit

Stageit is probably the only online concert platform dedicated to artists and bands to stream their performances live online. Artists like Jason Mraz, Rage Against the Machine and David Cook had gone live on this site. To access the virtual concerts you could purchase a virtual ticket or “hitch a ride” from someone who bought it (think of it like bringing someone into a concert together with you).

Based in Los Angeles, the startup was founded in 2009. I’m surprised to find that there are not many tutorials on how someone could set up their live stream on the platform and to what degree – casual or professional. The website seems overly simple. Since it requires online audience to purchase a ticket, a preview or a past replay could be used to convince more to pay.

Pros:

  • Easy to start monetizing – no specific requirement.
  • Make money directly from your live online concert.

Cons:

  • No replays or previews.
  • Overly simple design with little help on how to create a compelling live virtual concert.

 

Global list of cancellations and postponements of concerts and festivals (updating)

Global list of canceled and postponed concerts and festivals (updating)

March 27, 2020 no comments Melvin Wong

Here’s the ongoing list of cancellations and postponements of major concerts and music festivals worldwide due to COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Events are listed according to event name/artist/venue, location, planned dates and status (canceled, postponed, closed). To add your event to the list, please contact us

Last updated: Mac 27, 2020 at 0305 EDT/NY.

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

 

Legends

P: Postponed

C: Canceled

CD: Closed

TBD: To Be Determined

Common mistakes of virtual events

5 Common Mistakes When Running Virtual Events

March 27, 2020 no comments Melvin Wong

Having been to hundreds of online events, webinars, and even online concerts, I can’t help but to figure out ways to further improve the viewing experience. Some live streaming events are rather dry and dull especially when we’re watching it alone from the comfort of our home. It makes me so tempted to switch my browser tab to YouTube to watch something else. Thus, here are some common mistakes that I often saw in online events and ideas on how to improve them.

Bad Audio Quality

Most of the time, business webinars are streamed from a PC or laptop using its built-in microphone. I reckon a sound engineer would agree with me if I say we gotta improve the sound quality. At times, the sound quality reminiscent the sound of someone barking – too much mid-range coupled with poor Internet streaming bitrate. Investing in a decent microphone would be worth it in the long run. Consider a mic that has a USB output, such as the Audio Technica ATR2100 which costs barely $40. I’m a proud owner of this mic and I use it frequently for my online courses.

Not Telling The Latecomers What’s Going On

Ever been to a webinar late and not knowing what the speaker is talking about? Same here. The easy fix is that the online organizer should indicate on the screen what is the current topic. Especially in AMA sessions. You could write down the question on the screen and you can do this easily with OBS Studio.

Not Talking to Your Online Audience

One of the greatest strengths that you get from online streaming is interaction with your virtual audience. Many forget to milk that. Yes, Q&A is one thing, but talking to each and every one of them could go a long way. Try asking questions back. Try spontaneous quizzes and offer some rewards or perks in return. Read the live chat messages and respond to most of them.

Not Trying to Monetize Your Online Event

Ok, monetizing something online is so difficult, let alone online events. Many tried and many failed. The hope is that those were the old days. In this new streaming era with the advent of fiber and Gigabit Internet, more individuals are making income from online video streaming. On YouTube, you have ads and paid subscriptions, like Patreon. The same goes for online gamers who live stream their gameplays on Twitch.

In South Korea, there’s a popular live streaming platform called Afreecatv (stands for Any FREE broadCAsting) where any individuals could stream basically anything and receive virtual star balloons that they could cash out. Based on their 2019 financial report, Afreecatv paid almost $20 million in commissions to all their BJs (broadcasting jockeys). You can create your live streams of you dancing to Kpop tune, teaching English language or mukbang (fetish of watching people gorging on foods). If they could do it, you can too! If you’re darn lucky, you might get a fat paycheck from a loyal fan, like this mukbang girl who received $100,000 worth of star balloons in one day.

Forgetting To Launch a Real Event

Think conference or meet-the-fan session. If you have enough followers or subscribers, then you got a compelling reason to run an actual physical event where your fans can see you in person. It’s a great opportunity that you should not miss out on trying. You could even get sponsors to pay it. And best of all, you don’t have to go far to promote the event. Just some simple tweets and posts on your social media would do.

 

How to make money from virtual events

How to Make Money From Virtual Events

March 26, 2020 no comments Melvin Wong

Virtually all events have been canceled or postponed in countries with a huge growth rate of coronavirus thanks to lockdown and social distancing advised by their public administrations. But life still has to go on. While virtual events have been the common buzzwords amongst event management professionals, most are still struggling to find the miracle pill to monetize these online events. I’ve been to over hundreds of such events like webinars and even virtual concerts and I’ve gathered some tips and suggestions that we all could try to encourage people to pay.

Don’t Think of Virtual Events as Typical Events

The first tip is to not fall into the premise of converting your physical events into the online format such as pre-recording a session and play it live online. It just doesn’t work that way. Imagine yourself sitting in a conference room alone with your pajamas on without a single soul around you except you and the speaker. That’s how it almost feels like going to an online conference. We need to think out of the box to exploit the power of online media that we can’t deliver in an offline fashion. Here’re some areas to take advantage of.

  • Live chats – It’s always hard to interrupt a speaker on stage to ask questions but with online streaming, it’s just a few keystrokes away. Get someone to queue the speaker when there’s an online question.
  • Multiple concurrent live streams – ala multiple tracks in a physical conference in different rooms. But now, you can have as many online streams as you want at zero cost because you don’t have to pay for extra rental fees for each extra room. Only reveal the URLs of the concurrent streams on your main live stream. That way, people can’t access the other streams freely online.

Organize Private Live Streaming Events

This is a new concept in the virtual event monetization mix where you conduct live streaming events such as a virtual gig for specific clients or businesses such as party/function venues, bars, restaurants, cafes, clubs or even churches. They pay you to perform specifically to them only, not to the public – that is the monetary value you offer.

LiveKrowd, our sister site, is at the forefront of this new live streaming paradigm where music artists perform privately to clients who book them at certain dates and times. These online musicians are paid on an hourly rate that is published on the site.

Think Freemium (Free + Premium)

Unlike a physical event where you could directly sell tickets, online services thrive on freemium business model (free plus premium) because getting people to overcome the penny gap (willingness to pay for online service) is a day-to-day struggle for online enterprises. To bridge the gap, we need to deliver value – online value. Below are some freemium models you could follow.

Use a Donation Business Model

It must be awkward for a business event to expect people to donate but the donation model has been thriving in the virtual world ever since Wikipedia started. Think Wikipedia donation message that you see each year (and I’m proud to be a donor).

Sell More Tickets To Your Postponed Event

If you’re still trying to get a sell-out for your actual event, now is the time. Give on-the-spot discount during your online event saying “Hey, enter this discount code now before this online session ends and you get 30% off to our rescheduled event this fall!”

Offer Free Publicity to Potential Sponsors

Now is also the opportunity to close that sponsorship deals that you’ve been working so hard on. Offer a goodwill gesture to your potential sponsors with free publicity and marketing messages during your online events. Maybe now they might commit to your offline event.

Improve the Audio Quality

Most of the time, business webinars are streamed from a PC or laptop using its built-in microphone. I reckon a sound engineer would agree with me if I say, we have to improve the sound quality. At times, the sound quality reminiscent the sound of someone barking – too much mid-range coupled with poor Internet streaming bitrate. Investing in decent microphones or PA system would be worth it in the long run, or borrow one.

Offer a More Cinematic Experience

Remember, the cost of running an online event is a couple of times cheaper than running an offline event – thanks to gadgets and open-source software that we already have at our disposal. So now you can offer a home theatre experience. People may want to see what’s beyond the speaker’s face. Use your phone camera to start panning and zooming into your speakers and crew while running the live stream. Double your PC or laptop as a streaming machine with free streaming software. Here’s a technical tutorial on how to set up a professional live stream for virtual events.

Offer Some Personal Touch

Remember I said about the feeling of being alone at an online conference. Now is the time to get down to that personal level to talk to every online audience of yours. AMA (ask me anything) session works for online streaming because they attempt to answer as many questions as the speaker could. On the contrary, offline AMA sessions have a limited period of time usually in just within one hour or less. But I’ve seen online AMAs to last over 3 hours. It’s not too much to ask from your online speakers since they are doing it from the comfort of their homes (or pajamas).

 

How to make money from online concerts

How to Make Money From Virtual Concerts

March 26, 2020 no comments Melvin Wong

The coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the global economy and one of the most impacted sectors is the live events industry – the very industry that brings your favorite artists and idols to your city. Based on a survey of 5,600 self-employed individuals who work in this sector, 71% of them are deeply concerned if they could pay their bill while 46% of those surveyed already felt the impact of COVID-19 from loss of income.  Some predict the outbreak will sustain itself for 6 months, while others fear it will last longer.

Although some artists have gone live online by running their own little virtual concerts, many of these free online events are merely casual live streams that do not do justice to the millions of dollars paid by fans to attend the actual offline version. As what they always say, “Experience is everything!”

In order to sustain everyone who makes live events as part of their livelihood, there’s a critical need to find effective ways to derive actual income from online concerts. Here are some practical suggestions while we wait for the virus storm to clear.

Don’t Think Of Virtual Concerts As Concerts

The very common sense that most of us would think of is by wrapping the entire offline concert and dump it into an online stream. Do not fall into this premise. Digital media experience is uniquely different than the experience of attending a concert.

Remember that the revenue derived from online events can never be on par with the revenue from an actual concert, just like paying for cable TV to watch Super Bowl in the comfort of your home is a lot cheaper than buying a ticket to the actual event. The same goes for the cost as well. It’s a lot cheaper to run a live online show but this doesn’t mean you should perform in your pajamas in your backyard. In order to get your fans to bridge that penny gap (the willingness to pay for an online service), you need to deliver sufficient value to make them want to pay.

Online streaming does offer many advantages such as fan interaction and beyond the stage experience that artists should exploit.

Interaction Is Key

Ever wonder how BTS took the entertainment world by storm? The straight-forward answer is via social media. The actual fact is they took advantage of what social media could offer – a channel for their diehard fans to interact with them (all the way down to a personal level) and offering behind the scenes access to their everyday lives. You should do the same for your online concert. Here’re some ideas.

  • Interact with your audience via live chat. YouTube live stream comes built-in with this. Answer their chats, comments and even let them make song requests. An example would be, “The first person who could tell me the name of my dog gets to make a song request.” If you’re too busy talking and singing, get your lighting guy to reply the chats. I’m assuming there’d be less need for lighting for a live stream concert say in your own studio.
  • Bring them for a live tour around your home or studio. You can plan on this. Draw the line between what is private and what is accessible to your fans. But make sure you tidy up before you shooting live.
  • Pay homage to your crew. Introduce your entire tour team to your audience.

Run a Fundraising Drive

Instead of asking your fans to pay for tickets, turn it into a donation drive. A jazz band called Skerik Band made more money from their virtual concert than they would have made in their last three shows on their tour.

A bunch of Nashville musicians took matters into their own hands by running a virtual concert called Corona Concert No. 1 on Facebook. Donations are done via their GoFundMe page. To date, they’ve raised over $5,000 out of their $10,000 target.

Consider Different Business Models

Monetizing is always difficult for online services and that includes online events. However, some have succeeded in this area such as the thousands of YouTubers around the world who are monetizing from ads and paid subscriptions like Patreon. Popular online gamers are even making a living live-streaming their gameplays on Twitch.

In South Korea, a famous online streaming platform called Afreecatv offers individuals to live stream basically anything and be rewarded with virtual balloons that they could convert to actual cash (minus a percentage taken by the platform). According to Afreecatv 2019 financial report, they paid almost $20 million in commissions in that year alone to all their online streamers, popularly known as BJs (broadcasting jockeys). If you get lucky, you could get $100,000 worth of virtual balloons from an adoring fan!

Focus on Growing Your Pre-Sale or Waiting List For Your Upcoming Album

If you’re releasing a new album soon, it’s fitting to use your virtual show to get fans to sign-up on your waiting list or pre-sale list. Anyway, it’s only a click away! Offer some previews to your upcoming album, just like what Bono did.

Get More Ticket Sales For Your Rescheduled Concert

Looking at the bright side of things, since your concerts have been postponed, now is your chance to sell more tickets to your rescheduled events. Now, you got plenty of time to sell, sell and sell. Continue to remind your online audience about the rescheduled dates and remind them to remind their friends that you are coming to their cities for a big visit soon!

Now, let’s just say there’s a fan who is desperate to attend your postponed concert but couldn’t get their friend, parent, or spouse to go together. Well, perhaps you could say a few personal words online to change their mind. And make sure you ask that fan to share that very clip of you urging their partner to attend. YouTube lets you copy a link to jump into a specific point in time in your video. Your effort could go a long way.

Split Your Online Concert Into Different Experiences

Online concerts should not be just about the songs and music. It can also be about the experience you want to share with your fans. You could consider having different sections in your 2-hour long live stream, where in some intervals, you could be interacting with your fans or bring them around your favorite places. How about meeting your cat or family. Take them out for a spin in your Ferrari. Go creative!

Make It Personal

The last concert I went to was a Bon Jovi concert which I felt was nothing different than watching a pre-recorded video of the band playing on stage. The entire concert was short of a live experience that I was expecting. I supposed artists could try to bring their live performances down to a more personal level. Yes, I am no way close to being a rockstar although I was part of three rock bands during my college years but as a fan, I would surely appreciate little personal gestures that my idols are willing to do for me. For example, liking or retweeting posts by your fans does go a long way. Artists could apply the same personal touch in virtual concerts too.

 

This article was first published on IQ Magazine website.

 

How to create virtual concert for free

How to Create a Virtual Concert With Minimum Cost – Complete Technical Guide

March 25, 2020 no comments Melvin Wong

I’ve covered the ways on how to generate revenue from online concerts and events. So, now let’s look at how to run a professional virtual concert for virtually free and not using a live stream from Instagram of that sort. Below is the list of things you need.

List of Items

  • OBS Studio Streaming Software – Free
  • Android smartphone – Not free but you should have it already or borrow one from your friend.
  • IP Webcam Android app (or Droidcam app) – Free
  • YouTube, Facebook or Twitch account – Free
  • Audio Interface – hardware to connect your mic and instruments to the streaming PC – Not free
  • Internet connection (min 1MBps upload speed) with WiFi – Not free but you should have it already

Optional Items

  • OBS-ASIO plugin for OBS Studio – Free
  • GoFundMe account – Free
  • Sound mixer – Not free but your crew might already have it
  • Additional PC to split the streaming workload – Not free but you might already have it too!

Getting Started

  • Check if you have an Internet connection with at least 1MBps upload speed. You can check by doing a simple speed test using nPerf.
  • Download and install OBS Studio on your Windows PC or Mac. Please ensure your PC has sufficient power (CPU, RAM, free disk space) to do proper streaming. We could test before going live.
  • Download and install the IP Webcam app on your Android smartphone. Make sure your mobile phone has adequate hardware capacity. This guide was tested using Samsung Galaxy S8. If you only have an iPhone, try this camera app from App Store (not tested).
  • I’m assuming you already have a YouTube or Twitch account.

If you want to be paid to perform virtually as an online singer or musician, please visit LiveKrowd, an online platform to book musicians and singers to live stream to venues and outlets like bars, clubs, restaurants and even churches

Configure YouTube Live With OBS Studio

Below is a quick video to show you how it’s done. Or continue reading if you prefer a text tutorial.

To set up a live stream on YouTube, logged in to the site and click on the camcorder icon on the top right corner and select Go live. Then, you can just allow the use of mic and webcam requested by YouTube but we’re not going to use those.

Next, click on the Stream tab on top and enter your stream title, description, etc.  Then, click on Create Stream button below (view the image below).

Start YouTube stream

By now, you should be able to see the screen asking you to paste the stream key into your OBS software. Go ahead and click on Copy.

Paste stream key on OBS

Return to OBS Studio, click on Settings at the bottom right side of the main screen. You will see a pop-up as shown below. Click on the Stream tab and set the configuration as below.

  • Service: YouTube / YouTube Gaming
  • Server: Primary YouTube ingest server
  • Stream Key: Paste the YouTube key you previously copied right here

Then, click on OK.

Paste stream key on OBS Studio

To test your configuration, on OBS Studio main screen, click on Start Streaming at the bottom right side (don’t worry, no one can view your stream yet!).

Then, return to YouTube’s previous stream page and wait for more or less 10 seconds. Soon, you should see a page such as below with your PC stream on the left screen on the page. You can hit the GO LIVE button on the top right corner to start streaming, but you don’t have to do that for now.

How your YouTube streaming page looks like

To learn to set up your microphone on OBS Studio, follow this video tutorial below.

Configure Facebook Live With OBS Studio

While you’re logged-in on Facebook, on the Create post (the “What’s on your mind” box), click on the three dots and choose Live Video.

How to start Facebook live streaming

Under the Stream Setup tab, find the Camera menu and select Use stream keys, as shown below.

How to use stream keys in Facebook Live with OBS

Copy the stream key by clicking on the Copy button.

How to copy stream keys in Facebook Live

Then, go to OBS Studio and click on Settings at the bottom right. Select the Stream tab and choose Facebook Live as the Service. And paste the stream key as shown below. After clicking OK, hit the Start Streaming button at the bottom right corner.

How to paste stream key on OBS from Facebook Live

Return to Facebook and wait. Give it like 10 seconds or more and you should see a page like below where the live stream from your PC is shown on the Facebook page.

How to know if you are streaming live from OBS to Facebook

You should give your live stream a title and description. Here’s a note. Do not click on Go live now unless you’re ready.

To test your live stream, under Public privacy setting, choose Only Me so that only you could view the stream by yourself.

Other than the usual live chat/comment function, Facebook offers some cool features like adding polls and asking your viewers questions.

Facebook Live features

The question feature is for the host (streamer) to ask questions to the online audience, not the other way around. For viewers to ask, they can use the live comment function.

The image below shows how the host’s question would appear on the viewer’s screen.

How streamer can ask question to their audience

You could embed your Facebook Live stream on a separate website by copying the embed code and paste it on your webpage. Facebook also has another neat feature which is casting – viewers could send the live stream to another device such as an LED TV (that is sharing the same WiFi network) to have a better viewing experience.

Configure Twitch With OBS Studio

If you prefer to use Twitch to stream, you can follow the video below. It’s as quick and simple too!

Setting Up The Camera Using Your Smartphone (Not Webcam)

By now, you should know how to stream from your PC on YouTube, Facebook or Twitch. I don’t plan to teach you how to use a webcam to stream because it just looks so unprofessional for an online concert. We want a more cinematic experience with the camera freely roaming around when shooting the live virtual event. So, we’re going to use the best and cheapest option available – via your own mobile phone camera with WiFi.

Please make sure that your PC and mobile phone are connected to the same WiFi network. Otherwise, it won’t work.

We need an app that records your virtual concert video feed on your smartphone and sends it to your PC that is doing the streaming. By now, I assume you already downloaded and installed the IP Webcam app. You could also try Droidcam but it requires you to install a separate desktop software.

Run the IP Webcam app on your phone and you will see the screen below. Scroll all the way down and tap on Start Server.

Tap on Start Server

The screen will change to a camera view with some overlay text on top (hope you don’t mind the ads). See the image below. Tap on the top left text saying How do I connect? It will instruct you on how to receive the video feed from the phone to your PC.

How to connect IP webcam to PC

Once you tapped on the How do I connect button, you will see the screen below. Tap on Connect directly.

Setup IP Webcam on PC - Step 1

Then, select I’m using Wi-fi router, as shown below.

Setup IP Webcam on PC - Step 2

Next, you will see this screen below with the instruction on how to view the video feed on your PC. You need to open your browser such as Chrome and enter the URL depicted on the app screen. For the example below, the URL is  http://192.168.43.1:8080 (no space).

Setup IP Webcam on PC - Step 3

You should then see a webpage on your browser like below. Click on the Browser button and finally, you should be able to view the video feed from your phone as shown below. You should also turn off the audio feed because we shall be using a better sound source (read the setting up sound section below).

Browser settings for IP Webcam

If nothing happens when you clicked on the Browser button, refresh the page and try again. Ensure the IP Webcam app is running and shooting. For better results, try to stay near to the WiFi router with no wall or obstruction between the phone and your PC.

If all goes well, you should be able to view the video feed from your phone camera as depicted below.

Browser settings for IP Webcam with video feed

If you still can’t see any video on your PC, try changing the video resolution in the camera app. Go back to the settings page on the app and select Video preferences > Video resolution. Reduce the video resolution to match with the video resolution of your PC. Reducing the resolution on the camera app also helps to create a smoother video feed with no delay (latency).

As the final step for this section, on the camera browser page, click on Fullscreen, as shown below. It will open a new browser tab to display a larger view of the video.

Maximize the video feed to fullscreen

Remember, your online audience shall see whatever you see on your screen. So, you may want to “cut off” the things you don’t want them to see. Read on for some tips on that.

If you still notice significant latency in your video feed after reducing your video resolution and by staying close to the WiFi router, you might need to consider a wired solution by having a long USB cable connecting your phone and PC together. For this, you need the DroidCam Android app. Here’s the tutorial to set up USB connection (read section #2).

Connect The Phone Camera Video Feed to OBS Studio

Now, we need to configure a separate video source on OBS Studio. Under the Sources box on OBS main screen, click on the plus icon (+) below the box and select Window Capture. Then, a box will appear. Select Create new and enter a name for this source. Here I call it Chrome Video Feed.

Add new source on OSB Studio

In the next pop-up window, you need to choose the Chrome browser window that is displaying the video feed from the phone camera. Then, click OK. The image below shows how it should look like.

Select Chrome window with video feed

You could actually see a few chrome.exe selections on the screen above. This is because multiple Chrome windows are open. You must select the one that is displaying the phone camera video page.

Display The Video Feed in Fullscreen

To display the video feed in full, you can either crop the window capture on OBS Studio or set Chrome to full screen.

  • Crop window capture on OBS: Follow this video tutorial.
  • Display fullscreen on Chrome: On Chrome, click on the menu icon (three vertical dots) on the far top right corner and under Zoom menu item, click on the broken square box. To exit fullscreen, move your mouse pointer all the way to the top and an X button will appear. Click on it. Or hit F11 to toggle fullscreen.

Set Up The Sound

We’ve covered all the easy part of this entire tutorial, so now comes the difficult part – configuring the sound in your live stream. Obviously, if you want a good quality virtual event, you must have good quality audio. To achieve this, you need to use an audio interface which is a piece of hardware that connects your microphone and instruments to your PC via either a USB or Fire-Wire cable. You could always use a sound mixer if you already have one. Some audio interface options you could consider are,

 

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It depends on how many instruments (or mics) you are using because each different device has a limited number of audio inputs. I’m not an audio engineer, so it’s better you ask your sound engineer regarding this.

You need to connect the USB output from the audio interface to your PC and OBS Studio should be able to pick up this audio device. Here’s a tutorial on how to set up Focusrite audio interface with OBS Studio.

If you need to separate each audio input into different channels on OBS, you need to install the ASIO plugin on OBS for Windows PC and here’s a video tutorial for that. For Mac, you need to use a virtual driver like Loopback.

Some Optional Ideas

Do a Fundraising Drive During Your Virtual Concert

If you want to raise funds during your online concert, try using GoFundMe platform but make sure they support your country for payouts. Otherwise, try Indiegogo.

Use Two PCs to Stream Your Virtual Event

If you want to produce a more spectacular online concert, you can consider using two computers. The idea is to divide the streaming workload between two PCs – one does the streaming work and the other does the video or audio recording.  Here’s a tutorial on how online gamers produce their online stream with double CPUs but the concept is the same for virtual events. With more streaming power, you can add more cameras. Please read below.

Use Two Cameras or More

I would suggest doing this only if you have a fast WiFi router (Gigabit preferably). You could have a stationary camera on a tripod facing the entire studio or your band and another camera roaming around to offer close-up experience. And you also need a person who’s directing your OBS software to switch scenes between the two cameras.

Have Someone Interact With the Online Audience While You Stream

This could be the OBS director – the person who’s sitting at the PC controlling the OBS Studio software. Since the same PC is managing the stream on YouTube or Twitch, they could easily reply chat messages on the screen and post links to your fundraising page or upcoming album waiting list.

If you’re an aspiring live streaming musician or singer, please check out LiveKrowd, an online platform to book artists to live stream to venues and business outlets like bars, clubs, restaurants and cafes.
We are waiving all fees for using our online ticketing system

We are waiving all fees for events in 2020

March 23, 2020 no comments Melvin Wong

We’ve decided to waive all fees for our online ticketing system due to the current coronavirus outbreak that has affected virtually all events related businesses in the world. This deal shall be in effect throughout this year – 2020.

This means if you chose to use our event ticketing system for an event within this year, you are not obliged to pay us anything. Yes, that is like 100% discount! Too good to be true? Well, the only fee that you may need to pay is the VAT tax that is imparted by your government. But even with that, there’s an ongoing movement happening globally that is urging local governments to waive or delay related taxes and to provide financial assistance to event management and promotion companies.

All sales payments collected for tickets purchased for your event shall be disbursed to you. We’re even absorbing the disbursement fee.

However, please note that we can only provide this incredible offer to those who signed up early. And if you happened to sign up this year but eventually have to postpone your event to 2021 (assuming this virus pandemic does not settle within this year, oh gosh, hopefully not), we will still honor our deal as long as you sign-up early this year. So, please contact us now and tell us your plan for your future event.

How to sell out your event

8 Practical Ways to Sell Out Your Events

February 17, 2020 no comments Melvin Wong

An empty event is a worthy adversary that every event organizer, promoter or venue wishes to evade. For it is the dream of many to label their events with the famous “Sold Out” stamp however elusive that ambition may be. We awed with envy at others when their tickets are gone within minutes and wonder what marketing secrets did they employ to achieve such an astonishing feat. Let’s demystify some of those marketing and promotional tactics to understand how we could use them in our own events.

Know your audience and venue

First things first, every event organizer or promoter has to know their target market in the vicinity of the proposed venue. Typical audience insights are the population of the city, venue capacity, demographics and purchasing power which translates to “how many people living nearby the venue who love XXXX and might be willing to pay $XXX for a ticket to attend.” It seems like a simple formula but getting the numbers to complete the math might be elusive. Some recommended free tools that you could try to scrape as much data as you could are Tweepsmap, Instagram app, Google Analytics and YouTube Analytics.

Once you gauged the estimated tickets you could sell, find the right-sized venue that could host it. There’s usually a venue big enough to host a sizable event for the size of the population in the city. The bigger the population, the bigger the venue you could get. You could still get a sell-out if you host in a larger venue but with lesser seats. Because ultimately, you control the number of tickets to issue.

Get big names

This is the easiest trick in the book to think of but hardest to achieve. Yes, it’s obvious that if you could get larger-than-life superstars to perform or attend your event, they will absolutely drive a massive crowd. But just to be sure that they are worth your every dime, check their number of followings in your city. Again, social channels are a good source, but you could also check forums, FB or Whatsapp groups, sales stats, data from similar past events and more. Online comments also could help, especially when you could find out a person’s location just from their name.

The bigger the name, the bigger the paycheck that you need to pay them. And some (or most) demand upfront booking fees even before they step into your city. To get that sum of money, read on.

Get sponsors to sponsor your big names

To play safe, you can consider getting potential sponsors to cover the upfront fee of your stars. Why? Because they have the money and that money might just locked into their annual A&P (advertisement and promotion) budget. And you don’t want to be screwed by getting a business loan to pay for the fee and fail to pay back using your ticket sales.

The trick here is to match the right sponsor with the right celebrity. Think Taylor Swift-Diet Coke, Beyonce-Adidas or Roger Federer-Rolex. And the carrot here is to get them to kill two birds with one stone. With or without an existing endorsement contract, a celebrity could be willing to fly all the way to your location if they could say perform in a concert and sign a new endorsement deal. Or the sponsor could use the artist’s presence to officiate a big corporate event and be at your event to drive more sales. Either way, it’s win-win for all sides – you, Mr or Miss Big Name and sponsor.

Get your big name to tweet about your event

This is a must! The more they post about your event, the better you’re off to getting a sold-out event. Because their fans shall be the one buying your tickets just to see them. You could save a lot of their time (or their social media manager’s time) by sending them pre-designed tweets or posts. They just need to copy and paste. Or mention them on Twitter and ask them to retweet.

Time your PR campaign with your ticket sale

Humans are wired as last-minute species. So, try not to release your media coverage when your ticket sale is weeks away. People will forget thus it’s best to do it together or a day or a few apart. Your media coverage reach should be directly proportional to the popularity of your invited celebrity. Which makes it easier to get the word out about your event if you have someone famous.

Create FOMO with scarcity

Think about how often someone or something like your event ever happened in your city. If it’s rare, you could drive up the FOMO (fear of missing out) meter.

Consider the adjacent audience

When I went to the first Linkin Park concert in South East Asia that happened in Kuala Lumpur in 2003, it was a huge sell-out. In fact, it was so successful that there were massive turnouts from fans from neighboring countries like Singapore, Indonesia and Phillippines. So, do ensure you spread the word all the way to nearby cities, especially those with the easy logistic means to attend your event. These untapped markets could have a stronger FOMO fear to come. You could even consider chartering a flight or buses for them.

Finally, sharpen your saw

Achieving a sell-out event in your first attempt may be difficult but once you keep at it and learn from the mistakes you made, that elusive “sold-out” stamp might just come by at one fine event. Nurture the business relationships you built along the way. After all, event management is human management.

 

Photo Credit: Jose Antonio Navas. Edited.

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