When many Americans today hear the word “twitch,” their mind first pulls up images of video game live streams (rather than the medical definition for a “brief spasmodic muscular contraction”). And with 2.2+ million broadcasters streaming today plus 100+ million unique monthly visitors, the Twitch.tv platform is only increasing its enormous mainstream presence — and that’s why you need to learn how to use Twitch.tv to generate interest in your music.
This growth has triggered expansion into other areas of livestreaming, and one of the main spots of focus in recent years has been Twitch for musicians.
In one survey conducted by Twitch, 80 percent of the polled participants expressed interest in hearing live music performed in some capacity. That’s a massive potential audience, and performers like Steve Aoki, T-Pain and Porter Robinson have already been tapping into it.
Whether you want to do serious performances for denizens of the internet, or simply give them a backstage pass to your daily life, there’s a willing audience out there waiting for you. Check out these three key tips on how to use Twitch.tv as musicians, so you can generate more interest in your music and rock the world wide web.
1. Create a wide range of content
When you first dive into the world of livestreams, you should invest energy experimenting. Try a bit of this, a little of that, find out what works and discover what falls flat. Launch your Twitch career with any (or all) of the following forms of content:
There’s something particularly raw about a music rehearsal that most people never get to witness at a concert. Performers are humans, too, and showing them in the middle of practice can be a humanizing thing.
Twitch for musicians helps facilitate this, and gives viewers a new vantage point from which to appreciate the music-making process.
Whether you’re tightening up a new song or simply jamming, there’s an audience out there ecstatic at the opportunity to check it out. Plus, learning how to use Twitch.tv is an opportunity to see what kind of sounds are resonating with your listeners (no pun intended), and which are not.
You’re going to be doing it anyway, so why not do it live? Start streaming from your laptop, and let online listeners tune in to your creative collaborations with band members or others in your circle.
It doesn’t hurt to have outsiders pitch their two cents here and there either. Although it might get distracting, it very well could work for you (you’ll never know until you give it a shot).
People love behind-the-scenes access, so why not embrace what Twitch was created for and stream yourself playing your favorite video game? Even though it’s not related to your actual music, you’ll be connecting with fans (or making new ones) simply by chatting with them as you go about destroying zombies on Fortnite or enjoying your favorite online game.
World-renowned DJ Deadmau5 has an enormously popular Twitch channel (400k+ followers, 10 million views), where he takes his iconic helmet off and spends hours being a normal guy playing various games. He also shows off his studio and the production process, which has made him even more popular with his fans. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
Collaborations with other musicians
Know some other great artists out there? Learn how to use Twitch.tv to get together, go live and let the magic happen. Whether you’re playing music, figuring out a new tune (with axes in hand or simply sitting around the table), or you’re writing things out, the whole process is an intriguing one for those on the outside.
Plus, you’ll be sharing fans with each other — giving everyone involved greater exposure. It’s really a win-win scenario, so embrace the spirit of cooperation and come together with your fellow performers by using Twitch for musicians.
2. Link everything: Embrace omni-channel social media
Using Twitch for musicians isn’t just about the livestream experience (although there is a monetary incentive to put energy into your channel) — it’s also about connecting with old fans, finding new ones, and driving all of them to places where they can get information about your merchandise, concert dates and more.
Check out how Deadmau5 (an active Twitter user) color codes his profile, and leaves a bright blue “Twitter” button on his page:
Since he doesn’t really care about his other social media pages, he’s omitted them. In contrast, check out T-Pain’s page:
T-Pain has Instagram, Soundcloud, Spotify and even tour dates all linked on his profile (I had to scroll down, but Facebook and Twitter are above the fold). You have the ability to interlink all relevant social media channels and websites to your Twitch page. If you start connecting with users on Twitch, they can easily be driven to other places critical to your livelihood as a musician.
3. Remember: Twitch for musicians isn’t a job
Although getting set up with the right recording equipment and decking out your profile require a bit of effort, once you’re established you should not be using Twitch for anything you wouldn’t do normally. Band rehearsals, creative sessions, video game breaks — these are all things you’d be doing anyway.
If being live on Twitch in one way becomes a chore to you, try and extricate yourself from that activity.
For instance, if it stresses you out to let a live audience get a glimpse of you practicing, then stick to the production elements, or even just play games and talk about music with your viewers. Twitch is a great tool for the savvy 21st-century musician, but shouldn’t be something that drags anybody down.
Final thoughts on how to use Twitch.tv
Twitch.tv might not be the only livestreaming platform out there, but it’s definitely an excellent one for musicians due to its ease-of-use and enormous user base. Selling and marketing your music online is simply easier with such a tool, so if you’re looking to gain valuable exposure, it’s a good idea to get on board.
Plus, whether or not you care about the exposure, it’s simply a whole new angle for your audience to appreciate you, your music, and the processes you go through to create art.
Holding live Q&A sessions, showing off a studio session, or even blasting monsters away with lasers while shooting the breeze with a few fans are all things you simply can’t do in person. Suffice to say — Twitch is for musicians and not just gamers these days.
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