How To Live Stream Your Music To Twitch To Grow Your Audience

You may or may not have used Twitch, the live streaming platform where fans can donate real money to streamers they admire.

Even if you’ve previously used it as a fan, it’s time to dive deeper and learn how it can benefit your music career.

Keep reading so that you can grow your fanbase and have tons of fun at the same time!

What is Twitch?

This platform went live in 2011 and is a subsidiary of Amazon.

This means that having Prime gives you certain advantages when you link up your accounts.

Twitch is aimed at letting gamers livestream as they play so that others can watch.

As fans view your live recording feed, they can interact with you or other fans.

While platforms like Facebook and YouTube have live streaming options, the features on Twitch beat the others by a mile.

Twitch has a great way to monetize interactions, using the gamified method of in-app purchases to let you subscribe to a channel and access custom stickers, called emotes.

Users can also give tips to the content creators that they admire, rolling the fun of YouTube and the monetary support of Patreon into a single interaction.

Since it’s a bit newer than YouTube, it isn’t as saturated, so you’re more likely to get found in the crowd.

While it’s known for gamers and gaming streams, it also has a performing arts category.

That’s your sweet spot.

Why Twitch?

People love shows, and they also love staying home on the couch.

Watching a live show from home gives them the excitement of going out with less commitment.

And, because they didn’t spend money on tickets and travel, they can afford to throw some in-app money your way by using your channel’s custom emoji or leaving you a tip.

Plus, donating to your channel moves a fan’s song request to the top of the list.

The donation appears on the livestream screen and the streamer verbally gives a shoutout.

This way, anyone who donates can see their money appreciated and going directly to help an artist fund their passion.

It’s also more centered around common interests than generated or suggested newsfeeds.

People on Twitch like to hang out and chat the way they might on a video game server.

The appeal is in the interaction, which is perfect for a music artist.

Musicians have always shouted out to the crowd and invited them to sing along or get up and dance.

Twitch takes that live stage feeling and streams it right to your PC or mobile device.

How to Get the Most from Twitch

First, set up an account.

Use your artist name so that people can find you more easily and remember how to get there again.

Think about the impression you want to give when designing your custom emoji.

What is your genre? What is your personal style?

Whatever you choose, be consistent and stick with it.

What room will you use while you’re on camera?

How does that look to your audience?

What story does it tell about you?

Twitch is all about realism, so your setup doesn’t have to be perfect.

But it does have to be genuine.

People go on Twitch for the interactions, to watch people do what they love and talk to them about it.

So the best strategy for success on Twitch includes:

Be Yourself

Don’t act like a pop star or get caught up in a persona.

On Twitch, your audience wants to see you.

They want to talk with you as a real person, not a distant celebrity.

Be open, confident, friendly and responsive and you’ll attract people who love your streams.

Acknowledge subscribers when they pop up in the chat stream and answer their questions.

Since your goal is to play music and you may need to concentrate on your song, you may have to ignore some of the chat.

That’s fine, but tell your audience what you’re up to so that they don’t feel like you’re ignoring them.

Let them know when you’re about to start playing, and then respond to their messages when you’ve finished.

Set a Schedule

Since this isn’t YouTube, the appeal is in joining the show live.

But people can’t do that if they don’t know when you’re streaming.

Choose a schedule and stick to it so that people know when you are live.

You can post your schedule on your profile page, but you have to keep your commitment.

In order to really build your audience, you will probably have to play for at least 2-4 hours per day, 3-5 days per week.

That may sound like a lot, but think about how television channels work: they broadcast programming pretty much all of the time, so there are plenty of chances for people to stumble upon a show and become interested.

The more often you are online, the better your chances of being discovered.

It may sound like a lot, but if you’re being yourself and having fun, the time will fly past.

Talk to your audience between songs, answer questions, and keep fans up-to-date on your music career.

If you can learn songs by ear, you can do what’s called a “live learn” and work out how to play the request while your fans watch.

You can laugh over the sour notes and celebrate your success in ultimately learning to play the song.

Your fans will love the honesty and realism that comes from you showing some artistic vulnerability.

Even if you don’t play by ear, you’ll want to mostly take song requests and perform covers.

That’s how you’ll earn most of your donations, because like I mentioned before, donations move requests to the top of the list.

You can work in some of your own compositions, but remember that people do love to hear what is familiar.

Provide a good mix of songs to keep your audience coming back.

Network with Other Streamers

Visit other streams and interact with the artists and fans.

Ask questions, request songs, and hang out–but DO NOT bring up your own streams.

Promoting yourself on other channels is considered bad Twitch manners.

If you spend time getting into the community, you’ll get the chance to “raid” each other’s channels.

A raid is when one streamer ends a stream and sends their audience to another channel.

It’s a good way to increase each other’s audience.

Be helpful and unselfish with your networking, and it will all come back to you several times over.

Twitch is all about community and being a team player.

You can also stream together on your channel or that of another streamer, host co-ops, play each other’s original compositions, and whatever else you can think of to bring enjoyment to your fans.

Design Custom Emotes

Custom emotes are a huge part of the money aspect for Twitch.

Only subscribers get to use the custom emojis on a given channel, so it’s a sign that you’re one of the ‘cool kids’ when you post them in the chat.

That’s why you want to have a bunch of custom emotes that fit your style.

Well-designed emotes will increase the desire of fans to access them, and make them more likely to purchase a subscription.

Caricatures of your face, clever thumbs-up variations, or a fresh spin on your favorite texting emojis are all great ideas to get you started.

You could also make a contest of it and take suggestions from your followers.

There’s a great tutorial about making your own custom emotes here, or you can browse task-hiring sites like Fiverr and pay someone to help you out.

They have to be PNG files and really small 112 x 112 pixels or less, with a transparent background.

MS Paint doesn’t have the transparent background capability, so if you don’t already have Photoshop or Paintshop and don’t want to spring for it, you’ll have to use a free software alternative, such as GIMP.

Stream on Multiple Platforms at Once

For the best use of your time, you can try streaming once to more than one social network.

Imagine streaming to Twitch and having it sent live to your YouTube or Facebook feed at the same time!

This will get you in front of more fans with the same amount of effort.

No need to stream separately or try to repeat the streams.

StreamOn offers a great service to help you do just that.

It has a free version with great features and pricing plans that you might consider once your Twitch streams start to take off.

You can publish your previous streams to YouTube so that they’ll come up in search results for the songs that you played.

Think about trimming your recorded streams into clips of your best song performances.

Turn them into shorter,  easy-to-share tracks that you can link to in your social media promotions.

Learn It & Love It

Don’t jump into your streaming schedule without really getting to know how Twitch works.

Explore the streams, become a fan, and start off by just having a great time.

Once you understand what it’s like to be a viewer, you’ll feel much more confident in front of the camera.

Remember, it’s not about perfection.

It’s about the realism and honesty of the experience.

People want to get to know you.

They want to say, “I knew them way back when…” and be proud of it.

Imagine knowing your favorite superstar musician before they made it big.

What would that feel like?

Whether you or anyone else makes it big, it doesn’t really matter.

You could.

Everybody watching you might be watching a star in the making.

Exciting, right?

Now go out there and do it.

How GigFaster Can Help

You can learn more about how to book gigs with email in our free 3-video course at GigFaster University.

How To Book Gigs - 3 Video Course

Click here to enroll for free and take the course now.

Remember, if you want to succeed, never quit!

Craig Kelley

About Craig Kelley

Craig helps indie artists book more gigs, promote their music and submit to record labels @ GigFaster and GigFaster University . His latest release is his 7th album, Not So Blue. His band has supported Grammy artists including Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Rick Derringer, Gary Hoey, Joan Jett, Fuel and many more. He is also the host of The 5 Minute Podcast For Musicians.

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