During Covid-19, many performers and fans are turning to online sources to get their fix of live music. While online performances have been a thing since long before this recent wave of social distancing, they have found a far wider audience than they previously possessed due to the current climate. In this piece, I am going to discuss ways to perform live from using the internet. It is tailored to the current situation of the global pandemic, but much of the content should be applicable in the future when all of this hopefully just a memory.
Many musicians are choosing to livestream performances through social media accounts, with Facebook and Instagram being among the most popular platforms to do so. While livestreaming technology has existed on the internet since the early 90s, livestreaming has found far wider usage and popularity in the age of coronavirus.
People sheltering at home are hungry for entertainment and music lovers are starved for the live music experiences that many of us used to take for granted. Right now people are watching livestreams in greater numbers than they ever previously have, and there’s no reason why you can’t be the one to provide that entertainment and experience.
While many musicians livestreaming sets are doing so through their own social media accounts, both personal and professional, many are choosing to instead livestream directly into certain groups created explicitly for the purpose. The larger of these groups will have many more members than you are likely to have personal followers, not to mention that every single one of them is someone whom presumably is interested in watching livestream music performances. Remember that there’s a good chance your co-worker from three jobs ago isn’t super interested in watching your set of punk covers of Madonna songs, but many of the people whom opt-in to be part of these groups probably will be.
Of these live streaming groups, one of the largest and most active is a Facebook group called Socially Distant Fest. With well over 100,000 members as of the time of this writing and many different livestreams going on at any given moment, Socially Distant Fest is a great way to both watch others’ music and to perform your own to a real audience, even if they can’t be in the room with you. Anyone can join and participate in Socially Distant Fest and many of its livestreams get well-over one-hundred live viewers, which would definitely make for a good turnout at your favorite local spot!
Other musicians are getting creative in how to share their performances from home with people, including creating group Zoom calls (Zoom can be downloaded for FREE). New York City Guitar School uses Zoom as well to host online open mics every Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Highly supportive and student-oriented, New York City Guitar School online open mics are a great place to find a friendly, low-pressure place to perform online.
However you choose to perform online, just remember that live performances are still one of the best ways to stay engaged in your music scene and to promote your recorded music, and right now online performances are pretty much all that we have.
NOTE: This piece is part of a broader article on staying musically active during the current climate of social distancing. You can see the other currently published pieces on the topic by browsing through the “Blogs” section of the NYCGS website.
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