Livestreaming: tips from promoting groups

Two of our member promoting groups have tried out livestreaming for the very first time, with some of our Philip and Dorothy Green Young Artist Award winners. We have collected what they learned below to help any other groups thinking about livestreaming a concert.

Completely new to livestreaming, neither Egham and District Music Club nor Matlock Music Society had a YouTube channel to begin with, but, keen to continue engaging with their members through the lockdown, both groups decided to take on the challenge. Here are some tips for livestreaming taken from what they learned.

Delegate roles and ask for help

Setting up a livestream may seem like a daunting task at first, and to begin with there can be quite a lot of work to do - setting up the technology, engaging the artist, publicising the event and more. Just because you are usually the person on the committee that is in charge of booking artists and organising concerts doesn’t mean that sole responsibility should fall to you on this occasion. If there is someone else on the committee, or anyone involved with the group that is more confident with technology than you are, ask them to help - you may find that they are willing to do so. It is always a good idea, even in ordinary circumstances, to divide up roles and share the workload. 

Once everything has been set up for the first time, you will probably find it much quicker and easier the next time you want to do it!

Allow enough time to set up a donation link

‘CAF Donate was going to take two weeks to set up. I ended up phoning CAF bank, who were very helpful, and we managed to set up the donation link just in time for our first live streaming concert.’ - Egham and District Music Club. 

If you are planning to set up a donation link for your viewers, it is worth setting this up as soon as possible as the whole process may take longer than you expect. There are a variety of online donation platforms out there - have a look at our guidance about online donation platforms to help you decide which one is best for you.

Do a trial run

Once you have set up your YouTube channel, you will have to hand it over to the artist that is performing so that they can run the livestream from their location. It is definitely a good idea to do a trial run with the artist (with your channel set to private), in the same way that you would do a soundcheck for a normal concert, to make sure that the setup is good, the technology works and you have enough time to be able to fix any issues that may arise. As with any live performance, this won’t guarantee that nothing will go wrong on the night, but it will give you and the artist practice at resolving any issues. 

‘It is vital to retain a musician who understands the use of the technology and can use cameras and microphones.’ - George Wolfe, Matlock Music Society

Planning the concert programme

Just as it would be for a typical concert, it is important to discuss the intended recital programme with the artist that you have engaged to livestream. You should take into consideration that the artist may have a more limited repertoire selection than usual due to restrictions with their home setting - for example, it's likely that they will not be able to perform with an accompanist. However, musicians are creative and innovative people, and many of them may have come up with ways to get around this challenge, there is also plenty of exciting repertoire for most instruments to easily be able to fill a recital. So while this isn't a big concern, you do need to make sure that the programme that the artist offers is still going to provide a concert that your members are going to enjoy. 

Technical mishaps aren’t the end of the world

‘For the first few minutes there was interference with the sound. Fortunately the pianist found out what was wrong and replayed the music which had been spoilt. The rest of the recital went really well and I have had many appreciative comments.’ - George Wolfe, Matlock Music Society

Despite doing trial runs and being well prepared, both Egham and District Music Club and Matlock Music Society encountered technical difficulties during their livestreams. While it can be extremely frustrating when technology does not cooperate and events do not go as smoothly as planned, it is not something to be fearful of. You will likely find that your members, and the artist that you engaged, will be very understanding of how new the whole experience is. They probably even expect some bumps along the road and will just be grateful for all of the effort that you have put in trying to provide them with quality musical experiences.

Embrace the situation

‘We hoped to attract a wide audience and ultimately to attract more people to our concerts in future.  Incidentally we hoped some might contribute to our funds to enable us to continue to bring quality live music to the area.’ - Egham and District Music Society.

Although livestreaming doesn't offer the same experience as an in-person concert, there are some other advantages to livestreaming that are worth mentioning. For example, people can watch whenever they like. While the live aspect of the streaming does give the added ‘in the moment’ excitement that you would get by attending a concert in person, it also has the beauty of being available after the broadcast, so anyone who was unable to watch at the time can still get to share the experience. Both groups' videos have at least quadrupled in views from the number of people that were there for the actual livestream, proving that many people have caught up with the event after it happened. 

This is also an excellent opportunity to widen your reach as a group, show people what the kind of music you're promoting and hopefully draw in new members. So make sure that you publicise the event well!

We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.