How To Go Virtual For Musicians
Audiences and crowds were the first to be eliminated during the COVID-19 crisis, and will likely be the last to return. Luckily, artists have shown remarkable adaptability in their transition to a hybrid of virtual events and online promotions, generating a community of warmth and support along the way.
What are some strategies to cope with changes?
One strategy that a number of artists have been using is live-streamed performances that audience members have to pay to attend. Although this method favors musicians who already have a large following, it is a way to intimately engage an audience and maintain interest in your work. Joining a lineup of musicians at an event greatly increases chances of engagement and quality of tips. Collaborating with fellow musicians to create your own live-streamed festival would be a wise choice if you are unable to access events. Opening up the space for Q/A will also attract viewers. A variety of these online music events can be found in our cultural database.
A good example of these live-streamed events is the thriving virtual club scene. CLUB QUARANTINE is a fantastic example of a platform for DJs to perform and receive tips. CLUB Q has amassed a significant following, and hosts nightly events on Zoom that attracts hundreds of attendees.
The term “micro-influencers” refers to a user who has garnered a smaller but still significant following, say a few thousand followers. Musicians can improve their network and following by interacting with these “micro-influencers” and their in a certain niche. For example, if your audience is mostly queer and gender non-binary poeple, you might follow and collaborate with creators who have awith a small following in the queer community.
Many Artists are funding their work right now through lotteries and giveaways on social media such as Instagram. Audience members can venmo artists a small fee to be entered into a lottery for a musical prize--a unique recording, merchandise, etc. Giveaways function in similar ways to promote an artist’s content--artists will randomly select a person who has liked, commented, and shared their story to receive a gift. People are much more likely to send donations if there is a possibility of winning an item.
Some artists have been able to capitalize on the hyper-virtuality that has accompanied the pandemic. Facing the loss of tour dates, Charli XCX funnelled her energy into writing and producing a quarantine album from her home. She persistently updated her Twitter and Instagram accounts with details on this project, intimately engaging with the isolation and sorrow permeating her audience’s lives. Charli XCX was able to harness the constraints of quarantine to her own benefit, constructing an album that, according to the New Yorker, “channels our cooped-up state into a dance-party soundtrack that will still appeal when dance parties become legal again.” We look forward to it!
What platforms are helpful?
Keep in mind: whenever you plan an event, you should immediately submit it to be featured on our Arts Oasis calendar.
NoonChorus is a service for artists to stream live shows during the pandemic and charge admissions fees. It is completely free for the artists to use with no cost to set up an account (NoonChorus gets their money by charging the viewers a small service fee).
Zoom is also a useful platform for live shows. Musicians can post events on eventbrite and their audience can purchase a ticket and receive the private link after purchasing. If you are worried about losing viewers due to cost, you can operate on a pay-what-you-wish basis. Evenbrite has an option for attendees to select their own cost. Many musicians are also performing on Instagram Live and requesting donations, which is not as profitable a choice, but can catalyze outreach and streaming sales. Other options include facebook live and youtube live, which both come with a live comment section and the ability to market the event beforehand.
Online comparisons point to Zoom as being the best quality service because of its many tools while also having the easiest sharing capacities. Zoom hosts every type of event from lectures to collaborative meetings to viewing parties and more. Also, now that Zoom has announced that they are going to offer end to end encryption for all users (click here for more about that) this video platform is now safe for all types of gatherings. Here are some of the tips and tricks for using Zoom to its fullest capacity.
Decide if you want to set up a Meeting (discussion between the host and audience, free) or a Video Webinar (attendants just listen, paid).
Meetings have breakout rooms where participants can talk in smaller groups, large group discussion capacities, a chat, and more for lots of interaction. To set up a meeting, first open and sign into Zoom. Then, click the schedule icon and create your meeting from there. You can then share your meeting with a link.
Webinars have digital hand raising, a Q&A feature, and polling for some but limited interaction. To set up a webinar, you will have to have a paid subscription that includes a max number or participants you can have. sign into Zoom and hit webinars. Then, put in the information prompted. You can then choose if you want attendants to register or not. There are lots of settings for webinars, so find out more about the specifics here.
For the best internet, hardwire your connection straight into your wifi connection, or set up a place in your house with the best wifi.
Minimize background noise by being in a quiet place and come in 5 minutes before the meeting starts so you can welcome attendants.
You can broaden your reach by using Facebook Live, Facebook Workplace, and YouTube Live to stream your event as it is going on.
Use Zoom’s PayPal integration to charge attendants when they register for your webinar.
If you want to control who enters the meeting, use a waiting room and don't share your link publicly, unless you want anyone to join the audience. Also, use Set up your own two-factor authentication to use a meeting id and password instead of a link.
If it is going to be a public event, make sure you as the host know your controls. You can mute people, disable video, and more. If you don't want others sharing their screen, and to find the rest of the control, use the host controls at the bottom of your Zoom screen. Then, click the arrow next to Share Screen and then Advanced Sharing Options. Click here for more on safety.
Other good tips: make sure to take control of the meeting early by setting a clear tone and asking other participants to mute when they are not talking. Encourage others to share their video, and do a test before your big meet or event to make sure you are familiar with the controls of Zoom.
This list is inspired by the Zoom Covid-19 support page, which you can find here.
How to make an Eventbrite event
Go to eventbrite.com and sign up for an account (you can just login through your Facebook account if you want).
Now create an event and fill out all the info pertaining to your upcoming event.
Be sure to click the “Online Event” option under “Location”.
You’ll have an option to create free, paid, or donation based tickets.
Publish your event!
You have an option to edit the payout method to receive your funds from ticket sales.
Under the “Invite and Promote” tab you can link your business Facebook page to Eventbrite or just click the “VIEW” button in the top right bar and copy the link once you're there.
Share this link in your Facebook event bio and Instagram page bio.
Then, Invite all your Friends to the Facebook Event and advertise it on your Instagram.
Bassist Steve Whipple created the website Maestro Match to pair up teachers with prospective students around the globe to teach virtually — both kids and adults. Hundreds of musicians have signed up to teach, from emerging artists to world-famous professionals.
Several musicians use Soundcloud to archive and upload their work. Soundcloud is free for anyone to use and many up and coming musicians have gained recognition on this platform. Having your music on several platforms and posting all of these platforms to your social media accounts allows your audience more choice in how and when to access your work.
Bandcamp is another great resource for up and coming musicians. The platform is free for musicians to use and allows them to sell their music and merch. As the website reminds you on its main page “Fans have paid artists $534 million using Bandcamp, and $20.4 million in the last 30 days alone.”
Remember, the more visible you are and the more interconnected you are on social media and streaming platforms the more recognition, appreciation (and hopefully funds!) you will receive.
Grants and Funds for musicians
Financial support resources musicians might utilize include artists thrive.org, which provides “a compilation of resources, tools and opportunities” to provide artists of any kind support. Other resources can be found at creativecapital.org including critical information on applying for grants, transitioning your career to a virtual world, and ways to maintain mental health during the pandemic. We encourage you to apply for as many grants and awards as possible, and to stay safe!