How To Set Up A Music Livestream

First time hosting a performance livestream? Read our guide to setting up a music livestream from home.

Written by Leni - May 18, 2020

Gigs been cancelled because of covid-19? Live streaming is the best way to reach your fans when you can't be there in person. But there’s a lot to consider when setting up your first livestream. What audio cables do you need? What software should you use? Do you need multiple instrument feeds? 

We’ve been hit up a lot recently by our artist community for our tips on setting up a music livestream. So, here’s our round up of advice for the most asked questions. Stream on!

What platforms can I live stream from?

There are a heap of websites and social platforms that you can organise to live stream from, but getting it on as many platforms as possible is key for opening your livestream to the widest audience possible. 

The most popular platforms are:

  • Instagram Live
  • Twitch
  • Facebook Live
  • YouTube Live 
  • Periscope 

What equipment do I need to set up a livestream? 

  • Microphone if you want to speak or sing 
  • Computer, tablet or smartphone
  • Sound card
  • Audio cables 
  • DJ mixer and decks
  • Streaming software 
  • Webcam or external camera 

What streaming software should I use? 

You generally have two options for this: third-party software or an all-in-one streaming service. Third-party software is better for pros, but the set up is a little more complicated. All-in-one streaming services like Instagram Live or Facebook Live are much easier, but limit you to stream exclusively to their platform.

OBS Studio is a popular third-party choice for more advanced artists, and lets you run multiple camera angles and audio channels and route it through whatever hosting provider you want. If you don’t need a video feed, Mixir is a good free option for audio-only live streams. 

Alternatively, you can subscribe to a service like Restream.io, which allows you to broadcast your live video to 30+ social networks at the same time. You can also use their chat feature to talk to your fans in real time, without having to switch platforms. 

How do I set up and connect my equipment? 

Each streaming service or software has its own set up process, but we’ll give you some baseline tips for connecting your equipment. For this, we’ll assume you’re running the stream from your desktop computer or laptop. 

First, you need to route the audio from your mixer to your computer using your sound card. Connect the record or monitor outputs from your mixer to the sound card’s line inputs. After you’ve connected your mixer to the sound card, connect the sound card to your computer. 

Next, open your chosen live streaming service or software provider and open settings. Under the Mic/Auxiliary Input section, choose your sound card so the software can use the audio coming from your mixer. 

To connect your video, navigate to the “sources” tab in your software platform, and select your computer’s internal camera as the video source. If you’re using an external camera, this is where you can select and set up the camera feed. 

How can I connect multiple instruments or band members to the same live stream? 

In a band with your family members or roommates? Or maybe you’re separated from your collaborators because of quarantine? 

JamKazam is a service that helps musicians who are not together join the same livestream feed. The audio registers super fast, meaning your fans will hear you playing together like it's in real time. 

Ableton Link is a service that lets bands play electronic instruments together. You don’t need MIDI or USB cables or connections, and you don’t even need to have Ableton Live to be able to join in on the live session. 

How do I broadcast it live from my social channels? 

Once you’ve connected your devices and cables to your computer and set up your settings and streaming preferences, it’s time to go live! 

We always recommend testing the livestream before going live, so ask a mate to tune in to your feed to check the sound and visual quality. 

If you’re using Restream, head to the channel dashboard page and route the stream coming from your software program to a main channel — like Facebook or Twitch. Once you start streaming, the service will begin broadcasting to all the platforms you’ve selected. 

Got plans to host a live stream? Hit us up on Twitter or Instagram and we’ll try to tune in. And don’t forget to promote your stream to your fans ahead of time. You can read our guide to promoting music (on a budget) here

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