Learning From Decades of Streaming Experience

Every passing day confirms that live-streams are not only a dominant feature of the music ecosystem, but also one which will certainly remain relevant in a post-Covid world. With more artists than ever utilising the medium in their shows, challenges and questions remain: How to engage an audience from afar? How to build anticipation for an event? How to enhance a distant experience?

While live-streaming may seem like a recent trend, using video and broadcasts isn’t. In this, our third piece, we explore those who have been doing so for decades with the hope of answering some of these questions and more!

Pregame Sports Broadcasts

When it comes to building kick off anticipation, look no further than to the perfect example of them: Sports broadcasting. Be it the NBA, Premier League or NFL, pre-game shows have mastered the art of engaging fans and viewers alike and ushering them into what’s best described as “hype-mode”. Regularly held panels with recurring presenters and surprise guests offering insights, along with analysis of upcoming matches delivered in a fun and engaging way.

Instead of your fans logging in to live-stream and being greeted by a blank page while waiting for the show…why not create a custom pre-show event? Something as simple as an interview with members of the production team, a behind the scenes “hang” with the artist/band in the green room, or a fully built set featuring set-list tease and gear breakdown. It can be as simple or as extravagant as you want it to be, but it needs to be something.

Stand-up Comedy

One comedian. One mike. One stage. Stand-up comedy has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to presentation and engagement, with filmed specials specifically broadcast to thousands of viewers across the globe.

How do comedians do it? Simple: they own the stage.

Strategically pacing the room, accentuating their delivery, building up the joke, allowing for silence to exist, embracing the tension before delivering the punchline: these are all skill-sets that comedians need to master as they hone their craft while simultaneously addressing an audience of potentially thousands. These are all talents any performing artist should know. You may not have an audience in front of you, but perform as if you do. Own that stage.

In addition to how to operate on a stage, comedians understand the intricacies of creating a sense of excitement prior to their performances: Sometimes planned pre-recorded (and most often improvised), comedians film lead-in skits to their specials which set the tone for viewers at home as they sit down to watch them perform.

If creating a kick-off show is not an option, why not take note of how these comedians approach their performances and incorporate them in yours? A simple pre-recorded message or behind the scenes video could be just what you need to heighten the experience and lead to a more engaged audience.

Gamification

Gamification. noun. “The application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity to encourage engagement with a product or service.”

Games have long been the standard bearer of building online communities and using streaming to its full potential. How they have effectively dominated Twitch and online video platforms is evident for everyone. How did they succeed so fast?

The answer is Gamification. Streamers incorporate game elements such as awarding points in head-to-head competitions and leaderboards to viewers to get fans invested actively in the ongoing streams.

What can we learn from this? You could set up pre-stream competitions with fans as they compete for giveaways during the live-stream. One example could be awarding points for sharing the event on their social media (this can be hugely beneficial when it comes to marketing your event and gaining additional viewers). Another example would be fans sending in images or recordings (ranging from applause to them performing a dance routine to a pre-announced song) which you could incorporate in your live-stream. Think outside the box and you’ll be rewarded.

The above are simply a few key instances of how we can all learn, borrow, and update from what others have done previously. It is essential that artists and performers use fresh approaches in their live-streams to engage audiences and make them a part of the show. These small efforts could translate into a stronger, more memorable experience for fans.

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