How To Survive as a Musician during pandemic

Not having any social media profiles; and or being uneducated on how to use them and how to take advantage of them, cost many musicians their promising career. But maybe there is a way to save it!

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None the wiser

I understand that nobody anticipated pandemic coming into our lives. However, being ignorant towards social media in 2020 is not a good idea if you want to run/start and grow your brand.

Having sold out shows in clubs or small arenas is great but focusing on just one thing is very risky. Many musicians need to learn how to bridge the gap between offline and online world and actually connect them.

Prime example: having a show in the club or busking on the streets and not mentioning Youtube channel or any social media is lunatic. You think having sold out shows is pretty much… enough. It used to be, yes.

Welcome to 2020

Everyone who simply didn’t care or ignored all online possibilities and growing opportunities paid a high price when all the shows/gigs/events/social gatherings were cancelled. The problem now is that it’s slightly too late to fix it. I don’t want to be so negative so I can tell you that you can still fix it but it will take time.

Let’s get back to 2019, for example. We have a new young artist on the block who is busking three times per week in London. Having some club shows too and earning money to go by and more.

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Everytime they busk, they ask people to subscribe to their Youtube channel, follow their Instagram and TikTok and also follow them on Twitch. Before, during and after the busking, they post stories on IG, they film a Youtube vlog, TikToks and they livestream the full performance on Twitch.

Not only they made money from people on the street buying their album or just giving them a donation but at the same time, without additional effort, they made money on Twitch as well. Publishing new vlog on Youtube in the evening will make them some money later with their Youtube paycheck.

All of a sudden they didn’t have 1 financial stream from busking but 3 and at the same time.

The problem with this strategy is that it takes a lot of time, money and effort to get to that stage of earning opportunities. Starting growing these channels should begin way earlier than March 2020.

You can’t build a Rome in a day

When Covid hit us and all the shows were cancelled; those musicians who haven’t used those social media channels before jumped right on them in order to make some money. Trouble was that they didn’t know how to use them; they didn’t know how to set up a stream; how to use all the features and build an audience.

The worst part of this in my opinion is that they seemed so needy and desperate for money that I couldn’t believe their joy and passion for playing the actual music.

TikTok

Growing the audience on these channels quickly is not very possible, however TikTok still gives a good opportunity to go viral relatively easily. And yet many bands I follow are not on TikTok nor Twitch. They will rather beg people to buy a subscription on Patreon and pay them £3 for huge amount of content they need to produce per month. I’m sorry but it’s a nonsense.

If all that effort went into making couple of great TikToks and setting up Twitch streams, they could potentially earn thousands of pounds per month. And without begging, as donations on these platforms are just happening.

I just can’t get my head around it as I don’t see the reason why not focus the energy and time on what is hot right now rather than something which generates such little results.

Of course musicians who jumped on Twitch and TikTok right after pandemic hit were getting frustrated of not earning any money from these platforms. The point is that you can go viral quickly but you need to learn how it works. Learn and try the features, trends, become part of a community, promote the channels the right way and so on.

If you just start blasting random videos on TikTok, you will never go viral. If you stream on Twitch but not promoting it among your network and ‘offline’ fans across all other social media, you will not get any money out of it.

If you’re having audio or video issues — lagging or low quality cameras and so on; people will not watch your streams because the standard of Twitch streamers is very, very high.

Here’s some facts and reasons why should have Twitch and TikTok as a musician

On average, the expert streamer on Twitch earns between £2300–£3900 per month. Over 15 million people watch Twitch streams every day. Don’t you want a piece of this cake? Yes, the main entertainment on Twitch belongs to video gamers but musicians come second right after it.

Musicians are streaming how they’re practicing, they stream liveshows, busking and they also do play music on request. TikTok livestream works the same way. The earnings are not calculated yet as it’s a brand new feature.

How to livestream on Twitch without technical difficulties?

First of all, you need a good laptop. Livestream is quite heavy on the processor. Old and very small laptop will not cut it. A webcam has to be a part of it for sure. However, I would recommend using an external camera as webcam quality is not very good having it in full screen mode.

As I mentioned the quality standard of equipment on Twitch is very high, especially among musicians. You can play great music but if your visuals are crap, people will switch to a different streamer.

For connecting a DSLR camera you will need a mini HDMI to big HDMI plus a capture card which turns your HDMI into USB and then your laptop will recognise it as a video input.

You will need a microphone of course! With a USB input too. Also some lights and very good internet connection.

If you’re wifi sucks, don’t even try to stream because laggy video is a killer!

Your upload speed should be between 3–6 mb/s in order to have a smooth livestream. Download doesn’t matter that much, the upload is the key here.

Youtube vlogs

Youtube is much harder to grow in 2020 but it’s possible as Youtube is not going anywhere any time soon. It will take more time and effort than Twitch and TikTok but on average a successful Youtuber makes around £1000 per month.

However, the sky is the limit as the most successful Youtuber of all time PewDiePie earns approximately £6,000,000 per month. Yes, 6 million.

Your vlogs don’t have to be perfect, they should simply document your journey. Use your phone and film your journey. You can edit it yourself if you learn the basics of Adobe Premiere Pro, for example. Think about building your Youtube channel slowly for the future. What if Covid comes back??

On this note, I’m not a musician but I just started streaming on Twitch live editing videos as well as talking about movies. You can follow me here: https://www.twitch.tv/nicolevenvideos

And subscribe for my Youtube channel where I also stream! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnjjBlW-zWEiK9BaCKdA4pA/

I’m a freelance video producer and lecturer based in London. Check out my stuff www.nicoleven.com and subscribe to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/u

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