Stream Pilots caught up with Twitch Musician Sara Jazz to get her take on Live Music Streaming. 1) What aspect of music streaming surprised you at first?
How many people were already doing it and how much support you immediately got. When I started three years ago, I wasn't aware there were so many music streamers. Especially on Twitch, which I had believed was strictly gaming site and which a lot of people still believe today. Now there are thousands more music streamers than three years ago. That, plus the fact that music stream viewers are drawn to new streams and start supporting early on. The amount of early support to new music streamers is insane. On the other hand though, the music community doesn't grow as big as the gaming community.
2) How is music live streaming different from a live show at a venue? How did you adapt?
It is quite different. At a venue the audience talks to you after the gig. On Twitch you're in constant communication with the audience. Which is amazing because you can have in depth conversations with your chat, whereas with your IRL audience you'll have mostly small talk. And I hate small talk. I do miss getting applause or standing ovations, though. The atmosphere is also more relaxed: on Twitch a mistake turns into a meme and on stage it's sometimes considered unprofessional. At first it was weird to me because I was a serious musician coming onto Twitch. But I quickly realized that on Twitch (and on the internet in general) you need to not take yourself too seriously. That's when I also developed a passion for performing comedy. My stream changes constantly, especially doing variety. I don't think that there was ever an abrupt change in my content. I like to think that I evolve and have phases. I go with the trends. Not all of them, but I adapt the trends that fit me and my brand.
When I started I was a noob and very nervous about being in front of the camera. I focused on mainly music first. As I got more comfortable in front of a camera basically talking to myself, I started making more jokes. As I made more jokes, I made more parodies. So I started to do an egirl parody. That lasted for a few months. Then I got bored of that and did more gaming content. Now I'm reinventing myself again. I don't know where I'm going currently, but I'm trying to figure it out. Music and comedy are always part of my content, though. Just the mood and jokes change over time.
3) Do you see yourself going back to live shows (when they safely return) or are you staying with streaming instead?
When I started streaming it was mainly because I was starting to get anxious about touring and gigs - booking, managing bands, setlists etc. all were a big stress factor to me that took away from the amazing experience of being on stage. But now that I haven't performed in two years, I miss it. Especially when I can't during the pandemic. I am excited to play gigs again. I don't want to go back gigging full-time, more like tours and gigs combined with online content creation.
I have a project in mind - I want to do a prog rock project with TheSilenceNoise. A unique show with cool rock, killer songs, a raunchy saxophone, and some funny jokes on stage for a relaxed and new experience for the audience. Once the pandemic is over, I'm going to plan that with him and start looking for gigs and tours all over Europe and America. (If any reader wants to book that, let me know btw!).
4) As a musician, what were/are the key differences of other streaming platforms, compared to Twitch?
Twitch is the biggest live streaming platform currently. That's it really. I tried streaming on other platforms - even music oriented platforms - and it doesn't compare. The discoverability on all other sites is horrible in comparison. And Twitch is not ideal in that department anyway. The support from other streamers is also very unique to Twitch. One of the big flaws of Twitch is the current lack of licenses for DMCA. Which is important especially for musicians. I do see YouTube stepping their game up, though. So I would keep an eye on them and see how they evolve.
5) When (approx) do you foresee your livestream revenue equaling or replacing your live gig income?
It already has. Actually I was so lucky that three months into streaming I was able to cancel bands and contracts with producers to do Twitch full-time. I wouldn't recommend anyone to do that as quickly because Twitch isn't an exactly stable source of income. But so isn't living off of gigs. And I live by spontaneous life decisions.
I'm excited to combine both gigs and streams in the future with my new project. Especially because I learned a lot as an entertainer from Twitch and I believe that I will come back as a much stronger entertainer on stage than before.