Stream Pilots followed up with Twitch Musician kathleen_e11e to get her take on how livestreaming is different from live gigging. 1) What aspect of music streaming surprised you at first?
Well when I first started streaming consistently at the beginning of quarantine, I was surprised each time someone from another country found my stream. I was just going live on Instagram and Facebook, mostly to existing fans, family and friends- it was our way to stay in touch and make sure we were all doing ok. But quickly, it became shared and friends of friends started joining in, and then people from the Philippines, Netherlands, Ireland, and Brazil started popping in. It was just wild to me that in my basement, I could reach so many different people and places!
2) How is music live streaming different from a live show at a venue? How did you adapt?
The hardest thing for me to get used to was the feeling that you’re talking/singing to no one. There’s no applause, no facial reactions from the crowd, and the lag time between when you say something and the response you get back can make you feel so awkward. It’s something that I just had to get used to. With the growing viewers it’s gotten better because I have more to react to and spark conversation from. But I think this challenge has made me a better performer because I’m not nervous about talking in between songs anymore, even if it’s just my inner dialogue on how that last song went, what I did that day, etc. It’s taught me how to make a more personal connection to the listeners.
3) What was the biggest change to your live stream performance from when you started, to now?
Well, I’m new to Twitch so learning how to navigate that streaming platform certainly has been a steep learning curve for me. I started using a better camera and recording mic to get a clearer sound and picture. I’ve also learned how to incorporate a song list in the stream so that listeners can make requests that I actually know how to play, resulting in less “sorry I don’t know that one.” I rearranged my recording space to optimize the visual appearance of my streams, which I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on, so that was exciting! But I think the biggest change is just the community the viewers and I have created. It’s so welcoming and fun, it’s honestly something I look forward to every week!
4) Do you see yourself going back to live shows (when they safely return) or are you staying with streaming instead?
I have played a few live shows this summer, socially distant and outside, but obviously those are now gone due to the cold weather in NJ. I loved playing out, and the live audiences were so hungry for live music, so appreciative, and very engaged in the music. I think this pandemic has made people realize how much live music had been taken for granted.
I do really want to get back to playing live shows though, when it’s safe of course. I really missed it this summer, where I’d typically be playing 3-4 gigs a week outside at the Jersey Shore. There’s nothing like the salt air and live music pairing! However, streaming will definitely stay a consistent performance outlet for me. I’d love to have a mix of both to give people not local to my shows a chance to get to know me better. Streaming has really helped me grow my listeners on streaming platforms, and given people a chance to really listen to my originals.
5) As a musician, what were/are the key differences of other streaming platforms, compared to Twitch?
I think the main thing that Twitch does that separates them from other streaming platforms is that it’s recommended streamers page for each user is catered to them and there to help them discover new streamers to listen to. It’s made to grow your audience. Another thing would be how nice and supportive the music community is. People who I’ve never met, and have no reason to do so other than their kindness, have taught me how to improve my profile, chat experience, set up moderators and bots, and even promote my page on theirs simply because they like my music. It’s their grassroots type effort that has lead to averaging 20+ new followers each stream. My followers and subscribers are truly the best!
Bonus Question 6) Do you foresee your livestream revenue equaling or replacing your live gig income?
As of right now, I am not making as much money per stream as I did at a live show. It is starting to pick up with subscribers and bits, so I’m optimistic that someday, in the next month or so, I’ll get there.
That said, I am gaining more revenue from streaming platforms than before and I feel like I’m generating more true fans streaming on Twitch than from live shows. Almost every stream, I have new people say they’ve added my album to their library on Spotify or bought it off amazon. It’s awesome to see that and then have people request originals during the lives. As a songwriter, it’s the most validating feeling. Kathleen streams weekly and you can follow her channel for schedule updates here.