Top Live Music Streaming Platforms of 2021 for Audiences

Updated: Feb 4

The definitive guide to the top platforms. If you want to watch a live show then Live Music Streaming continues to grow and offer multiple options for audience and performers alike. Every quarter we're going to revisit and update platforms as they continue to evolve.


TWITCH MUSIC

Twitch Music Live Streaming Platform

Who this is for: anyone feeling isolated and wanting to connect with live musicians and their audience while feeling a part of something special. Still hands-down the best experience. What's in it for Audiences:

  • Ability to connect one-on-one with a musician or band

  • Connect to other viewers in the chat

  • Be part of the show via emotes in the stream

  • Channel update notifications

  • Directly reward performers you like, celebrate their achievements and be acknowledged for them in real-time

The Good:

  • Free to use

  • Strong & supportive community

  • Twitch is well established and streamers have enough clout and sway to request (and get) changes made to the platform. This makes for a powerful experience.

  • Solid monetization paths for performers

  • Well-integrated extensions to maximize viewer engagement. Built on game-streaming success.

The Bad:

  • The platform not widely known to audiences outside Twitch or gaming

  • First-time viewers face an overwhelming deluge of channels


STREET JELLY

Street Jelly Live Music Platform

Who this is for: generally older audiences & musicians 45-70. Street Jelly began in 2012 as one of the first live streaming platforms for musicians. The founder's intent was to create a virtual busking site.

What's in it for Audiences:

  • Accessible live music streams with a super easy interface

  • Less overwhelming musician list than Twitch Music


The Good:

  • Free to use

  • Clean, simple interface, immediate connection

  • Viewers can tip musicians in the stream

  • Calendar shows which musicians are going to be on

The Bad:

  • Small window with a simple chat, or large window without any chat

  • Community is hard to discern and the platform seems out-of-date




YouTube Live


Who this is for: anyone familiar with YouTube and musicians wanting to work towards monetizing their streams and videos.

What's in it for Audiences:

  • Familiar format for understanding live music streaming

The Good:

  • Free to use

  • Audiences familiar with YouTube

  • Musicians can stream live and save videos to YouTube

  • Monetization path for musicians

The Bad:

  • Limited discoverability and limited categories relating to music on the front page

  • Rudimentary chat, emotes & interaction with viewers



YOUNOW

YouNow Live Music Platform

Who this is for: Younger audiences and amateur musicians 18-40.

What's in it for Audiences:

  • Ability to see musicians collaborating or simply find something in the rough

  • Informal hangout

  • The Wild West of live music streaming means you might find quirky entertainment


The Good:

  • Free to use

  • Musicians can create "Zoom" type live streams for collaborating with other musicians and singers

  • Low-pressure and can be simply fun & casual

The Bad:


FACEBOOK LIVE and INSTAGRAM LIVE




Who this is for: anyone on Facebook or Instagram

What's in it for Audiences:

  • See musicians you're following when they go live

The Good:

  • Free to use

  • Easy access and well-integrated with Facebook and Instagram

  • Notification on when musicians you follow go live

  • Easy for musicians to set up and boost their live streaming event

The Bad:

  • No discoverability

  • No community

  • Chat and emotes are very basic and limited

  • No direct monetization. Any donations are through 3rd party apps that you have to mention to viewers when streaming, and no interactive incentive for viewers to donate.


Coming Soon:


Twitter Live

Twitter Go Live

Who this is for: anyone on Twitter using their Go Live streaming app, and those migrating from Periscope which is closing down March, 2021.

What's in it for Audiences:

  • See musicians you follow when they stream

The Good:

  • Ease of use

  • Potential to have your video reach a wide audience.

The Bad:

  • No discoverability

  • No scheduling

  • Rudimentary chat & emotes

  • No community

  • No monetization for musicians


Bandcamp Live

Announced in late 2020 with gradual rollout expected during early-to-mid 2021. At first glance, Bandcamp Live appears to look like current live music streaming platforms and should provide a great way for audiences to support their favorite performer. Following this story.

Professional Streams where performances are scheduled by the platform:

DREAMSTAGE

Dreamstage Live Music Platform

Who this is for: traditional concertgoers & professional musicians and currently specializing in Classical, Jazz & World music with some Rap, Pop and Indie artists.

What's in it for Audiences:

  • Intimate, more formal front-row live experience

  • Great way to participate as an audience member

The Good:

  • High-quality audio & video, professionally produced and promoted

  • A cozy enough atmosphere that makes viewers feel at home

The Bad:

  • Distracting conventional concert camera work seems intrusive

  • Looks & feels like a pre-recorded concert

  • No community, and artists are not able to link to their social media



STAGEIT

StageIt Live Music Platform

Who this is for: traditional concert-goers, music fans & professional musicians.

What's in it for Audiences:

  • Professional concerts streamed into your home


The Good:

  • Professional at every step: polished user interface, quality audio experience

The Bad:

  • Not welcoming to audiences

  • Not easily accessible. Hoops to jump through before seeing anything

  • Limited discoverability. No filtering of artist list by genre

  • No community


BANDSINTOWN

Who this is for: traditional concertgoers & established musicians. BandsInTown Basic is more of a portal where musicians announce and promote their live stream shows on other platforms (YouTube, Twitch, Facebook etc). And now BandsInTownPlus offers a $9.99 monthly subscription service for more established acts and bigger names, with a promise of a certain minimum number of live streaming shows per month. What's in it for Audiences:

  • Familiar look and feel to other online concert experiences

What's in it for Musicians:

  • Promotion and scheduling

  • Professional look and feel

  • Ticketing system.

The Good:

  • High profile, well-promoted platform

The Bad:

  • Mostly just connects to Twitch Music Channels, Facebook Live or other streaming platforms

  • Not welcoming

  • No community

Noteworthy:

A number of other established streaming platforms exist that are aimed at small & large businesses. These do not cater to Music specifically but are worth exploring for musicians wanting options to give paid live video lessons or webinars and special events.


CROWDCAST

Crowdcast Live Streaming Platform

Who this is for: those wanting a webinar platform that any small business or not-for-profit can use and have an option to charge a fee for viewers to watch

What's in it for Audiences:

  • An easy way to browse a smaller selection of music channels if you are new to watching live music streaming

  • A wide range of webinars and live streams covering other topics


The Good:

  • Connects to Patreon

  • Control overpricing

  • High-quality video & sound. Everything you need to set up a live stream

The Bad:

  • Not well known

  • Pricing of tickets could turn some audiences away

  • Musicians have to pay a monthly subscription fee for their channel


Livestream (Vimeo)