Top Live Music Streaming Platforms of 2021 for Musicians

Updated: Feb 7

The definitive guide to the top platforms.


There's a bewildering selection of choices for whether you want to watch a live show or stream online as a musician. Live Music Streaming continues to grow and offer multiple options for audience and performers alike. Every quarter we're going to revisit this list and update platforms as they evolve.



Self-Scheduled by Musician:

TWITCH MUSIC

Who this is for: anyone feeling isolated and wanting to connect with an audience while feeling a part of something special. Still hands-down the best experience.

What's in it for Musicians:

  • Ability to build real and lasting one-on-one connections with viewers

  • Self-schedule your stream at convenient times

  • Monetize your music through a variety of means

  • Develop your performance style gradually and evolve your stream persona in a forgiving environment

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

  • Musicians can face a long grind for little-to-no money and it is tempting to spend more money ordering streaming gadgets from Amazon than taking in revenue share from Amazon/Twitch

STREET JELLY

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 Musicians:

  • Entry-level streaming platform easy to use from your smartphone, laptop or desktop

  • Self-schedule and self-promote

The Good:

  • Free to use

  • Clean, simple interface, immediate connection

  • Viewers can tip musicians

  • Calendar shows which musicians are going to be on when

The Bad:

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

  • Community is hard to discern and the platform looks out-of-date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 Musicians:

  • Large audience if they can find you and potential to monetize your channel

  • 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

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


What's in it for Musicians:

  • The Wild West of live music streaming means you might be able to invent something interesting

  • Partner program for monetization

  • Informal engagement with viewers

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 Musicians:

  • Schedule & promote your live gig stream as an event on Facebook

  • Access to a wide audience potentially

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. 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

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 Musicians:

  • Easy access to Twitter followers

  • Easy to stream from your mobile device.

The Good:

  • Ease of use

  • Potential to have your stream or 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 during early-to-mid 2021. At first glance appears to look like current live music streaming platforms. Could be a solid option for musicians already with a Bandcamp account and discography.


Professional Streams where performances are scheduled by the platform:

DREAMSTAGE

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 Musicians:

  • Ticketed events with good pay

  • Professional crew support

  • Intimate, more formal front-row-live experience

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

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

What's in it for Musicians:

  • A professional streaming platform with monetization and interactivity.

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 and no filtering of artist list by genre

  • No community

BANDSINTOWN

Who this is for: traditional concertgoers & established musicians. BandsInTown is more of a portal where musicians announce and promote their live stream shows on other platforms (YouTube, Twitch, Facebook etc). 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 for one price. 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

  • Ticket selling 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

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 Musicians:

  • A suite of tools to help you produce paid lessons, a webinar or something special like a theatrical event

  • Charge whatever you like, or simply allow viewers to pay what they can

  • Viewers can also donate live from the chat

The Good:

  • Connects to Patreon

  • Control over pricing

  • 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

Livestream (Vimeo)


Who this is for: anyone familiar with Vimeo. Still a very sparsely populated live music streaming site even though connected to Vimeo.

What's in it for Musicians:

  • Good for those already familiar with Vimeo

The Good:

  • High-quality video & sound

  • Pretty straight forward

The Bad:

  • Not well known

  • No discoverability

  • No audience for music so far

Platforms on hiatus:

Live from Here

Who this is for: Traditional concert goers & professional musicians but LFH has been hit hard during the pandemic and has gone on hiatus due to funding loss.

What's in it for Audiences:

  • Professionally managed podcasts, live streams and videos. There's a YouTube channel where videos can be viewed.

What's in it for Musicians:

  • Professional platform with promotion & support


The Good:

  • Traditional online concert experience with ticketed access.

The Bad:

  • This platform may not return

Please subscribe for future updates to this Top Live Music Streaming Platforms resource list.


Let us know in the comments if there's a platform or any features that we missed.


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