A Quick Dive Into Facebook Live

Guest post by Leonard Patterson, Indie Band Coach

Sometimes it’s necessary to test the waters, other times you just need to jump in with both feet. Yes, there are tons of options when it comes to creating content, making videos, and streaming online, but very few are as easy and accessible as going live on Facebook.

Facebook Live was introduced in 2016 and has steadily gained momentum since. You can livestream events, performances and gatherings and your fans can watch from a phone, computer or connected TV. In fact, with the recent pandemic-induced rise in online users, even more functionality is being introduced as the race for attention is at an all-time high.

++ How to Start Livestreaming (Twitch)

Benefits of Livestreaming on Facebook

There’s no doubt that Facebook has done an excellent job at remaining relevant and even on the cutting edge of technology. While some of their biggest moves have been the piggybacking of competing platforms, you’re not going to find a social platform with more active users. 

With that though, here are some of the benefits of livestreaming on Facebook.

  • Anyone can start immediately
  • No cost involved other than what you already have
  • Immediate feedback from viewers
  • It will become a permanent piece of content
  • The longer you stream the better
  • Ability to crosspost to other pages / channels

Four Places to Livestream on Facebook

You can go live on your music Page (any business page), in a group, on your personal profile, or to an event on Facebook. Going live on a Page will give you access to more tools and capabilities than going live to a group or event.

For example, if you are using a 3rd party livestreaming tool, Facebook does not allow you to see the identity of your viewers when livestreaming to a personal profile or group.

How do you know which one to stream to? That’s going to depend on the purpose of the stream, and it could change based on your needs. In general though, here are a few things to consider when choosing to livestream on a Page, Profile, or in a Group or Event.

Livestream on a Page when you want to increase the reach of your brand. The content on your Pages is public even to viewers who don’t follow you. So if you want the ability to have the widest reach, use your Page. Of course, with “organic” reach being next to nothing, you may also want to boost the post or use it as a Facebook reach ad to connect with more people.

Livestream on your Profile when you want to connect with your audience that already knows you. This could also be used as a method of driving traffic TO your fan page by including a link in your broadcast post.

Livestream in a Facebook Group when you want to provide some sort of exclusive value to a community. This could be in a group you have started or one in which you are a guest. Just be sure to follow the community guidelines of whatever group in which you choose to livestream.

Livestream in an Event when you want to remind and encourage interested parties about your upcoming event. Provide a sneak peek into what’s going to happen or perhaps how you’re preparing for the event itself.

Mobile, Desktop, or 3rd Party Streaming

Basically, there are three ways to go live on Facebook — on a mobile phone via the Facebook app, on a desktop or laptop computer directly through Facebook, or through a 3rd party streaming software like OBS, StreamYard, or ECamm Live. 

In fact, I encourage you to go live with just your phone whenever you can. The more repetition you get interacting with fans and getting over any “screen-fright”, the better off you’ll be.

Go Live on Mobile

You can go live using the Facebook app for iOS or Android and the quality of your stream depends on your internet connection speed. For mobile streaming, it’s highly recommended that you use Wi-Fi instead of your phone’s cellular data. It’ll just be a more reliable experience. Sure you may be “able” to livestream over a 5G connection, but now you’re depending on more variables. 

Go Live on Desktop

Currently, there’s still an option on personal profiles to Go live directly from Facebook on a computer, although it seems to be missing from business pages now.

For now, Facebook is pushing businesses towards using their Live Producer platform. Live Producer is how to go live with higher-end production equipment and streaming software on a computer. https://www.facebook.com/live/create/

Using a Streaming Software

To go live with an external camera, include graphics or overlays, or have multiple camera angles, you’ll need to use one of the many streaming software options (also called encoders). 

Here’s a list of some of the more widely used encoders, a base price and whether or not they’re web-based, and Mac or PC.

++ Live Stream Resource Roundup for Musicians and Bands

Browser-based

Macs and PCs

Mac Only

PC Only

Viewing Your Livestream

Your Facebook livestreams aren’t just viewable on Facebook. You can make your livestreams available via URL, embedded on your website, or the Facebook Watch TV app.

I think that’s one of the misconceptions I had even before researching this blog. People really just need the livestream URL to view. In fact, a Facebook account isn’t even required. 

Another option, which could be a way to make your content exclusive, is to embed the stream on your website, blog, or membership site. 

Viewers can also watch your livestream on their Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One, and more with the Facebook Watch TV App.

Updated Policy for Using Music In Video

If you’ve ever had a Facebook live video muted, been put in Facebook jail, or just started streaming and wondered what the rules were for playing covers of any kind, this update is for you.

In a blog post, Facebook announced its updated rules and guidelines as it pertains to including music in your livestreams. Specifically they addressed playing RECORDINGS and recording live PERFORMANCES. 

I shared a video on my YouTube page that goes into detail about the announcement, or you can also see the full update here

Some of the highlights of the update include:

— There are no limits on things like music in Stories, or traditional musical performances (e.g. filming a live artist or band performing).

— The greater the number of full-length recorded tracks in a video, the more likely it may be muted or removed

— There should always be a visual component to your video; recorded audio should not be the primary purpose of the video.

The announcement also clarified that these guidelines are consistent across live and recorded video on both Facebook and Instagram, and for all types of accounts — i.e. pages, profiles, verified and unverified accounts.

It certainly comes at a convenient time when so many artists have taken to livestreaming to supplement their income.

++ 7 Virtual Tip Jar Options You Need to Know

Facebook Live Format Guidelines

In case you wanted a little more technical info about Facebook Lives other than “how long can you go live?” (8 hours) or “how far in advance can you schedule a livestream?” (7 days), here is a handy list of specs for Facebook Live video:

  • Video Length: 8-hour max
  • Sample rate: 48 kHz
  • Channel layout: Stereo or Mono
  • Bit rate: up to 256 kbps
  • Max video bit rate is 4000 Kbps (4 mbps).
  • Audio bit rate is 96 Kbps or 128 Kbps.
  • Max: 1080p (1920×1080) resolution, at 60 frames per second.
  • A keyframe sent at least every 2 seconds throughout the stream.
  • Titles must have fewer than 255 characters or the stream will fail.
  • H264 encoded video and AAC encoded audio only.
  • Minimum lead time for scheduling: 10 Minutes
  • Maximum date for schedule future broadcast: 7 Days

All formatting specs can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/help/1534561009906955

So as I’ve said before, if you’re just getting started out livestreaming and wanting to get some experience under your belt, going live directly to Facebook is probably your best testing ground. Plus, if it’s something you truly can’t stand to look at, you can always delete a post. Think about it, all of the tech is taken care of and with over 2.3 billion users, chances are your crowd is already there too.

  • – – –  – – – – –

Leonard Patterson is a former front-man for a 6-figure party band, a booking agent with 1000’s of shows under his belt, and a certified digital marketer. He launched Indie Band Coach with a mission to help indie bands create, curate, and automate their social media to share their music and get better gigs. Subscribe to the Indie Band Coach YouTube Channel and get more tools, tips, and training to help you on your journey.

How to Build Your Ideal Tech Stack

How to Build Your Ideal Tech Stack

Guest post by Leonard Patterson, Indie Band Coach

Before you get bogged down in any tech, just remember that the point of all of this is to connect with our audience. So don’t get so obsessed with any one piece of gear or new application that you catch that “bug”, you know….. shiny object syndrome. Yes, it’s a thing.

What is a tech stack?

By definition, a “tech stack” is typically used by software companies referring to “the set of technologies an organization uses to build a web or mobile application.” It usually refers to things like programming languages, servers, and software.

For our purposes though, we’re going to be looking at it a bit differently. Your tech stack will be made up of apps, software, and hardware used to run your music business. With that, we’ll look at those technologies in two ways — front end and back end.

What The Fans See (Front-End)

Front end applications are quite simply, everything in your tech stack that your fans are going to interact with. Social media platforms aside, this would be your website, email provider, and of course your livestreaming tools and applications.

Choosing the right front end apps really depends on what type of experience you want your fans to have; how you want to engage with them. There are differences in experience depending on what applications you’re using as well as if they’re desktop, mobile, iOS, Android, etc.

Example: Livestreaming Platform

Streaming live directly on Facebook with your phone is probably the best, least techy way to get your “live on”. You won’t have any barriers in your way except for time. 

However, using a livestreaming app like StreamYard or OBS, you’ll also be able to customize the look and feel of your broadcast and even build in interaction and engagement.

++ Livestream Resource Roundup for Musicians

Examples of Front End Apps You Might Consider

  • Website Builders — WordPress, Shopify, Wix, Squarespace
  • Email Providers — Mailchimp, Convertkit, SendinBlue, GetResponse
  • Livestream Tools — StreamYard, OBS, ECamm Live

What It’s Built On (Back-End)

Back end applications are just as important as what the fans will interact with. These tools and apps you use will determine HOW WELL your fans’ experience is when engaging with you on some platforms. It’s what your music business is built on.

Examples include your website hosting, internet provider, file storage, video editor, or maybe gear or hardware. Even though your audience may not actually interact or see this gear, it can have a direct impact on how they see you and your brand.

Example: Internet provider

A slow or unreliable internet service provider could directly impede your fan’s ability to enjoy your content.

Examples of Back End Tools You Might Consider

  • Website Hosting — Hostgator, BlueHost, GoDaddy, SiteGround
  • File Storage — Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, iCloud Storage
  • Internet Service Providers — Verizon, AT&T, Spectrum, XFinity

For internet service providers and upload speeds in your area, click here and enter your zip code: https://www.highspeedinternet.com/view-plans

One of the first decisions you’ll want to make is how you’re going to create and deliver your content. Some of the tools are better for mobile, but if that’s not your jam, you should consider that as well.

++ Product Update: Gig Booking Calendar

Here’s an example of a basic tech stack. 

The goal of doing this, it’s to help you define your systems. This will help you avoid some of those dreaded “shiny objects” that come your way, plus, it’ll allow you to budget. 

Other Stack Options

  • Scheduling tools like Later, Hootsuite, and Planoly can help you manage your social media content. 
  • Appointment apps like Calendly or Accuity make it easy for your audience to schedule time with you.
  • Content Design tools like Canva, Stencil, and PicMonkey can really help your brand shine through.
  • What video editor(s) do you use? Final Cut Pro, iMovie, and Adobe Premiere make it easy for you to crank out professional video content for your fans.
  • In terms of organizational tools I like to use Trello, but tools like Asana, Monday.com, and Proofhub could work just as well.

The list could go on, of course. But your challenge isn’t only to find the apps that work for you, but to define the ones you NEED. Each tool or platform will have an actual cost associated with them (unless of course, they’re free), but also an opportunity cost

How long will it take you to learn the app you want to use? Is there one that could get you up and running sooner and more profitably? Or is there a virtual assistant on UpWork or Fiverr that could have it done in 3 hours vs. the 3 days it may actually take you?

Yes, this may be mostly “technical” in a way, but don’t forget the purpose behind your stack, whatever it is. Your fans, your brand, and how they engage with you is the name of this game.

—————–

Leonard Patterson is an avid fan of all things New Edition, an indie-focused booking agent, a frequent hi-fiver, and a certified digital marketer. Since stepping off stage as a band manager/front man of a 6-figure party band, he launched Indie Band Coach with a mission to help indie bands reach more fans and book more gigs. When he’s not working, he’s most likely at a live music event, analyzing Marvel movies, or soaking up vitamin D at the beach with his wife and son. 

Want more fanbase and social media tips? Subscribe to the Indie Band Coach YouTube Channel .

Help Gigmor Find Musicians Paying Gigs

I hope you’re staying safe during this crazy time. 

Gigmor is raising money in a GoFundMe campaign. We’re taking this unusual step because Gigmor is more than just another business affected by this crisis: our platform can help thousands of musicians and venues get back on their feet. So with your help, Gigmor can make a big difference.

We’ve been working hard during the lockdown to be ready when venues and restaurants reopen:

  • Local gigs at small to medium sized clubs will come back long before tours and larger venues. 
  • Our new one-click booking feature is an easier way to make multiple offers for bookers filling an empty calendar. 
  • Our Gigmor Live streaming channel has grown fast and we know now that live-streaming will always be a viable service we can offer to independent artists. Artists are making $100 for a one hour stream from their living room.

Depending on the city and state, booking activity is likely to resume in May and June. At that point we hope to resume the strong growth we saw in Q1 and will have more options for fundraising. Right now, we’re asking for your help to fund operations for the next 3-4 months.

How You Can Help

1. Donate to the Campaign

2. Share Gigmor’s GoFundMe campaign on social media.

This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.

Toni Morrison

Keep live music alive!

Gratefully, 
David Baird & Team Gigmor

Product Update: Gig Booking Calendar

We’re excited to announce that we’re rolling out the first of many Gigmor product updates that will make booking and accepting gigs MUCH easier! We’re adding several new features requested by YOU – our members – enhancing this already invaluable booking tool. Here’s a short video that shows everything you need to know.

Venue/Talent Seeker accounts now feature a Booking Calendar as the central dashboard for all their booking activity.

One Click Booking!

When a Talent Seeker clicks a date on their calendar, they can send a booking request directly to Gigmor members OR any artist via email. That means Talent Buyers can easily make booking offers to any artist in the world.

Booking requests include date, time, venue, pay and all other information the artist needs to decide whether or not to accept the gig. It also gives the Talent Seeker an easy visual to organize their booking activity, see what dates need to be filled and keep track of contacts, revenue and more.

Gig posts are not going away. Artists can still apply to gigs and Talent Seekers will still be able to publish  new posts and accept bookings via the Gigs Page.

We have a lot more in the pipeline so get ready for more news shortly! 

Rock On, 

Team Gigmor

Gigmor acquires gig booking app, Canary

virtual tip jar

7 Virtual Tip Jar Options You Need to Know

Ok, as we leap passed day (whatever) of quarantine, chances are you’ve seen, hosted, or been a part of a livestream gig of some kind. If you have yet to take the plunge, but are looking for an awesome opportunity, be sure to check out the new opportunities with GigmorLive on Twitch!

In fact, if you’re interested in hosting your own Twitch concert or recurring show, contact Team Gigmor today to discuss exciting options whether you have a channel on Twitch or not.

++ How To Start Streaming

It’s just one of the ways you can explore being able to monetize your livestreams. The rest of this blog post lists several “virtual tip jar” options and payment apps to help your fans support you online — regardless of the streaming platform.

VIRTUAL TIP JAR OPTIONS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Paypal

Paypal is one of the most popular online payment processors available to date. It’s easy to set up and is very flexible in terms of how you can accept tips.

  • PayPal.me – this option allows you to set up a branded Paypal donation link that is tied to your paypal business account. Once you create this link, however, it cannot be changed (so make it a good one).
  • Paypal buttons – choose from a variety of tools to set up buttons to help you accept payments, including selling on social, buy now, recurring payments, donate, and subscribe.

Obviously, Paypal.Me links are easy and popular. Your fans probably won’t think twice because it is such a recognizable and trusted method of payment. But don’t stop there.

Don’t be afraid to think of created “gated” content for your fans and using the recurring payment option from Paypal. You could host your concerts on your website for members/super fans who pay a small monthly fee to access. 

  • See Bandzoogle, who recently launched Fan Subscriptions as an awesome Patreon-like feature to their sites.

Venmo

Venmo is a mobile payment service actually owned by PayPal. With a Venmo account you can transfer funds to others via a mobile phone app. Many artists are using Paypal, Venmo, and the next example, Cash App on their livestreams to accept tips.

  • Note: Both the sender and receiver have to live in the U.S. 

Cashapp

The Cash App, by Square, is a payment app that allows for direct peer-to-peer payment via your mobile device. It’s an awesome alternative in conjunction with Paypal and Venmo. In addition to offering it as a tip method for your fans, you can also get an optional Visa debit card that allows you to use funds from your Cash App account to make purchases or even withdraw cash from an ATM.

I feel like if you want to cover your bases, you’ll have at least these first three options available for people that want to support you. That doesn’t mean you have to post all of the links in everything you do, but having easy-to-use, recognizable vendors will result in a lot less barriers for fans who come to support! 

Facebook Pay

Messenger isn’t just for messages anymore. Through Facebook Messenger, you can actually send and receive money to friends and family through messages (i.e. not businesses or your business page). The payments must use a bank-issued debit card or PayPal account. For added security, you can create a PIN.

Once you’ve added a payment method to your account, money is transferred right away, but your bank may take up to 5 business days to make it available to you. Facebook currently doesn’t charge you to send or receive money in Messenger. 

++ How to Get More Fans Tuned In To Your Band

Facebook (Personal) Fundraiser

More than likely if you’ve had a birthday within the past year (let that sink in), you’ve probably seen an offer from Facebook asking if you’d like to donate to a charity on the platform. What you might not realize though, is that you can also set up a personal fundraiser as well.

Personal fundraisers raise money for a personal cause, like yourself, your small business, a friend or a cause that’s important to you.

  • Note that you must be at least 18 years old to create a personal fundraiser.

To create a personal fundraiser for yourself, a friend on Facebook or someone or something not on Facebook:

  1. Click Fundraisers in the left menu of your News Feed.
  2. Click Raise Money.
  3. Select Yourself, Friend or Someone or something not on Facebook.
  4. Select a category.
  5. Add a cover photo and fill in details about your fundraiser.
  6. Click Create.

One thing to keep in mind with fundraising is that there’s usually some sort of goal you’re working towards. It could be to replace a certain amount of income from gigs you’ve lost or to hit a certain amount that will allow you to do any number of things, like purchase a piece of needed equipment or pay a specific bill.

Another difference if you’re thinking about the fundraiser route is being realistic about the amount of time it might take to reach your goal. If you’ve only gotten tipped a few dollars on streams before, you might want to consider a series of posts or livestreams in a campaign with several touch points.

With Facebook Pay and Facebook Fundraisers, the real benefit is that more than likely, your audience is already there. There’s one less place for them to navigate to, which can help with the trust factor if they decide they want to support your efforts.

Buy Me A Coffee

If you’re looking for a casual, fun way for people to tip you, Buy Me A Coffee is a platform you may want to consider. A free, fast, and creative way to receive one-off and recurring support from fans. It’s a cross between a virtual tip jar and a membership site. 

You can showcase your goals and provide an incentive for fans to support you on a monthly basis through tips, donations, memberships, and your own online shop.

Supporters can choose 1, 2, or 3 coffees and you can set the price of your coffee in $3, $4 or $5 increments. Plus, it doesn’t have to be “coffee”. You are able to change your item to anything you’d like — a sandwich, a beer, a soda (or pop depending on where you’re from).

💡VIRTUAL TIP IDEA: If you’re able to have your platform open during a livestream, you can take requests via tips, much like you might do at a live show. With Buy Me A Coffee, for example, tippers are able to leave a comment, which could be the request.

You also have the option to enable monthly support or memberships for custom content. This means Buy Me a Coffee will automatically withdraw money on your behalf from the supporter’s account. It’s kind of like offering a subscription fee to donators.

Zelle Payments

OK, this may not be an obvious option, but I’ve got to say, having funds appear in your bank account without any middleman (or app) is a pleasant process. 

Zelle® is basically a fast way to send and receive money with friends, family and others you trust. The transactions are between bank accounts which means money directly deposits into your bank account in minutes. I’ll also be honest, I thought ZellePay was exclusive to Chase, where I bank.

It’s not. There are hundreds of banks that use the feature and as long as you both are “in network” and within the U.S. states. 

DON’T FORGET TO ADD VALUE

Of course you’ve got your die hard fans, family, and friends who will send you the shirt off their back just because you’re YOU. But don’t forget with all of this attention online, there will (hopefully) be a lot of new fans who are tuning in for the first time.

Be conscious of this when you’re livestreaming and keep in mind that this isn’t about “you” per se. If you have the mindset that you’re sharing your gifts, having fun, and creating enjoyable experiences, your viewers — new and diehards — will be more inclined to support you.

“People love to buy, but they hate to be sold to.” — Anonymous

Everyone is going through a similar experience right now. Be a piece of the puzzle that helps your fans enjoy their newfound time online and seamlessly weave in ways for them to support you in the process.

At some point we will be out and about again, but creating something now that could continue on could be a great source of engagement and income. 

Leonard Patterson is an avid fan of all things New Edition, an indie-focused booking agent, a frequent hi-fiver (currently practicing safe “air fives”), and a certified digital marketer. Since stepping off stage as a band manager/front man of a 6-figure party band, he launched Indie Band Coach with a mission to help indie bands reach more fans and book more gigs through livestreaming and social media. When he’s not working, he’s most likely at a live music event, analyzing Marvel movies, or soaking up vitamin D at the beach with his wife and son.