A introduction to Twitch and why it’s great for music artists right now
Music is integral and deeply embedded within the gaming community.
When you load the Twitch Homepage for the first time (which many of you reading this may be doing), it’s very likely you’ll see what seems like endless thumbnails of live channels of people playing games. Amazon’s live streaming platform Twitch is mostly known for gaming, with streamers broadcasting their gaming live to professional eSports competitions.
Don’t let this put you off. In-fact music is integral and deeply embedded within the gaming community, so much so it can be the driving force behind artists’ music being heard over 1 billion times, even from one single game; FIFA. What we’re saying is, gamers will very often listen to music whilst gaming or have some influential connection with it through the game so already it’s a natural fit.
Looking beyond the home page you will see a Music & Performing Arts category. One point worth remembering is that Twitch is a live streaming platform not VOD (video on demand) so it will only show currently live channels. At most times, there’s a host of streams from music artists performing their songs live, showing how they make certain sounds from their studios, drummers/guitarists playing along to tracks, DJ sets, live streams from night clubs, all the way to 24/7 continuous ‘radio station’ playlist streams. These are real people, broadcasting live from their own setups, mostly from the comfort of their homes.
Peak times are like any other in the evenings 6pm (UK) on-wards when people are home from work, school or pretending to hot-desk in a Starbucks. This is when you will see more artist focused streams begin to check out what others are doing.
Streamers spend a lot of time and normally a bit of cash to get themselves setup and ready to go live which is totally dependable on your streaming setup and environment. Fortunately, most of it is something that music artists already have access to (we’ll be putting together a guide on streaming environment setup very soon). If you were to sing whilst playing guitar, standard setups would be microphones, midi audio interface, laptop/computer, camera and 10mbps+ each way internet connection.
Your channel is completely customizable
Unlike most social networks, you have to often stick to the limited options to promote your content or branding with a short bio and one web link. Twitch enables you to completely brand it how you want in panels with active widgets and content blocks that you have full control over. You can feature images, bio’s, large CTA’s to external links, music videos – pretty much anything. This is great if you’re live streaming and talking about music and you can tell users to simply scroll below and click on the relevant link. Constantly get your message across in your own way about your new album even when you’re offline.
Making some dollar
Once you’ve spent some time setting up your channel and honing your stream Twitch can help make you some serious money. Through adding adverts as pre-rolls, subscriptions, bits and game sales, all these can make money from your streams – we’ll go in a bit more detail later.
They offer two monetisation schemes with different criteria
Affiliate Scheme – experience on the platform
Partnership Scheme – more established creators
These are a very unique concept to the platform and enable creators to offer monthly subscriptions to their channels for access to premium features. These include custom emotes, badges, subscribers only chat and any other off-platform features you want to include. They can also be offered in tiers at £4.99, £9.99 or £24.99 with each tier having a different offering which you determine. Monies made as part of a revenue share scheme between Twitch and the creator.
Depending on the revenue share which can sometimes be around 70% streamer/30% Twitch, you can make some serious money from this.
300 Tier 2 Subs @ 9.99 = 2997 – (30% twitch fee) = roughly 2098.00 per month. That’s a nice amount.
Within music a few suggestions could be to add subscribers of your channel to a private Facebook, WhatsApp or Messenger group where you could offer out access to things like hearing new music first, pre-sale access to gig tickets.
Bits & Cheermotes
Celebrating talent and streamers is all part of the community culture on Twitch. Another way to to demonstrate your support to a creator is by cheering them by giving them bits which is a way to say thanks. You could see it as collecting money like busking, but from the comfort of your own studio with a sound and look that you control.
Each bit normally equates to 1 cent/pence to the streamer, so with a minimum of 100 bits purchasable users are often a little more generous than just the one.
If you’re a creator Partner then you can let fans cheer you on with customised Cheermotes at different bit costs.
Cheering makes Twitch chat more engaging for the entire community. Cheering elevates your voice in Chat with animated emotes, and expresses your enthusiasm in the moment through interactive leader boards and extensions. Also, Twitch rewards streamers for Cheers in a channel typically at the rate of 1 cent per Bit.https://www.twitch.tv/bits
Setting clear on-screen goals for your viewers for specific activity in your music career is a great way to get them involved in helping with raising funds for going on tour, funding your next single or music video etc.
Things to consider before you get going.
It’s an investment of time and money and can be really hard work. Setting up on any new platform like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook can be daunting when you’re starting from zero. Twitch is no different, except you’ve got a high quality TV channel to broadcast to and you’re the host, entertainer and star of the show. Most streamers also do it alone so as the on-site technician you’ve got so many variables to consider and be ready to take control in the event of a problem.
What does my live audio sound like?
Is my lighting good enough for each camera?
Have I got the capacity to do this at least once a week for 2-3hrs at a time?
Is my camera quality good enough?
Is my internet speed good enough for live streaming?
Does my left side look good in this angle?
and so on…
People are not going to subscribe to your channel, send you bits or even follow your channel (which is free) if they’re not interested in what you’re doing.
Musicians play games too
Gaming is still often to some, a little taboo. Especially when it comes to locking yourself away for hours on honing your character or skill level. Culture is catching up and platforms like Twitch embrace creativity and freedom to simply be what you want through gaming, arts and community. Why not challenge your fans to playing a game with you live on a stream?
Think concepts, creative and engage your audience.
As mentioned earlier, fortunately most musicians possess the equipment to start, but you need to work hard on developing what you’re actually going to be doing to make yourself stand out. You also need to make your stream look good, just like you would if you were filming one of your live gigs. If you do monthly pod-casts, why not stream them live and ask the live audience for questions? If you play FIFA with fellow musicians in downtime, why not stream it live? Just remember whatever you do, live-stream success is mostly down to the concept being enjoyable to watch and the audience interaction. Give that shout-out to CookieMonster5324 for saying they like your new hair cut.
What level8 do
We’ve got years of experience within music marketing and broadcast production from our time at labels, digital agencies and production companies. We work with brands and artists to develop live-streaming concepts and strategy within platforms like Twitch, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook that develop engaged communities of your fans. We integrate solutions through platform on-boarding, helping to set up streaming environments, setting up your channels and developing a content strategy where you’re confident and ready to go live. Often it’s from the comfort of your home and you’re likely to have the equipment anyway.
We also conceptualise and produce broadcast-ready fan activation events that incorporate a live online and engaged audience such as album/product launches, gaming events, Q&A’s, DJ sets and more. Bring the action to the fans and let them truly be part of it in highly engaged live streams.
We love coming in to the office (for free) and talking to teams about the platform as there’s plenty more to discuss. If you’ve got an artist or work for a brand that you feel can benefit from Twitch or live streaming to truly engage your online audience, get in touch with us.