If, however, you’re in any doubt as to which platform to utilize, there are a few things you can do.
#1: You Can Ask/Survey Your Fans
If you’ve already got an email list, or a sizable social media following, you can ask your fans where they’d like you to stream. Their answers might just surprise you and may even lead you to new platforms you weren’t aware of.
Not to say that your fans are always right, but if it seems like most of them are leaning one way, you may as well cater to their inclinations.
#2: You Can Experiment
This is more of a trial and error approach than anything, but if you’ve got the time, patience and willingness to explore your options, there’s no reason not to experiment.
As you’re experimenting, keep an eye on which platforms helps you get the greatest reach and engagement overall. Then, you can home in on the one that gives you the greatest ROI.
Bandsintown found that the top three most favored streaming platforms are YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, in that order.
So, you could always plan your activity around this data.
Prepare Your Stage (Room)
Choose what room to live stream from and make sure the surroundings are conducive for your performance.
I’m not going to tell you to whether to clean up or organize, as that may be a matter of branding more than anything. If your brand would be enhanced by playing in dark, dank, messy basements, then do that. If a neat, clean environment is going to make the best impression on your fans, then do this instead.
Either way, it’s a good idea to prepare your stage before you go live. Make sure you’ve got the space required to be able to comfortably sing and play your instrument, and don’t forget to find a comfy chair if you’re going to be sitting.
You can pull out your smartphone and start live streaming right away. Having said that, there are some things you should be mindful of.
First, you may want to use a proper tripod so you can set your camera at the right height and angle. There are good and bad angles when it comes to filming.
Second, it’s not a bad idea to have a separate device for monitoring and answering comments while live streaming. Good interaction is going to ramp up your engagement.
Third, you may want to use a lighting kit, so your videos look more professional. This is not mandatory by any means. But if you’d like to create a better viewing experience, it’s worth thinking about.
Monetize Your Live Streams
Streaming platforms like YouTube and Concert Window make it easy for fans to offer tips. The easier, the better, as we don’t want to assume any level of technical proficiency from fans.
And, if you aren’t using a platform that has built-in tipping, you can still take advantage of services like PayPal and set up your unique PayPal.Me link.
Tips, however, are but the tip of the iceberg (pun intended).
You could ask viewers to become a patron on Patreon, pre-order your next album, contribute to your crowdfunding campaign, buy your new T-shirt or otherwise.
Of course, in these uncertain times, it’s a good idea to be sensitive to others and their willingness to spend. You don’t want to be overly promotional, but you also don’t want to leave money on the table.
Promote Your Performances
You can promote your performances using all the channels you normally would, including:
Word of mouth
Your email list
If no one knows that you’re going to be streaming, or if you just post about it once the moment you go live, you’re unlikely to attract much of an audience.
So, take some time to plan this out.
Consider where your fans are, and live stream at times they are likely to be awake and available. You can easily cater to fans across the world assuming you don’t mind late nights and/or early mornings.
Connect with Your Audience
Being timely and relevant is critical to connecting with your audience.
As I write this, the COVID-19 scare continues, as people isolate and social distance.
By no means is this going to last, so the key point here is to connect with your fans and tailor your messaging to them.
Presently, a lot of people are scared, anxious, frustrated, bored or otherwise. If you can lift their spirts through your music and banter, you’ll connect with them more readily.
Of course, you can also be polarizing and controversial. Ultimately, it will have the same effect of attracting viewers, even if you do alienate some.
Again, this mostly depends on your brand. If it would be off brand for you to be controversial, don’t be.
Generally, be personable and interactive. Answer fan comments. Mention them by name. Send “thank you” notes after the fact. People are starved for connection right now.
Pay it Forward
It’s no secret that one of the keys to success on social media is being social.
Whether you do any of this comes down to your brand and strategy, but I thought you might like to know that it’s possible to do more with less.
Final Thoughts on Live Streaming Concerts
If, for whatever reason, you’re uncomfortable with live streaming, but would still like to connect with your fans using the video medium, keep in mind that you can pre-record and edit an entire performance and live stream that!
Plus, you can still interact with fans in the comments. After all, your hands will be free the entire time, so typing up a few responses shouldn’t prove problematic.
Just remember to let your fans know when you’re live streaming pre-recorded content.
I wish you all the best in your live streaming efforts.
Is there anything else I should have addressed here?
Do you have any lingering comments regarding live streaming?
Building a music career isn’t exactly a stroll in the park.
As such, staying abreast of the latest trends and finding opportunities to exploit is key to building a following – and, hopefully – making more money from music.
Many musicians, young and old, are now looking to TikTok to fulfill on these requirements.
So, how does one go about making viral TikTok videos to build their music careers?
What is TikTok?
TikTok is essentially the latest trending short-form, video-based, meme-generating social media platform that replaced the once popular Vine.
Many of the videos feature cute pets and attractive people dancing to top 40 music (or some combination thereof). Others feature memes, thrilling rollercoaster rides, amazing human feats (not “feets”) and more.
But there’s no question users are getting creative with it, enticing all manner of responses from viewers – shock, surprise, laughter and more.
Should I Even be on TikTok?
I think this is a valuable question to ask.
Personally, I can think of far more important things to do with my time (making music, marketing my music, merchandising, etc.).
But I still hold to the notion that 20% of your time should be invested in experimentation. After all, you never know what might come of your experiments. This is where some artists find unprecedented success.
Again, I can think of better things to do with that 20% time (e.g. writing music in a style I’ve never written before, starting a side project, finding other creative expressions, etc.). But here’s no reason you couldn’t dedicate it to TikTok.
How do I Make a Viral TikTok Video?
At the outset, I must point out that there is no definitive formula for creating any kind of viral content, let alone on TikTok.
Carl Douglas didn’t think “Kung Fu Fighting” was going to be a hit and the song was put together rather hastily, at the last minute, in the studio. So, success sometimes comes from unexpected places, and that’s an important lesson all its own.
If you’re used to Twitter and Instagram, you should be able to figure this out relatively quickly.
Keep an eye on popular hashtags, and if they are relevant to the content you’re creating, use them to boost views.
Content creation needs to be taken seriously. But that seriousness shouldn’t carry into your content. If you aren’t having fun in your videos, you shouldn’t expect your viewers to have any fun either.
Social media is about connecting and engaging with people. So, make it fun for everyone involved.
Brainstorm & Experiment with a Variety of Ideas
If you’re going to be posting fresh content once or twice per day (recommended), then you’d better start generating plenty of ideas. I’d suggest writing them down somewhere you can easily find them.
Then, experiment plenty. You just never know what idea might end up resonating, even if you think it’s “stupid.”
The 3 Pillars of Success with Social Media
I hold to the notion that there are only three pillars to social media success. They can be applied to any platform. They are simple but not easy. Violate these rules at your own peril.
Let’s look at what these three pillars are and how to apply them to your TikTok efforts.
Pillar #1: Publish Platform-Centric Content
You can always take your TikTok videos and share them elsewhere (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and so on – I’ll talk more about this in a moment).
But first and foremost, if you want to do well on TikTok, you must create the type of content that works well on TikTok (short videos that make people stand up and take notice).
This is easy to do, easy not to do. In other words, if you get lazy and just take unremarkable clips from your YouTube videos and republish them to TikTok, you’re less likely to do well on the platform.
Pillar #2: Publish Remarkable Content
If your content doesn’t warrant a response from viewers, it’s not going to do much for you.
This doesn’t mean you’re going to hit the content nail on the head every single time. Making good content takes work. So, you can’t just fly by the seat of your pants and expect to succeed.
Try to come up with content that leaves people feeling something. Draw out an emotional response. If you can do that, you will get viewers hooked on your content.
Pillar #3: Publish Consistently
Each piece of content may require quite a bit of brainstorming, planning, filming and even editing. Is that something you can commit to?
A lot of people publish one thing (or a few things) and hope it takes the world by storm. Generally, that’s not a winning formula. You need a larger archive of content along with new content to harvest attention and keep it.
Determine exactly how many times you’re going to be publishing daily or weekly and when.
Once you’ve built a bit of a following, you can post a little more sporadically, but until then, stick to the plan (no matter how tedious it gets).
Bonus Pillar: Distribute, Syndicate & Promote Your Content
You’re a musician. So, hopefully you understand how important it is to promote your works.
With releasing new music, for example, you can’t just distribute the release and hope everyone streams it. Unless you’re well-known, it just doesn’t work that way. You must promote your work.
It’s the same with social media content. You can’t just post it and hope everyone sees it. You must distribute, syndicate and promote the content you’ve worked so hard to create.
What’s the Benefit of Becoming Popular on TikTok?
I don’t know. You tell me.
I have often said that social media numbers are irrelevant unless you’re trying to achieve a specific end. I have always felt that website traffic, email signups and ultimately sales are far more important metrics.
But let’s talk about those “specific ends”.
For musicians, that might mean getting booked for a festival (they might be more inclined to book a band that can bring a crowd).
For bloggers and authors, getting a publishing deal (most publishers want their authors to be able to pre-sell tens of thousands of copies of their book).
By the way, not to be overly indulgent here, but it does help when you follow me on social media. I’m confident I’ve added some value to you today, so please take a moment to follow and engage with me on these platforms:
A big following doesn’t mean you’re making lots of money.
A big following doesn’t mean you’ve got it where it counts (website traffic, email list, sales).
A big following doesn’t mean you’re popular or famous.
And, a big following certainly doesn’t mean you’ve got something better to say than others.
So, be realistic here. Be clear about what you’re trying to achieve. Otherwise, you’re pointing in the wrong direction and need to course correct as soon as possible.
Final Thoughts on Viral TikTok Videos
Wouldn’t it be great to go viral? We all think about it from time to time and imagine what it would be like.
But I believe social media consultant Lori Taylor said it best when she said:
Going viral is not an outcome; it’s a happening. Sometimes it happens; sometimes it doesn’t. Just remember, fans are vanity and sales are sanity.
I could not have said it any better than that!
Just so we’re clear, I’m not anti-social media. I’m just anti-distraction and anti-unintentionality.
When adopting a new tactic, a high degree of intentionality must be employed. And, when it comes to a low-level opportunity like social media, you’d better have absolute clarity around what you’re doing and how much effort it’s going to take.
But if you’ve chosen TikTok to help you grow your following, great. Apply your best thinking to the platform or you’re unlikely to achieve much.
Is there anything else I should have addressed?
Do you have any unanswered questions regarding TikTok?
A lot of extra work went into this book (I went over and above in making it what it is), and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you.
In this post, I will be sharing the story behind my latest book.
How the Book Came to be
I began working on this book last year, and it was going to be titled something along the lines of 50 Steps to Becoming a Music Entrepreneur.
I wanted each step to be about 200 words (quite short), but also link out to a variety of other resources the reader would find helpful.
The title, however, flew in the face of what I was ultimately trying to accomplish. It didn’t take me long to put together the first draft, but the concept just wasn’t resonating.
I had been observing, for a while, that many of the music entrepreneur related resources were overwhelming in scope, length and – dare I say it – academic arrogance. This became especially apparent to me when I attended CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference last year.
While I do believe it’s good and even wise to conceive a sophisticated marketing strategy for your music career, I don’t think any musicians coming straight out of music lessons or school are going to feel anything less than dumbfounded by the mountain they (allegedly) must climb to enjoy a career in music.
Skimming these resources alone could, sadly, leave some musicians feeling like they should give up before they even start.
And, the resources I was coming across were so far removed from anything I’ve ever taught any of my successful students (set up pre-orders, get to your first dollar, make the product, etc.) that I simply couldn’t leave this injustice unaddressed.
I shared this idea with my mastermind group, and, with their help, I made the switch from 50 Steps to Becoming a Music Entrepreneur to The Music Entrepreneur Code. They have been instrumental in helping me make this book everything it could possibly be.
I then vowed to make this resource as easy to digest as humanly possible. I kept editing and trimming until I felt the key takeaways couldn’t be any clearer. And, I’m proud of what I was able to produce.
Why The Music Entrepreneur Code?
My publishing career to this point might look slightly scattered.
To be fair, though, I was commissioned to write the book for The Indie YYC community, and as you may already know, I’m a co-founder of the community. The book became a best-seller, so I don’t regret doing what I did.
It took effort to put together, and I’m proud of the work, but sadly, best to my knowledge, I haven’t sold a single copy to date.
That’s okay, however, as it likely just means I need to change the title and cover to give it some legs.
If there are any questions about my intentions with Start Your Year the Right Way, I wanted to create a motivational book music entrepreneurs could use to get clear on their goals.
I don’t think the concept is wrong – just that I need to do some things differently to build a proper connection with my audience.
Anyway, you might be asking yourself (as my mastermind group asked), “how does The Music Entrepreneur Code fit in with the rest?”
This question is an important one. In large part, it’s guiding the direction of my projects in 2020.
To create cohesion between my books, I will be reworking and rebranding most of them into what I call the Complete Music Entrepreneur Set.
The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship will become The Music Entrepreneur Mindset.
The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship will become The Music Entrepreneur Identity.
And, Start Your Year the Right Way will become The Music Entrepreneur Power Year.
The Music Entrepreneur Code fits nicely in between Identity and Power Year.
Mindset gives you the absolute essentials you need to begin your career as a music entrepreneur.
Identity helps you identify your brand.
Code helps you take the right actions at the right time to build your career.
Power Year, which could potentially go at the beginning of the Complete Set, helps with setting goals, devising a strategy and staying motivated.
This is as far as I’ve gotten with how one book connects with the other, but I think I’m well on my way to making sense of it all.
Without Wasting Years of Your Life and Thousands of Dollars?
I know, it’s kind of an evocative subtitle, right? But it reflects my experience quite accurately.
Here, in 2020, many of my dreams have come true. There’s always more to strive for, but I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish.
Yet, I can tie most of my business success back to choices I made in 2014. And, I can tie most of those choices back to 2007, when I began my personal development journey.
13 years isn’t forever, but it’s certainly nothing to sneeze at.
And, while all that was going on, I easily lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to failed business ventures.
I rather like to think of it as an investment though. I got to learn some expensive lessons!
When presented with the facts, many people will choose not to follow that path. They wouldn’t want to go broke, break up with their significant other or run a beater car into the ground multiple times as I did, just to achieve their dreams.
So, if you knew what I now know, you’d be able to shortcut your progress significantly, don’t you think? Thus, the subtitle.
The book is not an end in and of itself. In many ways, it’s just the beginning.
First, I will be marketing the book. The process has already begun.
By the way, anyone telling you that you shouldn’t market your book (I’ve heard some “experts” say “if you get the positioning right, the rest will take care of itself”) probably doesn’t have a hot clue what they’re talking about.
Second, I’m planning to create a companion course for the book. We all have our preferred way of consuming content, but there’s no denying that some people love audio and video. So, that will be the focus of the companion course.
Third, I’m planning to put together the audiobook version of the book. This may very well come last, but it has the potential to become an important asset all its own.
And, finally, as already noted, I will be fleshing out the Complete Music Entrepreneur Set.
So, the work has only just begun.
Thanks for reading. I hope my story has been engaging and possibly even inspiring.