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1 Apr 2020

Actually no, we didn’t cancel: An intro to livestreaming

Coronavirus said, “Cancel everything,” but the internet said, “No”.

With lockdown in place we’ve been ZOOMing and FaceTiming and phone calling like there’s no tomorrow. But let’s be honest, we would have comfortably ZOOMed and FaceTimed and phone called from the office too.

Now it’s time to embrace a new way of sharing our work to the world: Lockdown Livestreaming.

While yes, livestreaming can be a great tool for sharing work and connecting with audiences, it can also be a terrifying and awkwardly one-sided performance environment.

No applause, no sharp intakes of breath, no laughter.

But what you do gain, instead of saying goodbye to your audiences completely, you’re making it possible to connect in real-time. Through livestream you’ll break the barriers of physical distance (without breaking rules of physical distance) and can slide your way into the lives of commissioners, festival directors and new fans.

Embrace the glitchy nature of livestream and let the raw pixels charm audiences everywhere.

Before you head through the range of platforms available for livestreaming, ask yourself a few questions to see what kind of setup you’re looking for:

  • Do you just want a live performance or a recording that lasts after the fact?
  • Do you want the stream across platforms or in one specific place?
  • Do you want to stream to a known audience (fans you already have) or do you want to reach an unknown audience?
  • How do you want to engage with the audience? Do you want to see them? Get them to use the chat function and ask questions?
  • Do you want to work when the moment strikes you, or are you planning a more regular schedule?
  • Do you plan to monetise this? Free? Donation based? Subscription model?

Livestream options (in reverse alphabetical order)


Zoom is used a lot currently for meetings. But it is now being used for workshops, classes, and more. The picture and sound quality are not the greatest, but it’s good for connecting with large groups. Here’s how


Nice and familiar YouTube. The number of people who consume most of their entertainment through YouTube is growing by the day. It’s primarily used for finished videos however there is livestreaming capability with some restrictions based on the number of subscribers you have. Here’s how


Vimeo has a livestreaming platform which usually requires a subscription. They are currently offering non-profit organisations free livestreaming until 1 June by completing this form. Here’s how


Twitch was originally made for people livestreaming themselves playing video games. From here, there’s been a move by artists into the Twitch world. There is an interesting possibility to find a very tech savvy audience here. Here’s how


Restream allows you to broadcast live video to 30+ social networking channels at the same time. It connects the services together to maximise your audience. Here’s how


Instagram is a great visual stream and seems to be growing. Instagram tends to be personal, casual and vulnerable which is great for behind the scenes conversations, or playfully workshopping new ideas, or intimate one-person performances. Here’s how


HowlRound is a free platform. On a very helpful note, they also provide back-end support to help you set up your livestream which is essential.  Heres how


Many artists have already tested the water here. Parts of this are great and work well with connecting with your fans. The main downside is that it can’t be shared to other platforms. So, it’s just whatever it is. Here’s how


Crowdcast is a good way to connect in an interactive way and can be monetised through donation model or ticket prices. It can  also do multistreams (streaming to other platforms). Here’s how


Castr allows you to connect live to multiple platforms simultaneously to places including YouTube, Facebook, Twitch. Here’s how


If you’re looking for more sophisticated sound quality, you may want to check out this extra for sound experts information which explains how you can input sound from multiple places.