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Live Streaming Street Music Today - Part One

I'm not an expert on music itself, my engagement with music consists of buying one album from iTunes a year and avoiding everything else I don't have time for. I mostly listen to podcasts; they take up most of my listening hours. In this piece I'm writing about music's relationship with broadcast apps like Periscope and a potential level of success that can be achieved.

On the inverse as a side note, podcasting isn't suited for broadcasting on something like Periscope, the engagement has to be really well controlled to fit into a live recording that translates into an understandable product. 

Musical performances are however, suited really well and should be taken advantage of. Engagement isn't as necessary and the experience isn't as alien because everybody has music on their phone. I've noticed a behavioural trend, (mostly on Periscope, but it shouldn't be an exclusive experience) where streaming apps are connecting musicians to a more diverse and engaging audience.

As I watch many music related streams, I'm taking note of comments in the chat, the reactions and the willingness of individuals to want to give money, to digitally 'tip' musicians for such live performances.

People can tip via web services such as Patreon, GoFundMe or PayPal. Usually a broadcaster is sharing the musicians payment information in order to help and raise awareness of that's person's talent.

There has been many times in a live stream where someone commentating is telling the broadcaster that he/she is obligated to tip. There is sometimes a brief explanation that the broadcaster already has or will and then the chat dies down until someone else arrives late and makes the same request to tip.

The sentiment with tipping is being repeated without conflict in the chat. Oddly one of the few topics on the internet where people agree. It's being recognised that someone watching should. This is a very different attitude in real life, human behaviour is different in person and nobody is pressuring anyone else to throw some coin. 

I regard it as a new phenomenon that should be monetised and looks to be one of the few ways to monetise without any resistance, the positive recognition is there is very little overhead or disadvantages for musicians. 

musicthinktank.com on the 25th of February published an article titled '14 Ways Musicians Can Make Money from Live Shows'. Reading the article, you realise that methods 4, 5, 6, 9, 12 and 13, (if the musician is really adept) can be taken accommodated simply with a smart phone and a URL to a payment site. 

Younger street musicians should adapt and engage with potential new audiences in this manner. The context of a live street performance changes with a live stream being included in a performer's arsenal, capturing commuters and couch viewers with minimal extra effort.

In addition, discovery branches out when another broadcaster finds your live stream on their phone and decides to share the stream or when a musician meets another broadcaster in person and is looking to stream quality content of their own for their viewers. Not only is the output staying at the same amount for musicians, but the reach is multiplied to many more viewers with a willingness to tip. If there is another benefit that can be capitalised on, the second broadcaster standing in the street can also host an impromptu interview further changing the dynamics of a performance or take requests for particular songs.

There is no reason to hold back when approaching street music while keeping live streaming in mind. The resistance of people walking past unwilling to tip is countered by a second world wide audience who are viewing comfortably in their homes or on their own commutes somewhere else. Ironically they can be a larger source of income even though they aren't on the street and can't connect with the musician in person. It's more than likely easier and more profitable to fill the mobile space than the physical space as live streaming moves more into the mainstream. 

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