Twitch is one of the fastest growing platforms for musicians. Long before the pandemic lockdowns began, musicians were broadcasting live shows and activities from their homes and studio spaces; but nowadays, it’s on a whole new level.
For years, Twitch long existed as a video streaming platform for gamers and coders primarily, but today it has transformed into prime social platform real estate for all types of content creators, with musicians front and center. Moreover, as the platform has grown exponentially this year, musicians have started to use it to earn back some of their lost income.
In fact, there are so many more ways than just playing live shows from home to engage with your fans and generate some extra revenue. So, in this post, I’d like to outline four less obvious things you can do on Twitch to promote your music, besides the concert thing.
1. Q&A sessions
What better engagement opportunity is there than a virtual hang out with your fans? On Twitch, you can make Q&A sessions feel extra intimate; take questions from your fans and create an open conversation with your community.
Perhaps your fans are curious about the lyrics of one of your songs, or maybe they’ll ask when you think you might be touring again. You can use this as a chance to share your lockdown experience and notify them of any plans for the future.
Whatever the topic, with everyone at home these days it’s much easier to get people’s attention, so this could be a great time to develop your fan and colleague relationships—it’ll help out a ton in the long run.
2. Give a master class
One of the most popular types of content on Twitch these days is running a music production master class. If you’re a home-recording artist, engineer, or producer—or even if you just dabble in the DIY—you can share your screen and showcase your gear to viewers to give them a glimpse into your creative process.
But don’t stop at production! Taking this idea forward, you can host a master class on any aspect of your music making; songwriting, lyric ideation, composition, instrument practice, even teaching audiences how to play one or several of your own songs. Whatever you feel is your own personal area of expertise, share that with the world.
Since Twitch allows for tons of community chat interaction, as well as the ability to split your screen and show a live feed as well as a video or image, custom overlays, and backgrounds, it can result in a full-fledged interactive learning experience for anyone who joins.
With so many people stuck at home, many are taking online classes and trying to learn new skills, this could be a unique opportunity not only to engage with fans, but generate a few new music lesson clients as well.
3. Broadcast rehearsals, practice sessions, and jam sessions
Sometimes the process is just as valuable as the final result! This is why you should consider broadcasting your band rehearsals, practice sessions, and jam sessions to the world in real time.
Although EDM and hip-hop make up about 40% of the total music content, the remaining 60% is a clustered combination of everything else (folk, rock, country, jazz, experimental, ambient, etc.). Which of course means there’s a market of people wanting to see guitars, live drums, and acoustic instruments!
Just like a master class or studio tour, hosting a session that features a live rehearsal is yet another way to demystify elements of your creative process with your fans. For audiences, it can feel like they’re right there in the room with you, and a part of what could become your next big hit.
4. Behind the scenes
Almost all of the options we’ve suggested before have one thing in common—they provide “behind the scenes” access. And that’s one of Twitch’s greatest assets in building fan relationships.
There are more ways to provide this access. You can show fans how a track was recorded by opening up your latest mixing session, or give people a sneak peak of a new song that’s just now coming together. You can take people on a tour of your house and show them what you like to eat while working, or your collection of records, etc.
The more behind the scenes footage you provide, the closer your fans will feel to your work and mindset. And they’ll feel part of your journey—not unlike a crowdfunding campaign.
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A new type of social media platform
While Twitch might at first seem like yet another performance stage, it’s probably more helpful to think about it as a new type of social media platform where you can build an audience and engage with your greater community. In other words, it’s not just for concerts.
It’s got the quality of YouTube mixed with the interactive possibilities of Instagram Live, and just like Facebook you’re able to bring viewers on and off the platform from other sites. More than anything else, when you’re broadcasting on Twitch it feels like a “hang out.”
Because of this, it’s imperative that you present an authentic experience, personality and imperfections are celebrated and rewarded here. People don’t expect to see perfectly curated or polished content. Large companies or major artists have not been on Twitch until very recently either.
So just be yourself, and connect with your fans as you would do at the merch table after a show.
This is an unprecedented time in modern history, and it’s been tough on a lot of us—musicians especially. However, with so many people at home looking for ways to stay entertained or improve their skills, it’s also a great chance to interact using responsible online platforms.
Twitch is definitely one such platform, and it’s being used by more and more musicians every day. Check it out now and see where you might be able to add value to your community in a way that stays true to your artistic brand; there’s certainly something for everyone.
Alper Tuzcu is a composer, guitarist, and a producer. His newest EP “Imagina” was released by Palma Records on 29 May 2020, and inspired by the music of different cultures. An alumni of Berklee College of Music, he’s also a touring musician and educator. Check out his music on Spotify.
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