Last week I decided to use my band as a guinea pig to see if it made sense to cross-stream a live feed from our band’s Facebook page to the SkullsNBones page (and a couple others). We did it unannounced because we’re just testing it out to see if it works for the band, and I also wanted to see how we might be able to use it to support underground bands from the SNB page.
If you watched the live stream you probably saw some mistakes in playing, some missed comments in the chat, and a pretty heavy lag between audio and video. It wasn’t a complete disaster, but there was plenty to learn from. You can check it out here:
What we learned
If we’re going to share the page I want to also share our learnings so we can all make our live streams a little better! Here’s what we’ve learned so far:
As you probably guessed, we got a hell of a lot more views on the stream than when we streamed only to our band page a week before. So we know that we are able to get an underground band’s live stream in front of a bunch of people who love underground metal! Because of that we want to open it up to all underground metal bands who have the possibility to live stream. (More on that below)
We also learned that if you use OBS (Open Broadcast Software: https://obsproject.com/) to stream with the Facebook API key there can be some serious lag between audio and visual. I assume other programs have similar issues. There are ways to fix this in OBS and we’re going to tweak it for next time to try to minimize that shit because I look really weird headbanging to the wrong beat.
I also made the mistake of only reading comments from the Post Pulse page. Facebook doesn’t aggregate all the comments into one feed, even for the broadcaster, so next time we’ll have a second computer instead of my phone and I’ll have all the page chats open.
The last two learnings I’ll mention here are audio and visual. The audio was pretty good using a DSLR plugged into my laptop but I think for a 20 minute stream it gets a bit boring. My band is looking into devices that can change cameras, and maybe we put our singer to work pressing buttons since his hands are free and we don’t have a lighting guy (like most underground bands). Those devices aren’t cheap so I’m not sure where we’ll end up with that.
For the audio we’re already using an in-ear monitoring system for our live shows and for practice, so we pretty much use an interface just feed a channel directly into the laptop like you would to input any kind of audio. The audio is ‘good enough’, especially if you listen on decent speakers or headphones that can pick up my bass! It’s really important to get a mix that works, and luckily for my band we were already doing it so it wasn’t hard.
If we’re going to live stream bands on SkullsNBones we’ll do our best to help you optimize your streams, but of course we’re not experts. I asked my guitarist if he would be kind enough to help out and he was saying that if we can get samples of bands live streams we can make recommendations. I think that’s a good path forward if you think you need help, otherwise we can just cross stream your feed. Either way, we’re happy to help where we can.
How To Live Stream With SkullsNBones
If you think you’re ready to live stream with SkullsNBones all you have to do is ask. We don’t do this for money, just out of love for the scene and to help support underground music.
We do have some rules and suggestions based on the learnings I talked about above. If you want to cross stream with SkullsNBones, Here’s what we need:
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the information we are asking for here:
- What is your location? (City, Country, etc.)
- What is the date and time you would like to live stream?
- What is the name of your band?
- What is the URL to the Facebook page that we will cross stream with?
- How long do you want to live stream?
- Are you able to live stream at a decent quality?
- Do you have any recent examples of live streams you’ve done?
- Do you need help/advice on live streaming?
If we need more info we’ll take it from there. The idea is to make it as quick and easy for everyone as possible.
Rules?! We don’t need any fucking rules! Well…. in the spirit of supporting each other and in supporting underground music, we have a couple of ‘guidelines’ that we hope you will respect:
- Your feed has to be good enough for us to share; video and audio don’t need to be perfect but we need to be able to see and hear you properly. That means if it’s super laggy, or if we can’t hear what’s going on musically then it makes no sense to be live streaming it. We want this to be good so we will try to help in advance, but at show time it’s a little late…
- We can only post one live stream at a time and that will be on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’re thinking about a date and time then please let us know so we can lock it in.
- Don’t break any Facebook community guidelines: https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards/. You can also find Facebook’s terms and relevant links here: https://www.facebook.com/terms.php. We’re pretty sure that cross streaming will leave us off the hook for any stupid shit, but I’m certain no one really wants to see your balls on a live stream anyway, so…
- Make sure you have a public performance license to use any music other than yours (if you plan to play any during the live stream). SNB does not support stealing money from hardworking artists and neither should you! You can learn about getting a license here: https://www.easysonglicensing.com/pages/help/articles/music-licensing/what-is-a-public-performance-license.aspx.
- No racist shit. I can’t stress this one enough. We will immediately cut the feed and delete the video from our page if there is any racist content of any kind in your live stream.
- I’d like to say no political shit but then half the metal bands in the world wouldn’t be able to live stream with us because of their lyrics. There are SkullsNBones staff who are quite vocal about our political leanings (both extreme left and right), and you know what? We leave that shit at the door in in our love and support of metal. We ask that you keep political banter to a minimum and let your art shine instead.
- At SkullsNBones we love a good joke and we have some really thick skin. That said, if you’re overly derogatory toward any group of people you’re probably not going to make a very good impression with our audience so just keep that in mind. We can cut the feed any time we want to so if you go overboard keep in mind that we’ll do it.
- And as always, just generally, don’t be an asshole. We’re doing this to help support you, and your band and we want to make it awesome for everyone!
Tips to make your stream awesome
- Do a couple tests and see what adjustments you need to make to line up audio and video. There’s nothing worse than scrambling on a live stream to figure out why something isn’t working.
- Add text or a url to the bottom of the screen to tell people where you want them to go to learn more about you. On your page it’s obvious but other pages you cross stream to have potential fans that don’t know who you are when you’re streaming!
- If you can control your lighting in any way you should try to optimize it for a video audience. I’m not suggesting you go crazy with it, but you also don’t want your bassist standing in the back in the dark…. unless you do… ya know what I mean?
- If you can control cameras, make sure to test the controllers. While your performance is important, the viewers are only going to watch as long as they are looking at something interesting, so you should be really careful about camera positioning and framing.
- Keep your content organized. While there’s no one in the room and the energy might feel different, there are probably more people watching than your normal show, so don’t ignore them! Your best bet is to be casually organized. You know it’s a live stream, you can interact with the audience directly, and remember they are watching you on the world’s #1 distraction platform.
- You might want to have a computer set up with the different chat feeds open of the pages you are cross streaming to. You might hear some good advice about audio or gain some new fans simply by talking to them.
Alright. I think that’s it for now. I’ll update this post if I get new information, new tips or if someone shows a reason for me to add new rules. (Did I say no balls on the live stream?)
If you have any preemptive questions or comments please feel free to reach us at email@example.com.
Let us know when you’re looking to cross stream! We’re really excited about doing this and hope that you are too.