Live-Streaming Is Back – Here’s What You Need to Know

Live-streaming will play an important role this winter. We look at what’s changed since the 1st lockdown and how businesses, musicians and creators can make the most of it.

The State of Live-Streaming

It’s fair to say live-streaming exploded in popularity during the 1st national lockdown. With venues unable to open their doors and consumers being stuck inside, it was a perfect storm for live-streams.

E1MA extensively pushed live-streaming as a content lifeline for our clients in the live events industry. On our blog, we provided best practices, the projects we were working on, and how others were getting creative with live-streams.

Unfortunately, we’re still in a position where live events can’t happen. We’ve spoken before about the woes of this industry. With the 2nd national lockdown underway, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see live events return before the new year.

Now we’ve all had a break from live-streams, the E1MA team expect them to make a resurgence. Positive changes made by online platforms since the 1st wave, adapting their services to better support live-streaming. Here’s what’s changed:

Live-streaming with Mixcloud Pro

A recurring problem faced by ourselves and our clients during the 1st wave of live-streaming was the constant threat of copyright. Social media platforms like Facebook would automatically mute or take down streams that featured copyrighted music. It’s safe to say this posed a challenge for DJs in particular.

It’s not just Facebook. We’ve seen it happen on Instagram, YouTube and Twitch as well. Thankfully, DJs now have a new option: Mixcloud Pro.

In case you’re not familiar with Mixcloud, it’s a service that operates much like Soundcloud, whereby you can upload audio mixes. Mixcloud Pro, their premium subscription service, lets you upload video live-streams as well, with no threat of copyright.

This is because “Mixcloud is a licensed service which has agreements in place with many rights holder partners around the world”. You will not encounter any takedowns or interruptions.

Last week, E1MA worked with Marvin Humes for the Marvin’s Room Halloween Special. We’ve been working together on Marvin’s Room for a long time, which usually takes place in various venues across London. Since the pandemic, we’ve shifted this to the digital space.

We live-streamed on several platforms simultaneously, maintaining Mixcloud Pro as a back-up. One critique we have is their Analytics are underwhelming compared to Facebook or YouTube. Once the video has finished, you can only re-listen to the audio. In their defense, Mixcloud Pro is still in beta.

“We’ve received an unprecedented level of demand from the Mixcloud community to build live streaming functionality. We’ve been working day and night to meet this demand and launch Mixcloud Live as fast as possible.Please note that this means we have released Mixcloud Live much earlier than we’d normally do for a product of this size. Consequently you may experience technical bugs or flaws in the Mixcloud experience.” – Mixcloud

Although you might not get the viewership expected from a platform such as YouTube, we feel it’s a safer option for DJs.

Live-Streaming Is Exempt From Lockdown Restrictions

Its important to mention that live-streams are exempt from English lockdown laws. As venues are considered ‘places of work’, you can live-stream from them. The Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports revealed this earlier this week:

IGTV Expands Live-Streaming Capability

The time limit for IGTV live-streams is being increased from 1 hour to 4 hours, Instagram announced recently.

In addition, they’re making live-streams more discoverable with a new “Live Now” section, as well as keeping them available to watch for a greater period of time afterwards.

‘Live Now’ will increase the discoverability of live-streams on IGTV.

IGTV became a surprise hit earlier in the year, as creators looked to push live-streams to their already-existing Instagram fanbase. Everything from cookery courses to workout classes could be found. IGTV was initially met with a lot of skepticism. Many marketers believed fans were unwilling to watch long-form videos vertically. This Instagram update proves them wrong. 

We also used IGTV for the Marvin’s Room Halloween special, but found it kept getting taken down. This is frustrating, but demonstrates that parent company Facebook needs to do more to accommodate DJ live-streams.

Zoom Lets You Monetise Live-Streams

We spoke about this in October’s Digital Marketing Round-Up. The immensely popular video conference software is launching its own paid events marketplace called OnZoom:

It will support events with up to 1,000 virtual attendees. It includes its own ticketing system, so tickets can be sold without the need for a third-party. OnZoom presents itself as an all-in-one solution.

Aside from copyright issues, another key problem that plagued live-steaming during the initial lockdown was the lack of monetisation options. It’s a problem that affects all creators, but especially those in the performing arts and live events sectors.

Could OnZoom present a legitimate way to host not only live-streams, but paid virtual concerts? Only time will tell.

Concluding Words

Whether we like it or not, live-streams are coming back. We’re cautiously optimistic about this prospect. As we go into winter, people will be more inclined to stay indoors and watch live-streams. The initial lockdown took many creators by surprise, leaving them little time to develop new types of online-only content. 

We’ve learned to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and make the most of the resources available. Social media platforms have been making steady improvements to their live-streaming capabilities. We’re more prepared for live-streams than before, and the E1MA team are excited to see what content creators can produce this winter.

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