How to Livestream your DJ sets – Everything you need to know
Live streaming offers a ton of benefits to DJs, especially during these times of global pandemic, lockdown, and quarantine where (in most countries) it is absolutely impossible to book a gig to actually perform.
Live-streamed sets can be as simple or as ‘refined’ as you want them to be; they can be a sample of your work and gear, or they can be an actual show streamed from directly from your home, it’s up to you. Now, many DJs, especially people who are not as tech-savvy, would like to jump right into this streaming trend but don’t know precisely how.
Today we are going to speak about live-streaming, but more importantly, we’ll give you useful tips to do it in the most efficient way possible.
How to Livestream your DJ sets?
Basically, you’ll need to decide a couple of things before you can even begin live-streaming your DJ sets. In the simplest words, you’ll need to pick a suitable recording device and pick one of the many streaming platforms. Multi-platform streaming typically requires special gear, so we’ll stick with the basic forms of live-streaming.
Choosing the right streaming platform
The world of streaming is continuously evolving. Currently, there are dozens of streaming platforms that people can post their content on. However, not all of these platforms are meant for live-streaming DJs; in fact, the vast majority of them aren’t so great for musicians, but you can still try to put your sets there anyway, should you want to.
The most popular, and arguably the best platform for streaming around is Netflix, but due to obvious reasons, you can’t post your DJ sets there, no matter how great or popular you are. Netflix has, however, laid the foundation stones for global streaming and deserved this brief honorary mention.
Amazon’s PrimeVideo is almost on equal footing as Netflix in terms of popularity, and it’s equally useful (or useless) as Netflix for DJs. The same can be said for HBO Max, and Disney Plus.
The platforms that can be quite useful for you are YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitch, so let’s see what you should expect from them.
- Facebook Live: First and foremost, Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms, but it does include a live-streaming segment that DJs can use. Your reach will not be limited to your circle of virtual friends once you ‘Go Live’, which is what makes it so suitable for this particular situation. Instagram offers pretty much the same benefits and operates in a much similar way.
- YouTube Live is a much bigger platform for streamers and content creators, but that’s both good and bad for live-streaming DJs. Namely, getting your content up and out on the air is super-easy, but its accessibility is what makes the market so saturated; this means that you might have a bit of a hard time standing out unless you put effort into implementing crisp, unique visuals and audio.
- Twitch.tv is, oddly enough, a gaming platform that has just recently been ‘infiltrated’ by artists, musicians, and DJs. Most people have realized that the vast majority of gamers listen to ‘adrenaline-pumping’ electronic music, which is what makes this platform so great for disc jockeys in particular.
Remember: If you Livestream on Youtube, DO NOT MONETISE your DJ mixes. There are two types of copyright claims: Yellow sign allows you to use the track as long as the video is not monetized. The red sign means you are not allowed to use this track at all! The only platform that offers 100% legal streaming is Mixcloud Live.
Streaming with a smartphone/tablet
Beginner DJs who are not equipped with a dedicated streaming rig should try their luck with streaming with their smartphone or their tablets. This is the simplest and often one of the most rewarding methods that require the least amount of effort and technical skill/knowledge.
You don’t need the latest iPhone or Samsung model to put out quality live streams, although you’ll be able to garner a bit more attention with Full HD resolution video; additionally, the video quality is just as important as audio quality, so again, if you have had any plans of investing in a new phone, now might be the perfect time for an upgrade.
Going along the lines of ‘simple’ live streaming, the simplest platforms that already feature built-in live-stream mechanisms are Facebook and Instagram. Both of these social media platforms feature ‘Go Live’, which immediately puts your video on air. Further on that note, certain platforms (Instagram being a schoolbook example) don’t even allow PC-based streaming, so going mobile is your only option.
One of the main issues you are bound to encounter around camera angle positioning and sonic quality of the footage you intend to stream. Going back to what we’ve just mentioned, there aren’t many ways you can bypass these potential obstacles, but there are means to tweak the quality of both video and sound.
Using applications such as Switcher Studios, StreamLabs, or CameraFi Live can dramatically improve the interactivity of your stream. Once you go down this rabbit hole, you’ll probably be able to find hundreds of related apps that you can use to personalize your live streams even further.
Streaming from a laptop
The workhorse of every DJ is their laptop, no matter how much cash they’ve spent on mixing consoles, hardware controllers, headphones, and such. While some people think that you need a different laptop in order to stream DJ sets, you can even use the one you are using to DJ in the first place.
Most platforms allow you to live-stream your sets without the need for using any external software, but we highly recommend that you do. Some of the best programs a DJ can use is the Virtual DJ, Traktor Pro, and Serato DJ. Most offer a variety of built-in streaming features that allow you to hook up directly to Facebook, Periscope, YouTube, and such.
Due to the fact that PC and laptop-based applications and programs are typically a bit more intuitive and versatile, the hardest part of this process is the initial setup. Choosing the desired platform, the quality of the Livestream, pasting the URL, and similar parameters need to be filled out; after that, all you need to do is simply hit the ‘Start Broadcast’ button, and you’re set to go.
You’ll have a plethora of customization options already, including adding the chat bar, tweaking the visuals, controlling the audio in every way imaginable, and you’ll also be able to wire up as many external programs as you want.
Streaming from two laptops/PC
Some people are not too comfortable using the same laptop (or PC) for their DJ mixing and streaming at the same time. Using another laptop does indeed provide a drastic boost in terms of flexibility, comfort, and reliability, but not many people have the luxury of owning two in the first place.
If you do, all you need to do is simply wire your first laptop with your software and recording tools before wiring the newly-composed rig with your second lap. DJ’s tasks’ are typically quite hard on the processor, and streaming just adds a bit more heat to the already-burdened CPU and RAM. Using two computers will take off a big chunk of the workload, ultimately improving reliability.
Using dedicated hardware
If you’ve tried streaming from your phone or laptop to little success, you might want to try using dedicated hardware for your future live streams. ‘Video and Audio streamers’ is the name of technology you should be on the lookout for; these contraptions, or at least modern versions and models, are capable of separating the digital signal from your recording unit, filter it, process it, and then put it on air;
The entire process takes less than a second, and the only problem you’ll have to worry about is your internet connection. Its reliability as ‘streamers’ basically does the rest of the job on their own.
Some of the best-built streamers have the capability of supporting several broadcasting devices at the same time. You can wire up most of (if not your entire) DJ setup and your recording tools.
One of the most valuable DJ streamers is Cerevo’s Live Shell Pro, which features a high-quality built-in mixer that can vastly improve the quality of your live streams. It’s up to you to decide how much cash you are willing and able to invest in a streamer, but ultimately, you can Livestream your DJ sets even without one.
What equipment do I need to live stream?
- Laptop for DJing
- Laptop or PC for the live streaming platform
- DJ equipment (mixer or DJ Controller)
- iPhone or Webcam
- Audio Interface
- DJ headphones
How to set up your DJ equipment for live streaming?
Make sure you have a solid internet connection
The worst experience on live streaming is getting distorted sound or image. Wi-fi networks are less reliable than a hardwired ethernet connection, so make sure you get that right. For ultimate speed turn off wi-fi on your mobile devices and tablets and close all browser windows as well.
Frequently asked questions:
1. What are some of the most popular platforms where I can live stream my DJ sets?
In essence, there are dozens of available platforms, but some of the most suitable ones are YouTube, Twitch, Zoom, Facebook, and Instagram.
2. Do I need a professional camera to record my live DJ sets?
Actually, you don’t need a camera at all. An average smartphone is more than capable of live-streaming DJ sets, although having a camera can be a big plus. Check out our top 10 picks for the best cameras for music videos and DJ events.
3. Can I use a computer for live streaming?
Most DJs prefer using a laptop simply because it offers much more flexibility. Still, in a nutshell, you can use any kind of PC for as long as its internet connection is stable and reliable.
4. How do I stream a DJ set on Zoom?
You can easily live stream your DJ set on Zoom just like on any other platform. You just need to connect your Laptop with the DJ controller and run your favorite DJ software such as Virtual DJ or Traktor Pro.
5. How can I live stream DJ sets with copyrights?
Nearly on all platforms, it is not allowed to Livestream registered material, released, or soon to be released on labels, unless you own the copyright, or have permission to use it. By all means, every DJ set ever played on these platforms should have been flagged for violation of copyright issues.
6. How to connect your DJ setup to your phone for live streaming?
It was never easier to get your DJ sets and mixes live to your audience. Becoming a professional DJ requires skills, persistence, and follow every trend around the music scene. Live streaming your sets is a “must-do” for every beginner and professional DJ out there. Get started today.
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