Live streaming is a gift for DJs in 2017. For the bedroom DJ, the ability to broadcast live audio and visuals online can give them the exposure they need to kick-start their career. For the up and coming hotshot, it is an evolution of the typical, pre-recorded DJ set, and it can gain them new followers aside from the rabble of punters in the clubs on the local circuit. Ultimately, the live element of the broadcast encourages audiences to tune in, convincing the viewer that what they’re watching is authentic, exciting and not to be missed; something every DJ strives for.
But it’s not only DJs that have been live streaming. Digital media outlets, major event companies, and dance music heavyweights alike have all come to flirt with the concept, and in recent times it has allowed a number of innovative projects to thrive within the dance music community. Two which have gathered momentum in the last year are 3Stream and USB Sessions, and we decided to sit down with both to understand why live streaming has become their weapon of choice.
Born in Blackpool in July 2017, 3Stream is one of the city’s newest musical offering, live streaming DJ sets every Friday from a local studio space. With talent ranging from local stars to guests from further afield, 3Stream in their words, “aim to provide the soundtrack to Friday nights”.
Although only in its infancy, it is striking to see the success that 3Stream have accomplished already. Racking up over 18,000 views so far across their weekly broadcasts, the project demonstrates that for the social media savvy, a consistent live streaming initiative can help to create a dedicated base of fans, and garner a large amount of interest in an incredibly short period of time.
We took some time to catch up with 3Stream head Jack Sprigg:
How did you first get into live streaming?
I chose Live streaming as the platform for my project as it was something that was unique to Blackpool. I first organised a live stream back in May; the charity ’24 hour 24 DJs’ for Dementia UK, after taking inspiration from DJ EZ’s mammoth task from the previous year. After raising £2000 and getting over 30,000 views I got the streaming bug and thought I could make more of this!
What challenges have you faced so far with 3Stream?
The first one is the staggering number of competitors who are also streaming; we have to provide a product that is going to stand out from all the others. The second challenge is providing a consistently solid product, any technical issues have to be ironed out straight away which leads to the third and main challenge: Facebook itself. It is fantastic for marketing and the reaches your stream can get, but you are wide open for people trying to shoot you down with negativity!
What does the future hold for the project, any exciting plans?
I really see the project taking off this year. We are going to have a number of outside broadcasts in different locations, and our own events being planned and put into the diary!
3Stream’s early success demonstrates the impact that their work is having on the dance music scene in Blackpool, and the role of live streaming in allowing them to do this. With new broadcast locations planned soon, and now in partnership with local media outlet The Blackpool Bible, we tip them as ones to watch for the remainder of the year.
Perhaps the best example of the power and potential that live streaming has in dance music in 2017 is the rise of the infamous USB Sessions. Having become something of a streaming powerhouse since its inception in October 2015, the platform has gone international, broadcasting in Ibiza and Croatia, as well as continuing to broadcast from their hometown of Manchester. This meteoric rise in popularity is demonstrated by the incredible talent they’ve pulled in for their broadcasts, with big names such as OC & Verde, Truth Be Told and Kreature all set to feature in August.
Creative Director Lee Anthony gave us his insights:
Why did you choose to use live streaming for USB Sessions?
We wanted to create something different, every man and his dog is either a DJ or a Promoter and I wanted to be involved with this scene but knew I had to think outside the box. We started in a garage, with a go pro and a DSLR and we tried to splice the footage together on top of the audio, it was all out of sync and looked terrible, we had to find a solution if we wanted to be something credible. A couple of our friends were live streaming from their phones and we kind of just went from there.
What challenges have you faced with your work so far?
The main problem we have with any live streams is internet connection! We have to turn jobs down all the time due to the lack of strength from their connection, I think going forward this will always be an issue until streaming becomes the mainstay within the scene.
What’s your proudest achievement with USB Sessions so far?
Turning a hobby into a full time occupation is definitely the greatest achievement so far, quitting my job to pursue this passion is a dream come true. Also within our first year we increased our reach from 1-2k per stream to over 150,000 with no signs of us slowing down.
Both brands show that live streaming can gain DJs serious viewing figures. They also highlight that live streaming should be creative and consistent, with a confident approach to its delivery – much like the ideal DJ set itself. Marrying the technology with DJing is therefore a perfect fit, and the pairing looks set to further cement itself into dance music culture in 2017.
Where there is success, there is also failure.
Like any new trend that gains in popularity, it can become too popular. Live streaming certainly runs this risk. Like Lee Anthony highlighted, it seems every man and his dog is either a DJ or Promoter, and with Facebook recently introducing their own re-vamped streaming tool, news-feeds could become inundated with low quality mixes from bedrooms and the local pubs. The lack of any real filter means that viewers may not bother viewing a good mix, because they are simply tired of the spam of poor mixes they are exposed to.
The potential is certainly there for live-streaming, it takes the best parts of social media, podcasts and radio shows, then adds a visual element. In the right hands, live streaming is clearly a weapon to be used. However, we would like to remind streamers that their bedrooms, as wonderful as they may be to you, are not Boiler Room stages, and if we are not careful, we could end up hindering the growth of live-streaming, not enhancing it.