Live video broadcasting is starting to become mainstream – apps including Periscope and Meerkat may have led the charge, but Facebook Live is the service that’s bringing live video to the world on a scale previously unreached. This is because just about everyone’s on Facebook, and is compounded by the fact that broadcasting with Facebook Live is so easy, anyone with a smartphone or tablet can do it.
But here’s the thing – not everyone’s doing it… yet. So what better way to get a leg up and set yourself apart from the thousands of other DJs than to start broadcasting today?
How do I set up Facebook Live?
If you want to get at broadcasting straight away, you just fire up the Facebook app on your phone (it’s a free download if you still don’t have it). Press the status bar, then “Live Video” in the Update Status window. Type in a short description of your broadcast, and press the “Go Live” button to get started.
For better audio, you can hook up your controller or mixer’s output to your smartphone or tablet running the Facebook app – just use an RCA (or whatever your mixer’s rec output is) to 1/8″ jack. You’ll also want what’s called a TRRS to TRS adapter (like the Headset Buddy), which lets you plug your 1/8″ jack to the input on your smartphone or tablet to get the audio levels proper.
Some DJs start the action soon as the feed starts. My recommendation is to take around a minute or two to wait for viewers to pour in. While that’s happening, say hi and greet them one by on, ask them to like your Facebook DJ page, or do some other action while waiting for your programme to begin. This creates an easy win as far as engagement goes between you and your audience.
Of course, not all Facebook Live broadcasts are created equal: You’ve probably seen casts with just a handful of viewers, or next to none. Maybe you’ve even seen successful broadcasts with thousands of listeners, such as Disclosure spinning a set in their kitchen, and you want to do the same but don’t know where to begin.
Here are our five content tips for getting started on Facebook Live and creating a broadcast that’s fun and engaging for your audience.
5 Facebook Live Tips
1. Stream a DJ set
The most obvious way to use it is to live stream your DJ sessions from your bedroom studio. You can stream up to four hours straight (you’ll have to restart your feed if you want to broadcast longer). Unless you’re doing something technical, like scratching or a controllerism routine, your audience may just keep you in the background while they go about their Facebooking unless you engage with them.
Engaging with your audience means giving them attention. For example, viewers can send you reactions (eg a thumbs up, hearts, and so on), and you’ll want to try to acknowledge these reactions while you’re DJing. If you take requests, how about asking for them from your viewers and then working the tunes into your set? Anything that would make the broadcast a give and take instead of a one-way street is a good idea.
Do realise that there are potential copyright issues here – some DJs reported that, having done a broadcast, the video on their wall got taken down as a result of someone flagging some of the music they used.
Social savvy tip: There have also been some reports of DJs who have had their Facebook Live broadcast cut during the performance due to copyright issues, so the best thing to do is to assume that if you’re going to stream your DJ sets, you’re only doing it “for the moment”. It’s also unclear whether or not there are any penalties to you as a Facebook user if your broadcast gets taken down. For now, just don’t expect your Facebook Live DJ sets to stay saved on your Facebook profile for very long.
Streaming DJ sets is a good way to get started on Facebook Live, but pretty much anyone with a DJ controller and smartphone (ie just about any DJ today) can do it. You should strive to do more, and the next step is to…
2. Do a live Q&A
The next type of broadcast is to do a Facebook Live event where you can field questions from your viewers. You can even do this either before, during, or after your DJ set. Choose a topic that’s relevant to your intended audience (“What’s your favourite throwback jam from 1999? I’ll tell you mine and why I like it. Tell me what yours is, and I’ll mix it in today’s set.”). The idea is to show viewers what you’re about by answering their questions (the more authentic, the better) and asking them questions of your own. Keep it short so it doesn’t get boring (and awkward).
Social savvy tip: Announce ahead of time that you’re doing a Facebook Live Q&A broadcast, and set the topic (eg “Talking about your favourite superstar DJs tomorrow at 5PM EST before mixing. I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours!”). Since Facebook Live is basically available worldwide, don’t forget to be very specific about the time, just like what I did with my example.
3. Stream your podcast/mixshow
If you’ve got a podcast or mixshow, consider broadcasting it through Facebook Live instead of simply recording it in your digital audio workstation or DJ app. This works for you two ways: one, it gets people who aren’t subscribers to your podcast / mixshow interested (mainly because Facebook Live is the new kid on the block as far as internet tech goes), and two, you’re basically repurposing content on two different platforms for two potentially different audiences. Think about it as spreading your reach – it’s easier to get someone interested in a “live DJ mixing show” than to just tell them to check out your mixtape podcast, which is the norm now.
Social savvy tip: Having a live mixshow lets you do shoutouts “on air”, just like it was the radio (we’ve come full circle, folks). It may seem trite or petty, but there’s still an odd thrill to still hear your name on a broadcast, so don’t forget to say hi to your listeners and engage with them to keep them glued to your broadcast. Don’t forget to use your other social media outlets to interact with listeners during this time (eg Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and so on).
4. Have a guest on and jam
Get a friend to join you in a special Facebook Live session – it’s a good way to keep things fresh, too, if you’ve done a handful of broadcasts already. There’s the added bonus of gaining more views from his or her fans, which also makes you a presenter of the show rather than just the solo star. Sharing the limelight is a great way to both boost credibility and show authority naturally.
A back to back set is the most obvious way to do a broadcast like this, with both of you taking turns playing a song or a handful of songs from your own libraries to create a mix that would otherwise not have been possible if you only spun with your own music collection.
Social savvy tip: Have a guest who can do things that you aren’t good at – chances are, this will surprise your audience because she or he will likely perform in a way that you haven’t yet. Is your scratching not up to snuff? Get a scratch DJ on your stream and surprise your listeners. How about bringing on a guitarist or saxophone player to join you during a deep house session? Perhaps a live art installation or performance in the background while you’re mixing? You’re only limited by your creativity (and network of artist friends).
Of course, you’ll want to promote this ahead of time, of course on both your Facebook pages, to get maximum reach.
5. Do a “Boiler Room” at home
Throw a party in your flat and film it. It doesn’t have to be an all-night rager, just having a few friends around moving to your tunes could make for an interesting Facebook Live event that’ll get shares. Set your DJ controller and laptop on a desk, place your phone or tablet on a tripod, and have your guests behind you, Boiler Room-style. Make it a BYOB (bring your own booze) and pot luck evening, and your costs will be next to nil.
Social savvy tip: No need to make your space look like a club – keep it real, but do keep it interesting enough as well. Christmas lights / DJ lighting, a projector running visuals in the background, or even a tiny disco ball would add visual focal points to spruce up an otherwise drab apartment.
The idea behind a live broadcast is you’re getting a glimpse of the person on camera, warts and all. One of the main reasons why people would want to watch a Facebook Live video of you compared to, say, a YouTube clip, is that they’re able to see you in a raw, unedited, and unfiltered way.
Your Facebook Live broadcasts won’t be perfect, and they shouldn’t be. You don’t have to speak in immaculate English, be dressed a certain way, or have a specific accent – you just have to be you. This is exactly why Facebook Live is a great way to engage with your audience: you can be unapologetically yourself, and authenticity speaks volumes. Broadcasting live and picking one of our five listed content types lets people experience you for who you are, not just listen to the tunes that you spin.
Have you tried livestreaming your DJ sets or practice sessions? Have you tried Facebook Live yet, even if you broadcasted something non-DJ related? Share your experience and thoughts with us below.