Enjoying the blues in a digitally connected environment

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Enjoying the blues in a digitally connected environment

In the last column, I said I’d give you some ideas on the whole live-streaming idea from the input end.

Now that we’re in lockdown there are quite a few musicians without gigs trying to make ends meet. Some have been doing a bit of live streaming of their solo work from home, doing online lessons and the like, but there’s not much band work other than those carefully produced multi-person Zoom performances.

The basic issue is that the odds of a whole band being in lockdown together is relatively small… unless your family is the band.

In this case, the von Robertsons happened to be in the same place as a family and as a band. A couple of weeks ago, the family, Andrea, Dave, Carly and Heath, decided to do a one hour set live to the web. Oh, the dog was there too!

After the session, I chatted with Andrea about the experience.

“We started talking about it pretty much straight away. There are different things popping up that people are using, but in the end, we decided to put it through Facebook and upload it to YouTube afterward.”

They saw it as increasing their digital footprint and give them something to use later on when they apply to festivals or pitch for a grant or event.

There were about 150 – 170 people who watched the event and roughly 60 of those made a voluntary contribution through a link the Robertsons had publicised.

“We were really touched by how many people contributed. Some put in a few bucks, some put more in. People were generous, it was very lovely of them.”

The technology they used was not fancy, they had an iPhone 7 fed from the mixing desk, but it still took a large portion of a day to set it up. They test streamed their system to several people and tweaked some settings from that, especially equalisation, to cater to the inadequacies of the phone system and people using a tablet or phone at the listening end.

“A couple of people commented on the mix, but as we warmed up and got a bit louder, that wasn’t an issue.”

Quite a few local musicians were listening and sent messages after and were very interested in what they’d done.

“A lot of people liked the dog being part of it. She loves sitting at our feet or by the drum, the volume doesn’t seem to bother her.”

Their next gig will be trying out some new software that should create a clearer signal.

This is an excellent example of the ability of a band to put together a streaming package using their existing technology and with a competent use of that technology.

Asking for a voluntary contribution worked quite well, and certainly well enough for them to get some new gear to send out a better quality stream.

Andrea finished, “I’ve got a few other little ideas that I’ve had prior to this lockdown which I’m currently rethinking for that digital setting.”

I, for one, will be very interested to see what these ideas are and how they work in our current digitally connected environment.

Written by Dr John Lamp