Streaming sites have been around for a short while now. The big-hitters, such as Twitch and Mixr allow streamers to monetise their content and are becoming increasingly popular with musicians looking to reach new audiences.

Twitch is still predominantly used by gamers, but other areas of content are now being supported, such as lifestyle, beauty and music. The top music stream at time of writing is German house musician Sintica. Her channel regularly streams to over 200,000 followers and her fans can support her through donations, paying for messages to appear on screen (also known as emotes) and by buying items through her affiliate links. Sintica also regularly posts edited recordings of her streams (known as VODs) to her Youtube channel – further boosting her exposure and benefiting from further ad revenue.

How streamers make money

Twitch is all about community. Starting a new streaming channel and finding your audience is the first step, then the community will support their favourite streamers financially – receiving rewards and encouraging more of their favourite content to be produced. There are a handful of ways that streamers make money on Twitch.

  • Donations – Streamers can add a “Donate” button to their channel, via Paypal or a third-party app, such as Streamlabs – and ask their fans to show their support with a  small (or large!) donation. Some streamers will then give thanks or a special message to their donors live on stream.
  • Virtual Applause – another way viewers can show their appreciation of your performance is with a virtual round of applause using “bits”. Viewers buy different colours and sizes of bits from the chat window and will use these to show their appreciation of a favourite song or an impressive solo for example. Viewers will dole out their bits to their favourite streamers, who will then receive a cut of the amount used in their chat.
  • Subscriptions – Viewers can subscribe to your channel to unlock perks, such as exclusive chat rooms, virtual lessons, access to Tabs or sheet music of your songs, specific emoticons or merchandise discounts. You will need to become a Twitch affiliate to be able to offer subscriptions, but when you do, you will receive a cut of each subscription

Better than busking?

So you can make money on Twitch, but you need to engage an audience. Why is streaming on twitch the future of busking, and should musicians invest in streaming gear to become a streamer? In my opinion, yes, and here’s why.

  • Reach new audiences – a streamer with a well maintained community can expect hundreds or thousands of regular viewers every time they stream, and they can be situated all over the world. These audiences will be invested in your development and support your growth.
  • Plan your schedule – the most successful streamers go live at specific times and stick to a routine, this way your fans can tune into your stream as if attending a gig in the comfort of their own homes. You can also use this to your advantage when launching new material, promoting a new music video or ahead of a run of gigs you have coming up.
  • Lockdown Proof – as we lust for pubs and clubs to reopen and we can start gigging again with hope and positivity – we can’t deny that another lockdown is never going to be completely out of the question. A lockdown may stop you busking in the town centre, but not on Twitch, providing a much needed source of revenue for musicians when other options aren’t available.
  • Weather proof – You won’t get rained-on on Twitch. More importantly, you can stream from the comfort of your own home as audiences do the same – enjoying your content at their leisure and interacting with you, the artist, in a similar way to asking for requests.
  • It’s never been easier to start – with affordable and easy to use hardware that connects your computer, smartphone or tablet and your musical equipment. See our Podcasting and Streaming Equipment guide here.

I hope you found this short article helpful and interesting, if you have any questions about getting equipment to start streaming – please send me an email – it’ll be great to hear from you!