A review of video streaming for songwriters

We have gone to streaming video as a way to bring our music to more listeners. It is also nice to have friends and family tune in and interact via chat.

But alas, it is not without its challenges. Beyond the fact that we are competing with things like Wireless Internet at venues and just traffic on the Internet, here is what we’ve run into in the past month.

I’ve also included 2 lessons learned!

LiveStream.com
I love their Procaster desktop application… it allows me or my “producer” – the person who is on the chat during the performance, to switch between the camera and my desktop. For songwriter performances, this is really not that important but for workshops is wildly helpful!!

The problem is that the chat interface for livestream is painfully small. Seriously, some people are over 25 years old. I contacted livestream but was told there are no plans to change that or make the font-size adjustable.

UStream.tv
This service seemed the most stable and the interface the most mature. However, this weekend and into today, I am frustrated with them. Here is why:

I created two shows – one is a test account and is private. The other is my regular channel. Starting this weekend, the regular channel would not broadcast. I visited the live help, which is nice – but was told to post on the forums. I signed up for the forums but never received a confirmation email – so I could not post my question.

Since then, I’ve requested another confirmation email three times. Are they sick of me yet?

Others are complaining of the inability to broadcast as well. Unfortunately, there is nothing to indicate this problem is “known” by UStream. I would love for them (and anyone running a similar service) to prominently on their home page have a “System Status” message, so we could at least know that they know there is an issue.

I sent an email to their support team but there is, unfortunately, a 24-48 hour response time.

We were able to switch to the test account and broadcast but because I have it setup as private, no one could chat. I did not catch this until after my performance.

IMPORTANT LESSON
I am very thankful that I made the link to my live performance a link to a page on my website. This way, whether I use UStream, LiveStream, or one of the other services available, becomes less important. I can adjust the embedded video on my site or change the external link there on my page.

Also, create two shows for yourself on each service but do so at different times. Meaning, create a show and then a couple weeks later, create another one. I could be wrong – but I believe my two shows on UStream use different media servers. One is not working or has a problem, the other is fine. Having the two shows allowed me to quickly change my stream location for the page on my site.

The show must go on!

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