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Remember when live-streaming was ridiculously crazy expensive? You had to have special equipment, super high speed broadband and a reliable signal. Then, a few years ago, out came the Periscope app and that changed the game. Not only was it FREE but the quality was fantastic. More importantly, you could stream from your phone! Soon Facebook and Instagram came out with their ‘live’ features (which essentially killed Periscope) and now just about anyone with a smartphone can live-stream.

This feature sure can come in handy as a DJ. Unlike a photographer or other event vendor such as a baker, florist or dress maker, our ‘product’ is more of an experience than a tangible good. This makes it somewhat challenging to communicate what we do to potential clients who haven’t seen us work an event. Ever been to a concert and thought the band’s show was better than their album? This happens all the time. It’s hard to duplicate a live experience. However, live-streaming goes a long way in allowing us to showcase our work.

Live streaming is a very powerful tool, but it definitely has both pros and cons. Before you grab your phone, open up Facebook and hit ‘Live’ at your next gig, I think it’s important to spend a little time thinking through a few things. Here is my criteria:

Do you really need to go live or can you save this for Insta-stories or just film and upload content later? Going live should only be used for truly amazing content which leaves viewers with FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Very little content meets this criteria for me and thus my live moments have more impact when I do go live because my audience knows it’s going to be great.

Is it interesting or unique? With the live feature being available to everyone, there’s a lot of ‘noise’ out there. What makes this content worth someone’s time? Will it cut through? Nowadays attention spans are shorter, so it better be so unique or interesting that people want to tune in.

For a private event, do you have your client’s permission? The last thing you want to do is go live and then have the client find out after the fact and ask you to take it down or, worse still, leave a negative review as they don’t like the idea of their private party being broadcast across the internet. We have a clause in our contract where the client gives us permission to use images and/or video content taken at the event by us for our own marketing purposes. That’s one way to make sure you’re covered, but it’s no substitute for clearing it with the client in person either during a pre-event meeting or on the day. Another thing to consider is that it can appear that you’re more interested in making a live commercial instead of focusing on the event at hand. Never sacrifice the event itself for a live stream. You do yourself and the client a disservice that way, not to mention your future potential clients could be watching and wondering if you will be doing this at their event!

Go live before the event. This allows you to show off the space and what you’re about to do while everything looks perfect (including yourself). If you’ve given yourself enough margin, you can actually give some context behind the event itself, what services you are providing, a walk-through of the venue, etc. I’m not saying to NOT go live during the event, but now you’ve given some context before going live again when the party is going full throttle.

Have an assistant go live for you (during the event)! Nothing looks worse than the headlining DJ/MC pulling out their phone to make an infomercial about their company while they are supposed to be performing. I hear this complaint constantly from couples double-checking with me that this isn’t something I will do at their event. It’s been giving our industry a bad name for some time. Our clients deserve better. Use your assistant to take discreet footage so you can stay engaged in the moment.

Be careful with copyright-protected music. I’ve heard story after story of DJs going live and the Facebook or Instagram police pulling their content because copyrighted music can be heard on the video. Sure, you might get an initial hit of viewers while you are live but the content can’t reside later on the social media platform afterwards because you didn’t acquire the right permissions.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 91, Pages 50-51.


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