File Under: Booking and Performing Live, Making Money With Music, Making Videos

Want to put on an online concert or DJ show? No problem. Just start up your own live TV feed in moments using services like Ustream and Livestream. You can even do it with a cell phone and a decent internet connection. Of course, if you have a quality camera and microphone, you should those instead. But putting on the show is not the hard part--making money off the show is the challenge.

Monetizing your show using the free versions from Ustream and Livestream requires you to find ways to get paid outside of the platform. You'll need to pitch your links, albums, merchandise (like T-shirts), and online tip jars from the stream, by mentioning them during the performance, providing links in the description, or including images in the video part of the feed. Most of these video services have chat rooms, and you can also share links as you're talking with fans. Considering you can't type during the performance, it helps to have someone manage the chat for you during the show.

Another option that allows you to monetize these free broadcast platforms is to use Patreon in a clever way. Patreon allows your fans to fund you on a monthly basis, or to pay you per release, show, or creative output. If you like performing often, you could link your Patreon account to the times that you perform, so your fans basically pay for when you play. Patreon allows you to give special content to your supporters, so consider making the recordings available to them so that they can see any shows that they miss.

If you want to charge directly for putting on a concert, however, try using Stageit. The service is built for musicians and allows you to charge your fans to get access to your feed. It even has an online tip jar. This platform already has an audience, so you might be able to generate new fans while playing on the platform.

Make sure that you read the agreement, and understand the Stageit platform. They have their own money system called "Notes" that your fans need to purchase, and there's currently a minimum amount you need to have in your account before you get paid.

No matter which platform you use, promote the show just like you would any other. We cover this in The Indie Band Survival Guide (Second Edition) in the "Your Gigs" chapter. But for an online gig, social media will be far more important than any other kind of promotion. Creating an event and inviting people on platforms like Facebook or Evite can also be effective.

Another good thing about these options is that you can use them to broadcast any live shows you're doing at a music venue. This allows you to create an extra income stream from your paid show. In addition, you can let your fans all over the world enjoy your music even if they can't go in person. If you stream the gig that you're already performing, you can connect your live music experience with the online audience that you've worked so hard to build, and make extra revenue out of it besides.


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Photo credit: Martin Fisch