Live Streaming to Your Fans (and not Strangers’ Wallets)

Bruce Wawrzyniak
4 min readDec 21, 2020


Live Streaming to Your Fans | Camera pointed at band

It’s a sobering thought. This year has forced performers to put on live shows from home, streaming through Facebook or Instagram or YouTube or some other platform. All with the hope of viewers tipping them electronically or streaming their music — or both.

The problem is that neither of those have a high percentage of likelihood.

When the world isn’t in a pandemic, you go out on a given night and you pick one place to go to where you’re going to just see and hear one artist performing. There is a strong chance that you will support and engage with that person in some way, shape, or form, whether it’s walking up to the stage and dropping cash in their tip jar or buying a CD and/or other merchandise of theirs or writing your name and email address down on their newsletter sign-up sheet or seeing their sign that notes their social media handles and following them on one of those. The latter might even include Spotify, where you’ll then stream their music from.

However, with restrictions getting tighter and tighter in places like California and New York as the Coronavirus numbers reach scary heights, the scene instead is those guys and gals performing from home, hoping you’ll land on their live stream. The problem, though, is how crowded that gets. Can or will someone actually stop by one guy’s live stream and Venmo him five bucks and then tap over to a different girl who is singing her heart out and would appreciate five dollars through PayPal, but then switch 15 minutes later to a third performer and send five more dollars via CashApp, only to then get notified that someone they genuinely know and like has just gone live and would love for viewers to join their Patreon for, you guessed it, just five dollars? Oh, and did I mention that one hour and 20 dollars later, it’s only Monday night?

Now let’s look at the other side of it. The, “Yeah, tips are definitely welcome. I can’t pay my bills with 47 thumbs-up comments. BUT, if these people watching would stream my music, I might get some traction on Spotify” side of it.

Everyone’s Not Listening?

I don’t want to be a Negative Nancy, but late last week I read a report from Billboard that said that music streaming is stalling. In fact, while it mentioned the obscene number of tracks being uploaded every day (and you thought the live streaming space was crowded), music streaming hasn’t grown since mid-July.

It all boils down to this. I’m not telling you to never do a live stream again. What I do recommend, however, is that rather than waiting and hoping for a stranger to find you — someone they’ve never heard of — in a live stream and watch long enough to like you, tip you, and maybe engage more with your music, you need to focus on nurturing your loyal fan base. Are THEY watching your live stream? Have you appealed to THEM for opportunities that you’re not getting? Who do they know that can offer you something more rewarding than setting up and tearing down in your house just to play on Instagram for 30 minutes and no tips?

Do you want and should you be trying to attract new fans? Of course. But in an attempt to find coins under the couch cushions in the form of people who are just getting exposed to you for the first time, don’t forget about the loyal supporters who’ve stayed with you and then just expect them to show up when you are back at that popular venue where they so faithfully came and saw you perform so many times before. Otherwise, you just might be staring at the same empty chairs being seen today by those performers who are fortunate enough to be getting bookings for live shows.

What have you done successfully to stay connected with your devoted fans? Tweet those wins to me via @NHT_tweets. Or, post them for me and others to read on Facebook or LinkedIn. Alternatively, you can send me the details via email. And if you are worried about these and other challenges in your music career, book a private, one-on-one, video consultation with me to get you moving in the right direction.

I am a manager and publicist, running Now Hear This, Inc., an agency that has served clients across the U.S. ranging from music artists to authors to small businesses and even an Olympic athlete. Since February 2014 I have also hosted a weekly podcast (“Now Hear This Entertainment”), which has gotten listeners from 153 countries around the world. Find more about the company and the podcast at I am also a national speaker. Visit for more information.

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Bruce Wawrzyniak

I’m a manager and publicist, running Now Hear This, Inc., an agency that has served clients nationwide. Plus, I host a weekly podcast and am a national speaker.