The live streaming video app Periscope was recently acquired by Twitter and has been on the rise since its launch. Looking at the group Veruca Salt as a case study, this article explores how artists can use Periscope to offer their fans a V.I.P. experience, with minimal cost or preparation.
Guest Post by Chandler Coyle on The Coyle Report
What is Periscope?
Periscope is a live-streaming video app for iOS and Android devices which is part of the Twitter family. Twitter purchased the startup Periscope and relaunched the Periscope iOS app in March of 2015, by May an Android version of the app was released. The app was a hit and by mid-summer Periscope had 10 million accounts and 2 million daily active users. At the same time Periscope reported that over 40 years of video was being watched per day (and that’s not including replays). Yes, 40 years!
You need to download the app to an iOS or Android device and create an account. I recommend that you create an account using your Twitter account, however you may also create an account with just your phone number. Before you start broadcasting, let’s go over some details about the app which will help you create better broadcasts.
Some more details:
- Broadcasts can be public or private.
- You can announce you are about to start broadcasting on Twitter through the app.
- Viewers can comment and heart (like) the broadcast.
- You can use either the front or back facing camera on your phone and switch between them easily
- Your broadcast’s replay will be available for up to 24 hours (unless you choose to delete it).
- Fans can follow you and get notified whenever you go live on Periscope.
- Broadcasts and replays can be viewed from a desktop browser as well as within the app.
- You may elect to save the video portion of your broadcast as you end it or set your account to autosave all broadcasts. Comments and hearts are not saved.
Veruca Salt: A Periscope Case Study
Photo by Alison Dyer
In early July 2015 the reformed Veruca Salt released their first album (including all original members) since 1997 and embarked on a tour. The band had just completed a highly successful PledgeMusic campaign (project managed by Music Geek Services founder Jay Coyle) where they spent a few months in near-daily contact with their superfans. The band’s superfans and fan support team were both encouraging the band to do Periscope broadcasts.
Veruca Salt’s front women Nina Gordon and Louise Post were game for trying out Periscope and a few days before their album launched they were running a few test broadcasts. They also smartly mentioned their future Periscope plans on other networks in addition to Twitter, like Facebook and Instagram. This gave their fanbase advance notice to figure out what this Periscope thing was and get ready.
By album release day, while they were in San Francisco on tour, they sent out a tweet announcing their first official Periscope from a stretch limo while traveling from soundcheck to their hotel. The fans flocked to Periscope (many downloading the app for the first time) to check this out. The band answered questions, talked about how excited they were to be playing together again, and about their new album. As their tour continued they did a few more Periscope broadcasts:
A broadcast of a Nina and Louise acoustic set from Amoeba Music in Hollywood (Here’s a YouTube video of “Seether” from that same set…just not the Periscope.)
Another filled with pre-show activities on the tour bus as they were about to headline the Wicker Park Festival in their hometown of Chicago.
All told they did a handful of broadcasts over the span of three weeks and I managed to catch all, but one of them, live. Each one was well attended and the band seemed to really take to the process well. In each one (save for the live set broadcast) the band interacted with the fans, watched the comments and questions stream in, and marveled at the hearts on the screen. If you take a moment to check out the preserved archive of the last one. You’ll get to see a rare glimpse into the world of a band on tour interacting with some of their most ardent supporters after the final show of that leg of the tour.
What to Broadcast on Periscope
As Veruca Salt demonstrated above the following moments or events are perfect for Periscope broadcasts:
- live streams of in-stores or other stripped-down performances
- on-the-road, pre-show, and post-show activities
Beyond those, here are some other ways that you could give your fans a V.I.P. experience with little or no preparation on your end:
- In the recording studio
- Do a fan Q and A session
- Share a work-in-progress song from ProTools or even live
- Show a behind-the-scenes view of a radio or press interview session
- Show a behind-the-scenes view of a V.I.P. meet-n-greet
- Follow the Benji K. Rogers rule (see below):
Optimizing The Periscope Experience
Before the Broadcast
- Consider using an external microphone to improve the audio quality, especially if you plan to perform. While using the device’s internal microphone is usually good enough, an external mic, using a budget (and especially premium) external lavalier mic, will make a dramatic improvement.
- If you don’t plan to be moving around, consider using a simple desktop tripod to keep your device steady.
- I recommend checking out this guide from Pat Flynn for an idea how one frequent Periscope broadcaster helps make his broadcasts the highest quality they can be.
- Prepare an attractive offer as a free giveaway, like a free download, and have an easy to hear and remember URL to tell the fans. Maybe even hold up a sign with the url like yourdomain.com/free. That way you can embed an email-for-media widget on that page and collect email addresses for your newsletter throughout the broadcast and the 24 hours that the replay is available.
- Record a short video prior to your broadcast and post it to Twitter and Facebook separately announcing the upcoming Periscope broadcast. That way your fans will get a glimpse of you wherever you are and start alerting their friends. This will help boost your viewer count.
During the Broadcast
- Be spontaneous — the best broadcasts I’ve caught were unplanned and announced at the last minute. Nothing like getting a notification on your phone that Veruca Salt is doing a broadcast from their tour bus as they are preparing to hit the stage.
- During the first few moments of the broadcast, address the replay viewers reminding them that they can still ‘heart’ the replay even though it isn’t live. (NOTE: live viewers will not hear or see the first few seconds of the broadcast anyway, so it is a good way to make use of the first few moments of a broadcast.)
- Greet viewers as they arrive. Ask viewers to post where they are located.
- Stop for a moment and ‘reset’ your viewers every 5 minutes or so, like a radio DJ would do during a long interview segment. Just stop and welcome newly arrived viewers and tell them what is going on. You’ll have viewers coming and going throughout the broadcast and this helps keeps everyone engaged.
- Encourage viewers to post comments and ask questions.
- Then make sure you spend time responding to comments and questions so that the broadcast is highly interactive
- Make use of both cameras (front and back) during different parts of the broadcast so you can give your viewers a different perspective.
- Near end of broadcast remind viewers about the ability to replay for up to 24 hours and encourage them to share the link to the replay with all their social networks.
After the Broadcast
- Post a link to the broadcast replay on your socials a few times before the 24 hours replay period expires.
- If you save the video to your device’s cameral roll, and the broadcast was something you would want to archive…consider uploading the video to YouTube.
- Watch part of the replay for at least your first few broadcasts, so you can learn what elements worked and maybe what could be improved. Pay attention to the hearts, that usually indicates your fans are loving what you are doing or saying at a specific moment during the broadcast.
UPDATE as of 10-Sep-2015: Periscope announces they are allowing you to broadcast in portrait or landscape modes. (Up until this point, portrait was the default and only option.)
If you decide to use Periscope to interact with your fans, I’d love to know about it. Click the button below to let me know about where to find the replay of your broadcast:
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