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Thrill Collins' top tips for live streaming your gig

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On Friday 20 March at 8pm over 4,500 viewers tuned in to watch Thrill Collins perform live from their home.

The band decided to host the (in your own) house party following the UK-wide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The online gig also raised over £6,500 for Youth Music, Coppa Feel and Reverse Rett! 

With more live streams taking place across the world, music is proving to be a huge support for people during this crisis. Read on to find out about Thrill Collins' experience going online, and their top tips for streaming a gig.

Please note that Thrill Collins held their online gig before the official government social distancing advice was announced on Monday 23 March. If you don't live with your bandmates, please don't visit them! Now's the time to perfect your solo sets, or to form a band with your flatmates/family/pets.

Tell us a bit about the band. How long have you been gigging for, and who came up with the name?

We’ve been gigging for about 10 years and actually came up with the name by accident!

We actually had our first gig before our first rehearsal, so we were practicing ahead of our second gig when we realised we needed a name.

Rob said “How about Thrill Collins?” and I laughed – we took the rest of the day off after that.

Why did you decide to host a gig online?

Like everyone else we’ve been watching the news and seeing how many people were either self-isolating or distancing themselves socially and thought there must be a way to get everyone in their houses doing the same thing at the same time.

We didn’t want to just do a livestream, we really wanted people to make their own parties in their own homes, then ‘let us in’ by way of the internet.

We posted about the idea on our socials and the response was overwhelming, so we set about organising.

It must have been different playing when you can't see your audience! What was it like to play to an online crowd?

It was very strange! A lot of musicians feed off the energy of our audience when they perform, so without that direct feedback we definitely felt the disconnection as first.

Within about ten minutes of starting the broadcast we could see the donations climbing and a near constant stream of chat on the screens in front of us, so that created a very different kind of excitement and really gave us a great sense of how the gig was going.

tiled squares showing people watching the thrill collins gig

What did you enjoy most about the gig?

As much as we love performing (and that would be an easy answer!) in truth it has been the hundreds and hundreds of pictures, messages and videos that people sent us.

Families, friends, pets, festivals-in-front-rooms, fairy lit dens, pubs-in-the-garden, disco balls in kitchens – it was incredible seeing the weird and wonderful ways people chose to get involved.

One group even had a 25-way group party going throughout the live stream!

The gig was a huge success - do you have any top tips for streaming a gig online?

Yes! Here’s our top 5:

1) Keep it simple

Choose a time, place and platform and stick to it.

2) Have a run through of your set

We tested our audio mix and video quality almost a dozen times before pressing the ‘go’ button so we knew it would all look at sound great once we started

3) Be different

There are a lot of artists and bands livestreaming now which is fantastic, but to make yours stand out try to find something a bit different in what you do or how you’re doing it. Our livestream was focused on people having house parties rather than watching us perform – we think this is why it may have been so popular!

4) Think about your audience

We’ve always felt it’s a privilege if someone spends their time or money on your music, so we always try to think of them first. You will know your audience best, so think about the best way to engage with them before you get started with the planning.

5) Don’t be scared!

There are loads of different ways to plan and broadcast livestream, but it’s probably worth just jumping in and giving it a go. We had never done a livestream before last Friday and we ended up with over 4K viewers during the two hours as well as fundraising six times our original target. Part of the fun of the internet is sometimes you just don’t know what’s going to happen.

Do you have any plans to stream future gigs?

Yes, we have been talking with a particularly awesome festival about a particularly awesome idea that we can’t reveal quite yet, but for now we’re just going to be good boys and stay at home with our families. 

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