How to live stream your own music: A guide for musicians

Whether you want to share your music with the world, host virtual concerts or connect with more fans, live streaming is a worthwhile effort for musicians.
How to live stream your music

Live streaming is changing how we share music. Your fans don’t have to come see you live in concert, they can tune into your live-streamed performance online. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about live streaming as a musician. From the basics to more advanced tips, you’ll learn how to make dynamic, professional music live streams.

How to choose live streaming equipment for musicians

Before you start live streaming your music, you need the right streaming equipment. All you need is a computer or smartphone, a live streaming app, your music production equipment and preferably a webcam. It also helps to have a strong internet connection.

Computer or smartphone

The more powerful your computer is, the smoother your live stream will be. Live streaming requires a lot of resources from your machine. However, the operating system is pretty much irrelevant. It can be Mac, Windows, or even Linux. Sometimes, though, a simple smartphone can do the job.

Webcam and mic

As for a webcam, you want to make sure the picture quality is good enough for you. Pro live streamers tend to invest in more expensive professional cameras. However, as a musician, you know that sound always comes first. Therefore, you may want a high-quality microphone (or several, depending on your setup). You can read our lists of the best webcams for streaming and the best microphones to help you find the right ones for you.

Music production equipment

The next crucial part of your setup is the music production equipment. Some top stars live stream from their luxury studios, whereas other musicians simply do it with an acoustic guitar and nothing else. No matter what your setup is, one piece of gear you might consider is an audio interface or mixer. It takes multiple sources of analog audio and balances and combines them into one digital signal. You can read our list of the best audio mixers for live streaming for more info.

Live streaming software

Finally, you need to choose your live streaming software. The most popular ones are OBS Studio and Restream Studio. If you live stream your music with Restream, you can choose from over 30 platforms to multistream to. You can also add graphics like captions, backgrounds and logos, and your streams can be in high-resolution audio with a sample rate of 48kHz with 256 kbps bitrate. Restream also saves recordings of your live streams so you can edit them and re-post them later.

How to prepare for live streaming

Although nobody can stop you from going live and improvising everything, your viewers might not appreciate mistakes, errors and mishaps on repeat. Here are some steps to consider before hitting that “live” button. 

1. Think over your set

Figure out which songs you want to perform and put them in an order that makes sense. Think of creating a set list as telling a story to your viewers. You might even try rehearsing the set before you go live to ensure it flows well. A well-planned set eases unnecessary stress when you’re live.

2. Pay attention to your appearance

Looks are important. Not only does a good look attract more viewers, but it also emphasizes the level of your commitment and respect. Therefore, make sure you look the way you would like to present yourself to the world.

3. Warm up before going live

Another great idea is to warm up a bit right before going live. Depending on the music you produce, you can do some vocal exercises or play your instruments for a few minutes. Stretch those chords and fingers!

4. Make sure everything is set

The final and most important preparation step is to double-check your setup. Make sure the equipment works smoothly and you look and sound great, and test it offline. It is essential to know what your viewers will see and hear.

You can easily test your mic before going live with Restream’s mic test tool

How to monetize live music streams

There are many ways for musicians to monetize their live music streams. Let’s cover some of the most popular and profitable ones.


Most major live streaming platforms have a donation system that lets viewers send you “tips” during your stream. Some examples are YouTube’s Super Chat, TikTok’s Diamonds, Twitch’s Bits and Instagram’s Badges. You may have to meet certain requirements to be eligible for donations on major platforms like Twitch and YouTube, however. If you’re just starting out and don’t have a ton of followers yet, you can use third-party donation platforms like Patreon.

Fan subscriptions

Twitch, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and other major platforms let viewers subscribe to their favorite creators. They sign up to receive exclusive benefits from your streams for a monthly fee. Some examples of benefits are subscriber-only videos and content, custom emotes for the live chat or even being featured on your stream as a special guest.

Ad revenue

Well-established live streamers become partners or affiliates with major platforms like Twitch, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Platforms have different requirements you should meet before you are eligible. After you become an affiliate, your live streams can roll ads, which your audience views. You get a share of the ad revenue generated by your stream.

Brand deals

If you can get a brand to sponsor you, it can be a lucrative way to make money with online concerts. You’ll need to develop an active community on your channel first — and you don’t need thousands of followers. Many brands look for micro- or nano-influencers with high levels of engagement. When signing brand deals, just be sure to vet the brand first. Don’t promote a company or product that you don’t use or believe in because your viewers can tell if you’re being fake.

Musician merch

Getting a band t-shirt is half the fun of going to a live concert, right? You can hire a designer to make you a logo (or make one yourself using Canva), then use a merchandise platform to print shirts, mugs, caps, posters or whatever you think your fans will like. Platforms like YouTube and Instagram let you create shops full of your products and link them to your channel.

For more ideas on how to monetize your live music streams, you can read our guide on how to make money streaming.

How to choose a streaming platform for musicians

Nowadays, there are dozens of platforms, but only a few are great for musicians. These are YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, TikTok LIVE, Twitch and Mixcloud 

1. YouTube Live

Music videos are the most popular type of content on YouTube — they accounted for 50% of videos watched worldwide in 2023. It should be no surprise, then, that YouTube Live is an excellent choice for musicians. It’s the go-to platform for online concerts, intimate music performances or even live interviews with musicians. Independent musicians can use YouTube to stream their music and more, like JohnPaulMusicUK, Harry Mack and Shakeout

Read our full guide to live streaming on YouTube for more details.

2. Facebook Live

Facebook could be the ideal place to live stream your music if you already have an engaged follower base on the platform. If your band has a Facebook group, for example, you could live stream exclusive performances for your fans. You could also do live videos on your Facebook page or profile to generate some exposure for your music. Some independent artists you can look to for Facebook Live inspiration are Joe Flip and DJ Shinski

You can learn all about the ins and outs of live streaming on Facebook with our full guide.

3. Instagram Live

Instagram Live is the perfect platform for intimate concerts with your followers. You can also do behind-the-scenes looks at your in-person shows, informal Q&As with your followers or a live “day in the life” vlog. Popular musicians on Instagram who do live streams are Rosalía, Taylor Swift, Doja Cat and Nicki Minaj. You don’t need much to stream on Instagram, you can do it right from your smartphone. That’s what makes Instagram Live a popular choice for musicians and creators of all kinds.

Get more tips and strategies for live streaming on Instagram with our ultimate guide.

4. TikTok LIVE

Although TikTok started as a short-form video platform, live streaming was introduced in 2019 and it’s become a top platform for live videos. Musicians, bands and DJs can make the most of TikTok LIVE’s popularity by streaming live sets on the platform. You can do a live request show, perform original songs or just have a casual chat with your viewers. Some successful musicians who stream on TikTok LIVE are Molly Rose and Salvator Mancuso

Get more tips and strategies for streaming on TikTok LIVE.

5. Twitch

Another great platform for live streaming your music is Twitch. Though originally designed for live streaming video games, today’s Twitch is a wonderful place for broadcasting nearly anything, including music. Musicians and DJs like The8BitDrummer and Sintica stream regularly and rack up thousands of views. Twitch is especially great for newcomers showcasing their talents, whether you are writing your own music or doing covers. 

Learn more about Twitch with our full guide to Twitch live streaming.

6. Mixcloud

Mixcloud is a streaming platform for musicians concerned about copyright laws. Since Mixcloud has licensing agreements with music titans like Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Merlin Network, you don’t have to worry about unfair claims, muted sound and other copyright issues that occur on other streaming platforms. On Mixcloud, you can easily live stream your DJ sets, podcasts, radio shows and other audio-focused content. Some popular DJs on Mixcloud are John Digweed and Carl Cox

Read more about live streaming on Mixcloud in our full guide.

7. Multistreaming

If you feel limited by choosing only one platform, then you can multistream to several platforms at once. Restream Studio integrates with over 30 streaming platforms, including YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, TikTok LIVE, Twitch and Mixcloud. You don’t need any third-party apps and you don’t need a more powerful machine to stream — you can go live with Restream Studio on your favorite platforms right from your browser.

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How do I live stream music with a smartphone?

You can stream live music from your smartphone by connecting your audio mixer to your phone, then going live on your preferred live streaming app with your phone. This kind of setup works best for vocalists or musicians with a single instrument. If you want to stream a live music set that’s more complex, you should upgrade from a smartphone to a computer.

What is the basic live streaming equipment for musicians?

The basic equipment you need to live stream music is a microphone, webcam, computer or smartphone, live streaming software and an audio mixer. Depending on your setup you may need more equipment. You might also consider getting some inexpensive lighting to improve the video quality of your live stream.

What is the best streaming platform for musicians?

The best platforms for musicians who want to stream live performances are Twitch and YouTube Live. These platforms have the most users and the biggest potential for viewers. However, you may also find an audience for your music on platforms like Instagram Live, TikTok LIVE, Facebook Live and Mixcloud.

Wrapping everything up

To start live streaming your music, you need the following streaming equipment: a PC or smartphone, a webcam and microphone, your music production equipment and a live streaming app. The most popular ways to monetize your live streams include donations, subscriptions, revenue from ads, brand deals and merch. 

The five leading streaming platforms for musicians are YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, TikTok LIVE, Twitch and Mixcloud. By using Restream Studio, you can multistream on more than one platform at a time and share your music with an even bigger audience.

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