What IRL streaming is and how to get started

Could you have imagined thousands of people would be watching you cook dinner and then eat it in real time? How creepy this idea would have been a few dozen years ago! Nowadays, this is called IRL (In Real Life) streaming, and it is incredibly popular. Some people manage to earn thousands of dollars a month simply by streaming their everyday lives or hosting online reality shows! We wanted to dive into this relatively new type of streaming and share some helpful insights with you.

What is IRL streaming?

In case you don’t really know what IRL streaming means, it is basically a broadcasting of any activity that is not video gaming or business-related. This category includes everything from live streaming your talents or niche hobbies to vlogging your travel adventures and everyday life.

IRL streaming categories

This kind of streaming activity is super popular on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Hundreds, if not thousands, of IRL channels can be found there. However, the undisputed king of IRL streaming is Twitch. There, you can find people reading books to their audiences, demonstrating new cooking recipes, or simply talking just to chat. Usually, IRL streams are cozier and less flashy than traditional gaming streams.

Twitch IRL category

It was December, the year 2016, when Twitch officially launched the IRL category. Its addition allowed content creators to avoid the incredibly fierce competition with gamers. Thanks to this decision, IRL streaming attracted more and more viewers and quickly turned into a new healthy community.

Of course, there were people who criticized the IRL category announcement, arguing that it could open the door for new, potentially unwanted and harmful content, as well as endanger the work-life balance of other streamers. These fears, however, didn’t come to life. The IRL category generated millions of views and didn’t really cause any harm to other forms of streaming.

Such success led to a necessary change. Due to the growth of the IRL community, Twitch decided to split the category into specific divisions to help streamers and viewers find each other. New categories like Just Chatting, Music, Art, and Food & Drinks have emerged.

In terms of viewership, this update can only be good for every party. As proof of this statement, the Just Chatting category is now topping the charts with 283K average concurrent viewers on Twitch! The next competitor is League of Legends with just above 200K viewers.

Famous IRL streamer examples

If you thought only gamers and business corporations could take advantage of live streaming and generate millions of views, you weren’t the only one. We too were surprised to discover IRL streamers could also become famous and achieve success! Here are some of the most exceptional stories.

— Maya Higa

Although Maya Higa is not exclusively an IRL streamer, she constantly provides her audience with some wholesome IRL content. Even more so, her most-viewed clips all are about nature and animals. Maya took her audience to her workplace at a zoo, shared insights on how to care for birds, and even introduced viewers to her lovely horse. As a nature enthusiast, she puts a huge emphasis on this kind of content. 260K followers on Twitch definitely prove Maya has achieved success with IRL streaming.

— Hitch

Trevor “Hitch” Daneliuk has got to be the most famous hitchhiker on Twitch. The 19-year-old started hitchhiking across Canada back in 2014. And in 2017, he began streaming his adventures across the world on Twitch! Today, the 26-year-old is still doing what he loves most — traveling. Hitch has nearly 100k followers and thousands of subscribers on Twitch, making him one of the most successful IRL streamers.

— DomoStanton

When it comes to more niche IRL streams, DomoStanton is definitely among the first to come to mind. Dominike Stanton is a professional comic-book illustrator who enjoys sharing the behind-the-scenes parts of his work. The phenomenal artist has collaborated with the giants, like Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and Boom! Studios. He has more than 13K followers and generates thousands of views nearly every day.

— AustinShow

If you thought the follower numbers above were huge, that’s our bad. We didn’t mean to mislead you. Or did we? The next IRL streaming channel definitely exceeds anyone’s expectations. Having more than a million followers makes the owner of AustinShow a true Twitch celebrity. Formerly known as Rajjpatel, Austin streams game shows similar to the traditional TV reality shows we all know and some love, like The Bachelor and Unreal.

Austin’s most popular show is called Love or Host. In this game show, a contestant has to eliminate a group of invited people, leaving just one person they like the most. When an invitee is eliminated it is revealed whether they were interested in relationships (Love) or just wanted to be on the show to promote themselves (Host). The millions of views under every episode leave you wondering — if that is not a success, then what is it?

What kind of equipment is needed for IRL streaming?

IRL streaming doesn’t necessarily differ from usual streaming when it comes to the equipment. Depending on your form of streaming, whether it’s some kind of art or a traveling vlog, you might want something extra special. In general, however, you need a device to stream from, software to stream with, and a stable internet connection to send your broadcast over to the streaming platform of your choice. Now let’s talk more in detail about the essential streaming setup.

IRL streaming setup

If you are planning to stream at home, a desktop is the best option. It allows you to have more control over your streams in terms of the video and audio quality. However, streaming outside requires you to have a smartphone or GoPro camera. And if you really want to feel comfortable while streaming on the street, consider buying an IRL backpack with cellular modems, battery packs, and camera lenses.

You would also need a good (720p\60fps) video camera and a decent microphone to produce high-quality content. Keep in mind that both video and audio are equally important for viewers. Therefore, some additional investment in lighting and visual effects can be your future goal.

The next step is to choose streaming software. However, let’s be real — Restream Studio is hands down the best choice for IRL streaming. This simple yet powerful tool allows you to produce professional live streams with no effort whatsoever. Moreover, with Restream Studio you don’t have to choose a specific platform to stream on — you can be streaming on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and other top platforms simultaneously!

Restream Studio also has dozens of cool features in store, like inviting guests directly to your stream, sharing your screen, uploading and playing videos, Full HD live streaming, and many more!

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Finally, you have to always keep in mind that a stable internet connection is crucial. Unfortunately, jittery and choppy IRL live streams are quite common. This is often due to the fact that WiFi hotspots on the street are very unreliable. And don’t forget that your upload speed matters as well! An insufficient upload speed means your live stream won’t even start.

How to monetize IRL streams

Now that you are ready to start your IRL streaming career, we want to share some tips on how to monetize your streams. We have to warn you though: there’s no quick way to start making money due to the existing competition. Considering this, here are three proven ways to earn money via IRL streaming.

Donations 💰

Probably the most common income source for every IRL streamer (especially the beginner) is a donation from their viewers. Make sure it is super easy for your audience to find how they can express their appreciation by tipping you. You can use tools like DonationAlerts and similar services or simply add your PayPal and Patreon in your bio. Often, donations determine whether streaming becomes a job or remains a hobby.

Subscriptions 💸

Viewer subscriptions can be a good indicator of your success, besides being a great source of income. On Twitch, for instance, you can encourage your viewers to subscribe for either $4.99, $9.99, or $24.99 per month. Partnering with streaming platforms can grant you lots of benefits, including additional money from subscriptions, high-quality support, etc. Keep in mind, it is very important to stream consistently in order to attract more followers and subscribers.

Brand endorsements 🤑

When your channel becomes big enough, different companies may be interested in working with you. Influencer marketing is extremely popular nowadays, so even some smaller channels have a decent chance of being noticed. You can become a sort of a brand ambassador and advertise the products on your live streams. Top streamers can earn thousands of dollars a month thanks to such contracts.

Let’s wrap it up

👉 There are gaming live streams, educational webinars, business live events, etc. And then, there are IRL streams — a whole other universe. Here, people can simply chat with viewers, create art, host reality shows, vlog travel adventures, and God only knows what else. Surprisingly enough, people can make a living out of IRL streaming!

👉 Streamers like Maya Higa, Hitch, DomoStanton, and Austin have made a name for themselves and earn money while doing what they love. If they succeeded, so can you! You don’t need any huge investments to start your IRL streaming career — just your idea, a device to stream from, and a stable internet connection. You can use Restream Studio to broadcast your IRL streams to multiple platforms at the same time, invite guests to your stream, apply custom overlays, etc. And all of that in just a few mouse clicks!

👉 If you couldn’t make money with IRL streaming, it probably wouldn’t even exist. The very first source of income is older than live streaming itself — donations from fans. Another great option for streamers is to become an affiliate and get money from subscriptions. And finally, when your channel becomes popular, brands can pay you to promote their products on streams.

👉 IRL streaming can be super fun and profitable. It requires low investments and allows you to share experiences and emotions with other people. This is especially great in spite of recent lockdowns. We wish you good luck and strong health. Stay safe!