I happened to catch most of Dropkick Murphys livestream performance for St. Patrick’s Day, which was distributed on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook. As social distancing is rule #1 for our culture in the wake of pandemic, this sort of performance will inevitably be a go-to for all kinds of artists who want to reach audiences but can’t host them in a theater or rock club. The Dropkick Murphys did a few things that made this livestream stand-out as something special.

Graphics and Breaks

Non-profit donation call-out from the streaming video.

Dropkick Murphys incorporated the usual lower-thirds and bugs which are standard for television-style video production, but they also created graphic messages to run in between songs and during “commercial breaks”. These graphic titles suggested viewers make charity donations and also listed resources for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. This was a additional content which added a lot of value to the program, and as the in-studio audience was limited, this saved the band from making too much awkward in-between song banter for an audience that wasn’t in the room.

Dropkick Murphys used #hashtags

Showing onscreen graphics form the livestream video.

Incorporating the hashtag #dropkickmurphys into the livestream graphics encouraged viewers at home to interact and make it much more of a virtual live event. Rather than just expecting passive viewership, they actively promoted their fans create a community around the event, which is an important part of live music and the punk scene in particular.

In terms of on-screen graphics, I would have suggested they break the “Do the Five” into a separate graphic all together, creating an emphasis on this important message. But, I understand this came together very quickly.

The Dropkick Murphys livestream was directed to the at-home audience

I’ve produced a few music livestream concerts at local venues, and in the past this has been a way to document the performance for posterity and also to reach fans who can’t make the show for whatever reason. What this means in practice is that outside of an occasional call-out about the stream, the band interacts with the audience in the space as they normally would.

With the Dropkick Murphys livestream, there was a very limited audience in the room and the entire purpose of the show was to reach the online, remote audience. Frontman Ken Casey directed his remarks and performance toward the cameras and toward the remote audience. This made the livestream feel much more immediate, important, and a priority rather than an add-on. The at-home audience was the party, not randos that just happened to walk into the show, so to speak.

Some Local Livestream Examples

TWVS produced a livestream for local band Fret Rattles, sent out from Hook and Ladder in South Minneapolis. This was a cool example of what can be done with relatively low budget, some nice cameras, and the know-how to make a great show. Both on-stage and off-stage!

We’ve also produced livestream performances for local theater productions, something which we will be doing more of as coronavirus forces more and more venues to move their shows online for remote audiences. These are always fun and the best results happen when the company works with the video team to create a performance that works for the camera.

Limitations to be aware of the internet connections available at the venue, having too many people in the audience, and overcoming audio challenges. Most theater venues aren’t set-up for live audio recording for streaming so that can take some work to get right and should be part of the budget discussions. A small audience for the video production is best, as getting the right visuals and sound will likely be disruptive for a seated audience.

Professional livestreaming can be a complicated undertaking, but with the right considerations, tech, and experience it can be a great way to get your experience out to a larger audience. Even long after the coronavirus pandemic has passed into history. Please reach out to us if you have questions or want to get something started, no matter the scale.

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