Periscope – A new platform for musicians or just a fad?

Periscope is an iOS and android app that has been around for just over a year. It enables people to live broadcast from their phone to others who are viewing the scope. This can be a private broadcast to invited scopers only or a public broadcast to anyone who wants to watch.

I think Periscope is a great way for budding and established musicians to connect with their fans. I have seen this in action; an artist I worked with regularly used Periscope before his support slot on tour to connect with fans. This created a buzz and as those fans tweeted about the stream on twitter, it was also seen by the fans of the headline act and in turn gave him more exposure. Fans can comment in real time on the live stream, so they can ask questions and ask for shout outs and the streamer can respond. Even better, musicians can perform impromptu acoustic numbers and get them out there, live, to whoever is watching.

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A pianist taking requests live on Periscope

It can also be turned the other way around, fans can stream the artist’s concert. Ahead of their slot at Summer Solstice Festival this year, Radiohead gave out the WiFi password and encouraged fans to Periscope the show (Earls, 2016).  A great stunt to make sure other fans unable to make the gig could participate in the music but I can’t help wondering whether the presence of all the screens detracts from other people’s enjoyment of the show.

I think this is where services like TIDAL may be better suited. TIDAL is a high quality music streaming service and they also stream some live performances. Different to Periscope in that it is professionally filmed and broadcast live, I think that this could be a happy medium. Less intrusion for fans at the concert and high quality viewing for those at home. You do lose the ‘fan’s eye view’ of the concert that Periscoping provides, however, the sound and picture quality are low so it may be a good trade-off.

I feel like I have to quickly mention Facebook’s live streaming feature that many of you might have seen. My Facebook feed is now full of people live streaming their day-to-day activities (a good or a bad thing?) We will see if this spells the end for Periscope, now that live streaming and social media-ing can be done in the same place. Whether on Periscope or Facebook or wherever I think interactive live streaming is a great tool in connecting with and building your fan base and getting your music out there. It will be interesting to see if it really takes off!

References

Earls, J. (2016). Radiohead encourage fans to use phones to Periscope concert. Retrieved 30 October 2016, from http://www.nme.com/news/music/nme-103-1197626

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