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How streaming technology and beat battles are building community among artists, music producers, audio engineers and fans.

2020 has been a real challenge for the music community. With venues closed and tours canceled, making money from live music seems impossible. Plus with current travel restrictions, opportunities for networking and making an impact beyond your local scene are severely limited. So what can we do to find mentors, reach fans, and interact with tastemakers that support your career as an artist, producer or mix engineer?

Swim the Stream of Live Music

While previously the domain of gamers, live streaming services such as Twitch, Facebook Live IGTV and YouTube LIVE have recently pursued musical performances and music-related content as a new market for their technology. A number of artists including Matthew K Heafy from Trivium and Travis Scott have had successful Twitch music events. Producers such as Kenny Beats and Illmind have been building their brand via their own Twitch streams. Even Billboard publishes a weekly “Livestreams to Watch” page.

While not the same as a traditional show at a venue, streaming does feature real-time interactivity allowing fans to respond via chat systems, text and lots of emojis. They also offer some income as events can require a subscription or one-time fee similar to the pay-per-view sports model. In addition, fans can buy special tokens and badges as virtual “merch.”

For Trivium fans worldwide, their Twitch concert was a great way to still stay connected with their favorite band. And kudos to Full Sail University for jumping into this new technology realm and helping to make it happen

Battle Stations, Battle Stations!

“Battles” have been part of the music community for-ever. From teenage “Battle of the Bands” competitions to hilarious/caustic “Rap Battles” and “Laptop Battles” popular with the electronic music crowd, these music competitions help hone skills and give exposure to up-and-coming artists.

Just as streamer channels feature top gamers who battle it out, now we can see music producers battle it out in online best competitions.

Kenny Beats

Never camera shy and always up for some fun, Kenny is known as a prolific producer and for his rollicking YouTube video series “The Cave,” where he shows his process for making a beat and recording a rapper or singer in real-time. Taking that to a new, interactive level his subscribers on the Kenny Beats Twitch channel get industry advice, creative tips and some live Q&A via chat to encourage and educate the music producer community. He will jump from analyzing a track or music tool; to showing how he approaches the beat making process; to holding Beat Battles every Monday where a beat gets made in two hours and the winner gets a copy of Auto-Tune EFX+. (one of his personal vocal plug-in favorites). His music producer community on Twitch has grown to over 100,000 members in just a few months.

Check out this YouTube video of Kenny and mixer Alex Tumay judging a beat battle or this one of him coaching his subscribers on using Auto-Tune EFX+.

Illmind

Illmind is a 2x Grammy Award-winning producer who has worked with artists that include Kanye West, Drake, J. Cole, Ludacris, 50 Cent, Ariana Grande, and others. He’s served as a music production consultant and as an instructor for the “Future Music Moguls” program at the Clive Davis Department Of Recorded Music. His teaching experience benefits the subscribers to his Illmind Twitch channel where subscribers hear him talk about crafting drum packs, getting more placements, beat making tips, and “beat critique,” where subs can send in their beats for review.

Che Pope

Grammy award-winning producer and former G.O.O.D. Music  label executive Che Pope is on a mission to give back to young producers and artists. Not only has he created the Q&A with Che podcast, he’s also been running a “Temperature Check” show on IGTV where he listens to new artist submissions and offers advice on music production and the industry.

Producer Plug Uni

Monthly beat battles at Producer Plug Uni are judged by old-school hip hop legends that have included Mike Dean, Ghostface Killah, Large Professor and others. The judging is always fun to watch on it’s own as sometimes the vote is split and a tie-breaker is needed.  Note that you can also just watch as a spectator.

And yes, the winner of the battle gets hooked-up with a free Auto-Tune EFX+!

Strange Days Indeed – But The Music Plays On

While times have been hard in 2020, it’s important to see ways that music producers, mixers, artists and fans can still interact and grow using the digital tools available. 

So fire-up that phone or laptop and jump into a stream of vibrant music creation communities and virtual concerts.