The world of live streaming has exploded in the past few months. As artists around the world are looking for new ways to contact their audience, tech companies are scrambling to offer new and improved ways to live stream. Yet, very little has changed from the point of view of a DJ. I’ve been playing weekly live streams online for almost eight years now, and after the virtual festival we had over at Slipmat this past weekend, I was again reminded that the secret to a successful online music event is not only in the technology; it’s in the right mixture of technology that allows artists to do their job and the people on the dancefloor who radiate their good vibes back to the artist.
Slipmat emulates many aspects of a physical venue for a reason: the best physical venues don’t only have the proper tech and a stage, they have soul. The smell and humidity of a small dimly lit jazz club, the electric brilliance of a haze-filled trance hall with lasers cutting through the air, the right kind of venue gets us in the right mood the moment we step in through the doors.
This is one of the reasons I’ve never wanted to play for my audience on generic platforms like Facebook or Twitch. It’s just not the right setting for a DJ gig. Streaming a DJ-set on Facebook feels to me like playing in the lobby of a huge mall, with a crappy sounding kit, in the middle of the day, most people just turning their head slightly while walking by and a few very eager unlucky souls trying to enjoy the music in a totally wrong environment. If you care about your audience, you shouldn’t make them dance in the lobby of a shopping mall, you should invite them to a proper night club instead.
The analogy can be extended a little bit further. Just like physical night clubs, there is plenty of room on the Web for more than one streaming platform. Having proper competition is good for everyone, it reduces stagnation and kills of the unhealthy. And in the current world of the few giants, it’s very healthy for the listeners to learn that just one simple click can take you to a totally different neighborhood. All we need to do as artists is to teach our audience the best places to be!
I feel that during these past four years that Slipmat has been around, it has established itself as a tried and tested joint where both artists and the audience know they can have a brilliant time. It’s not yet very big but it’s growing fast. And most people don’t even know it exists, but the cool kids do, and that’s all that matters. Slipmat has a truly superb and unique community full of great talent. We all come from different walks of life but the love for music is the one thing that brings us together.
As a favor to yourself and your listeners, stop doing those shopping mall gigs. Everyone deserves better than that.