Today’s post is written by Deanna Wells, of the Canadian band Ophelia Syndrome.  She writes about her experience with Stage-it from the perspective of a not-so-internet-savvy computer user. We think this could be a great post for anyone who is sill considering giving Stage-it a try…especially for a last minute Christmas concert. Yea?

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I heard about Stageit from my best friend about a year ago. What is Stageit you ask? It is an online venue where you can broadcast from anywhere, to anyone, at anytime, directly from your laptop. Also, it is never archived, so it is a one time concert experience. The charm of Stageit is that most artists broadcast directly from their homes, which makes the concerts very intimate. Also, during the concert anyone who has purchased tickets can ask questions of the artist, or share their thoughts which are made available to the right of the screen in a column. It’s an interesting concept.

Our band, Ophelia Syndrome, has been working on a new album for the past year. We have completed the songs that we will be recording on the new album. We are currently fan funding by way of an album pre-order online, and wanted to showcase this new material to our supporters and potential supporters. In September we recently returned from our second (very small) European tour, and we thought this was a good time to perform these new songs. We were faced with a dilemma: how do we showcase these songs to both our small audience here, and overseas?

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am not very tech savvy, and so the prospect of an online show overwhelmed me at first. I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t get e-mail until I was in College, and Facebook for the most part creeps me out (although I have an account)  But a trusted ally encouraged me to seriously look into using it, as it is a very good way to be able to perform to audiences when touring costs are very expensive, and it is not an option to tour as often as one would like.

So I very carefully read through the website and set-up an account. When I started looking through the dashboard, I found it to be very user friendly. The only thing that artists need to be aware of, is that yes Stageit is totally free, but they do take a percentage which varies depending on how much you make from the show. The breakdown is here.

The artist determines

  • The date: we went with a Sunday afternoon to account for the time difference overseas. 
  • Location: we went with a local venue that has been supportive to us. Generally artists broadcast straight from their living rooms.
  • Time: make sure that you account for any time differences as Stageit is live to air. We had to take into account 6 hour time difference from here to Western Europe for example.
  • Set duration: Stageit has a minimum of 5 min and maximum of 30 min concerts, with an encore option of another 20 once you have started the concert.
  • Ticket price: we went with a Pay What You Can event and set the lowest price possible on Stageit of 10 notes, which is $1.00 USD. You may set your ticket price for whatever you would like.
  • Ticket Limit: You may also set how many tickets are sold.
  • Rewards to the highest “tipper” (optional). Yes, you can even get tipped on Stageit during your performance if the attendees decide to. It is important to note, that Stageit uses a “notes” system for payment, and 10 “notes” is equivalent to $1.00 USD.
  • Facebook App: Artists may set up this Facebook App and perform to their entire Facebook audience. For more details on this, click here

Sound notes

Stageit is set up to be broadcast from an artist’s living room and is appropriate for acoustic performances. We, however did not perform acoustically, and so we had to be a bit more particular once we got to the venue to set the laptop in an area that the sound was good and also had a good view of the stage (we found a nice spot on top of the raised bar). Also, Stageit has a “Soundcheck” option that you can set-up anytime to check your levels. I would highly suggest getting someone to help with this. There is a 30 second delay, so bringing a good set of headphones is helpful as well to listen back. We were lucky to have my best friend, and fellow musician Kori Pop on sound duty to make sure it sounded right. We did have to fuss with it for a bit.

This was our first time using Stageit, and so we made sure to get to the venue extremely early and work out all of the sound and laptop placement issues ahead of time. I would highly recommend this to any artist considering using Stageit for the first time. We used our bass players Mac Book (which we would suggest using as I did a couple soundchecks at home with a lesser quality laptop, and the picture and sound were not as clear). Also, we used the standard built in camera and web cam feature because it was the least complicated, and it seemed to go over well. If you want to get fancy you can also use an external camera and microphone, a high def camera and external audio mixer, or even a multiple camera shoot (for all of the details, please click here.

The Show

We ended up being really happy with the show. It is important to us that the show sounded great both at the venue and online, which took some fiddling around, but in the end we hope we got it. I would encourage any artist who has been on the fence about broadcasting online to look into Stageit to see if it is right for them. If not, there is always Ustream, or making videos for Youtube. Giving live performances to fans that don’t live in your immediate area is important, but also poses many issues whether it is from high touring costs, or deciding what online medium is best for you. Trust me, if I can get this to work, then you certainly can to. Best of luck to you!

For more on Stage it, Check out Grassrootsy’s Post 8 REASONS WHY WE LOVE STAGE-IT!

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OPHELIA SYNDROME ONLINE

Official: www.opheliasyndrome.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Ophelia-Syndrome/80589174430
Twitter: www.twitter.com/opheliasyndrome