#065: Matthew Ebel – Stream your concerts to the world!

Getting out on the road to build an audience is a constant struggle for the average indie artist. Limitations on time, money, and resources are all huge hurdles to overcome. But what if you could take your show around the world without moving a single guitar amp or eating another drive-thru meal? Now you can! Indie artists like Matthew Ebel have harnessed the power of online services like UStream to accomplish just that. Each week, Matthew performs live via UStream without leaving the comfort of his very own basement. Internet audience members congregate (in the virtual sense) from all points around the globe to watch his homespun concert broadcasts. The interview with Matthew goes into great detail concerning some of the technical aspects of how he produces a UStream show, so be prepared to take notes.

You can see Matthew Ebel’s UStream show every Tuesday at 6pm EST here – http://matthewebel.com/ustream

  • Thanks for having me on the show, Kevin! I’d love to do it again sometime. 🙂


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  • I love ustream – great podcast – i find setting up a facebook event is a great way of promoting ustream gigs. May i recommend using Firefox with ustream it seems to work better. I’m doing a Ustream gig this Sunday http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=97809604278&ref=ts – great podcasy

  • Bucktown Tiger

    Just wanted to say awesome interview Matt ^^ thanks for the helpful tips on streaming and finding the balance between good quality and a usable stream for the listeners 🙂

  • I’ve been working my way through the back-log of the DIYs since discovering the podcast earlier this year.

    It will be a sad day for me when I finally catch up; however, it will make the new arrivals (like this one) all the more exciting.

    Just this afternoon, I started hunting around the net trying to find some new podcasts to delay my progress, and I’m having a tough time finding anything of interest.

    You guys set the bar too high!

    Thanks for putting together such quality content : )


  • David,

    May I suggest, the Talking Metal Podcast, Music Discovery Podcast, my own humble Bands On Pod (if you want to learn how NOT to do a good poscast) and so on. There are tons of them out there:)

  • Hi Guys,

    I enjoyed the show about streaming video on the web.

    I got excited about doing this myself a while back and set up the proper equipment, etc. but ultimately had marginal results wih it.

    I think that you really need to have a fast internet connection to make it work well. I was using DSL and it just didn’t cut it – audio and video were out of sync and the overall quality was not good.

    I would be curious to hear what Matthew recommends as a minimum bandwidth requirement for LIVE streaming at a decent quality.


  • Dave-

    Well, the bigger the pipeline, the better, of course. I have FiOS at my house- that’s 2MB upstream bandwidth, a ridiculously high number for residential internet. As for minimum, I really can’t say anything more than I would for recommending a microphone: try it out, listen to the results, and keep making changes until you like what you hear or decide to move on.

    I think I mentioned a specific bit rate in the interview that I use, but that’s with fairly high video quality. Good audio doesn’t require much and, like I said, people aren’t tuning in to SEE me in crystal clarity.

    Wish I could be more specific, but you’ll just have to experiment with settings. Grab a friend in a different time zone (with a fast computer and good internet) and see what kind of bandwidth you can feed them. Or grab a fan and give ’em a private one-to-one concert if they’ll help you tweak your feed!


  • Hey CDbaby and Matthew!

    Thanks for sharing the streaming idea, may I suggest another idea that just hit me – bands can stream their rehearsals online, and their fans can discuss/suggest the new songs being created.

    For example if the drummer comes up with a new drum part, and the band starts debating whether it fits the song or not, the viewers can help the band to come up with a decision.

    This way, the rehearsal becomes interactive, and the streaming becomes constant.

    Waiting for another podcast,

    Sumo Elevator

  • Yevgeny-

    Yep, I’ve seen a few bands do that. I’ve actually done that before when I did the Nashville Duo thing with my pal Ernie. All I can say is make sure your crowd interaction doesn’t interfere with actual rehearsal. Practice doesn’t make perfect if you’re not actually practicing! 🙂


  • Guys,
    Great podcast! This is something that I will eventually want to try.

  • This was a good one 🙂

    Very inspiring as usual and something I’m going to look into doing with my Mexican band at some point in the future.

    I’d seen UStream recently when Jarvis Cocker streamed a whole week’s worth of performances, rehearsals and chat from an art gallery in Paris (this was a particular highlight – http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/1472371/highlight/1400 – let it get to 3.18 for a priceless pop moment).

    Like the fool I am, although I was seeing it with my own eyes I didn’t see the implications for people like me, so thanks to CD Baby for making me realise that you don’t have to be Jarvis Cocker to stream your band live.

  • Ben

    What we need is service -like ustream- but more like a concert. What I mean is that viewers have to pay in order to watch concerts but can see rehearsals. I guess you can just make the page on your website that has the streaming video and make it password protected and then setup a paypal thing so each user that buys gets the password. Check out Joseph Lee Hooker. He’s an amazing Singer! He just does not have enough of his songs up.

  • Hey Matthew and Kevin! Many many THANKS for the incredibly helpful podcast. Can’t tell you how right on time this was. Matthew, your stuff is brilliant and I really appreciate your level of detail and candor. Badass.

    The quality of this podcast made me go back through and download about 6 of the most recent episodes, and wouldn’t you know it, THEY ALL KICK ASS!!! THANKS KEVIN. Your questions are so honest and thoughtful, but each have a little kick in the ass for me.



  • I found this pod cast inspiring. A friend of mine Tad Dreis (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tad-dreis) does these on about a monthly basis and seems to have some success with it. So, I’m going to try it soon with my own project.

    Matt, thanks for getting incredibly deep with the techno-babble as it helps us trying to get the best quality for our shows. Perhaps you can set up a FAQ somewhere with your settings/tip/tricks?


  • Nelson-

    I might just do that, one of these days. I’m working on a few other projects right now, tho, which are taking more than their fair share of time! Hopefully I’ll be able to do that soon, tho.


  • Ron “RC” Carr

    Hey guys! This is unrelated but I thought it would be good to mention that David Hooper (I believe you mentioned him once before) launched his own social network for JUST musicians. If you are interested… the URL is http://www.musicmarketing.net/ and if you want, look me up and I’ll be glad to help you out of you are confused! It’s pretty straight forward though –

    Thanks CD Baby (and Matthew Ebel) –
    Ron “RC” Carr – @RCRonCarr (Twitter)

  • Mathew, I have been streaming live for the past 3.5 years in the virtual world of Second Life. It is another avenue to get your music heard. Like Ustream, there are technical aspects but once you learn the ropes it is great. Second Life gives you the capability to video stream if you have the bandwidth but most artists don’t fool with that aspect. It is kind of nice to be the man behind the curtain and not worry about the cleanliness of your studio or whether your hair has frizzed. I encourage you to check out second life (dot com) and find someone who is doing it to mentor you. The added benefit of doing live shows on Second Life is that you get paid. Some shows are tips only but a lot of the higher profile venues pay you in addition. It is regularly possible for me to make the equivalent of $25.00 for an hour show in Second Life currency without leaving my home studio. You can sell it when you feel like it and it goes to your paypal account.

  • Alex-

    Actually, I was doing SL shows before I found UStream. You can see a few photos of Hali Heron in concert at http://bit.ly/YtiN8 and even hear my entire concert at the Freudian Slip at http://matthewebel.com/music under “Live Recordings”. SL is totally backwards in that the musicians are the ones making all the money, it’s weird. I actually paid my RL rent one month with Lindens I cashed out.

    The serious drawback to SL shows is that you need access to a Shoutcast server, separate streaming software to get the music onto that server, and you either need to own a venue or get booked at one (at least that part’s easy).

    Once you get over all those logistical hurdles, you can still only fit about 30 people in the room before the server catches on fire (SL’s limitation). Those viewers all need to have a computer capable of running SL, they need accounts, and they need to know how to USE SL… all of which diminish your potential audience.

    I regularly have over 150 people at my UStream shows and I’ve played to upwards of 500. Any SL server with that many people would simply collapse. On the technical side, all I and my fans need to run is a web browser with Flash- MUCH lower barrier to entry.

    The only advantage I found after playing SL shows and UStream shows is that I don’t have to be human in SL… that’s about it. It was fun, but the potential is just so limited (at least until SL becomes as easy for fans to use as YouTube).


  • Great podcast. Love the cutting edge nature of this. Well done explaining the purpose and technology of it.

    I like the point that while CDs, and especially downloads it seems, are being sold all over the world that this is a great way to connect live with your fans anywhere. I’m selling in the Netherlands but probably will never do a show there so maybe it’s time for a virtual tour!

    Jason Paul Johnston

  • Jason-

    Just last night I did another show with viewers in at lest 6 countries. I have VIP subscribers to http://matthewebel.net in Singapore, the Netherlands, Belgium… granted, I’d like to see a few hundred fans concentrated in the same city from time to time (so I can tour in the flesh), but the concept of playing to 6 different time zones still amazes me.

    The fact that I can make people around the world who speak different languages moo in unison blows my mind.


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  • I redownloaded this podcast and listened to the whole thing 3 times back-to-back to get the techno-tips from Matt regarding his video & audio setup. After a quickly responded to email by Matt, I’m ready to go live. I need to continue testing my setup but I will be doing my formal Ustream show Thursday December 17th. For more info, check out http://tinyurl.com/yzbgxsz.

    Thanks Matt @ Kev-bo (Wonder Years reference) for helping us out with this useful information.


  • Adil shah

    I have written some rap lyrics and i want sing them and want it for future also