These Six Musicians Have Embraced Twitch Livestreaming – And You Should, Too

A few months after the initial shock of shows and tours being postponed indefinitely, I discovered Twitch. Twitch is primarily a streaming app for gamers, but it has a growing music and performing arts section with a swirling vortex of supportive creative energy. It’s more like an interactive music television show than a traditional livestream on social media, Youtube, or other virtual music venues. Music streamers on Twitch have regular weekly stream schedules and some stream for hours at a time. There is a large focus on engagement with your viewers in chat, streams are structured to be monetized, and you are able to expand your audience through a thing called “raids.”

Isn’t a “raid” a bad thing? Not on Twitch! Let’s define some lingo. A “raid” is when a streamer ends their stream, and they choose another stream to bring their audience to. You can sit on Twitch all day and ride the train from stream to stream. Twitch facilitates a monetized fan to artist relationship through subscriptions (aka “subs”), gift subs (viewers can purchase subscriptions for other viewers in the chat), tips (aka “bits”), and direct donations. If you become a subscriber, you get a custom set of “emotes” (aka emojis) that the streamer designs. A “hype train” is triggered when viewers all start subscribing, gifting subs, and cheering bits all at the same time. Sounds exhilarating, right? Now that you’ve got the Twitch vocabulary basics, here are six Twitch music streamers to check out now.

Aaron Goldberg

Aaron Goldberg is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, freestyle rapper, and one hell of a dancer from West Hills, California. He has been doing entirely improvisational 4-6 hour streams every night since May. He is the definition of a genre bender – over the course of his stream you’ll see a mix of funk, hip hop, ambient and classic rock. He also plays the harmonium, flute, didgeridoo, and samples vinyl records. His main intention is to make people happy, and feels that generating an endless cycle of positivity and good vibes with his music is exactly what the world needs right now.

“To me, the most beautiful thing about Twitch as a platform is its incredible community. As a newcomer to Twitch as a whole, I immediately felt welcomed and supported by people who had been on the platform for years building their own communities. Almost right away, established creators were finding my channel and actively putting in effort to get their own viewers or other streamers to check me out. The closest comparison to the Twitch community I have seen in real life besides my own close friends, is at open mic nights. Everyone is there to either perform and support, or just enjoy art. I really feel like I have found a home for my art on the internet.”

CA in LA

CA in LA are two best friends, filmmakers and musicians named Courtney and Ashleigh. The first time I stumbled into their stream they were crying out of gratitude. Every time I’ve been in their stream since they exude so much genuine warmth. They moved from Maryland to Los Angeles together four years ago and have a large collection of short films and covers on their YouTube channel. They are a prolific multifaceted duo who are always working on new material and have the best harmonies on Twitch!

“We have no idea where we would be as artists, filmmakers and musicians without Twitch. Twitch has driven us to push our creative limits and pursue creating original music on top of leveling up with cinematic storytelling. In the last two years, we’ve been introduced to artists and musicians alike from all around the world – even some who live five minutes away from us! Twitch has been the gateway for us being able to share our story and art with the world in a way never before possible and accessible to indie artists.

As filmmakers, we’ve never been or felt more supported than with our Twitch family. Part of being a filmmaker is submitting to film festivals with audience votes and such and we finally have that platform to be on a competitive level! We can’t testify enough to how incredibly loved we’ve felt, setting goals for new film equipment, projects and music equipment only to have those goals met time after time. Our community has been the most pivotal part of our lives. Our Ohana push us to seek new and greater heights for ourselves and are alway there supporting and loving us. In their words, ‘Big dreams, big results!’

Courtney and I grew up in the 2000s and loved our girl jams. Before we knew each other, we loved the girl group Dream. I, Ashleigh, in particular, loved Melissa Schuman. I mean to the level that I invited them to my birthday party as a 13 year old. Understandably, they were touring the world and being famous and things.

Fast forward to 2020, in the midst of this crazy pandemic, the viewership on Twitch has excelled a lot. One of our community members asked us to cover a song from Dream and stated Melissa streams and they would pass our cover over to her. This being the internet, we took everything with a grain of salt. Low and behold not a week later, Melissa Schuman showed up in our stream and was watching our cover of Dream’s music on her stream as well. We have since connected and chatted. It’s been beyond a dream come true to meet one of our idols as young women. All made possible by Twitch!”

Fantastic Plastics

Fantastic Plastics were my gateway into the weird Twitch world. They encourage many of their friends and musicians to create Twitch channels – including Weird Paul (see below)! They are a futurist duo who play party music, including a whole lot of Devo covers. They also recently premiered their Space Ghost-influenced talk show every Wednesday.

“After years of playing gigs and touring, we feel like we’ve finally found our ‘Plastic Party’ on Twitch. Not only have we made new fans on Twitch, but friends as well – people we’ve never actually met! Through the chat we feel like we get to know a bit of their personalities and senses of humor. One funny aspect of live streaming on Twitch is that the community can save short video clips of the live stream. Whether they are funny things we said or did, or cool moments during a song performance or just something random that happened, we always get a kick out of watching the clips afterwards.”

Sabrina Solo Show

Sabrina Solo Show is just that: one woman that plays guitar, kazoo, and kick drum, performing originals alongside a huge repertoire of cover songs from the 1940s to the 2000s. Her super stoked energy and raspy voice will hook you in to hang in her stream for hours. Sabrina has enjoyed the transition to streaming and even feels more connected now to her audience than she did with an in-person live experience.

“To say I love Twitch would be a serious understatement. I’m a one-woman band; I sing, strum the guitar, and play drums with my feet. I play covers and originals and along with my (behind the scenes) audio engineering fiancé, Justin, we stream three times a week.

I’d been playing gigs at dive bars and small venues for over a decade. Loved it! Never really resonated with any online platform; I’m into that LIVE experience. We started our Twitch channel in January of this year (2020) and it feels closer to live gigs than I ever imagined! I actually connect with people in chat much easier than those bar gigs and I also feel more encouraged to be myself than ever before.

I just discovered last week that my originals are requested more often than the 300+ cover songs I have on my set list, which floors me! The Twitch community really rewards you for being your true self. They’ve already spoiled us with some much-needed gear upgrades and sponsored our upcoming album! We have a blast just being goofy and playing classic rock tunes. It really does feel like a dream. Love my Twitch fam!”

Sun Fyre

Sun Fyre is hilarious, quirky and mega talented. She is an incredible drummer from Costa Rica currently residing in Buffalo, New York who performs under a black light, glowing with UV paint and jams out with a double bass pedal to metal and rock covers. You can always catch her playing in various costumes and cosplays, and she also does a variety of exercise and cooking streams.

“Being the only Hispanic female drummer with this stream setup is quite unique in this streaming industry and I’m proud to represent my Latin American background through music as well. You will find me speaking English, Spanish and Portuguese on my streams while laughing about nonsense with the chat. I mainly bring a quirky personality while performing heavy metal most of the time. Pretty much I’m known as the ‘only’ metal female drummer on Twitch.

One of the funniest stories would be the time there was a bee in my stream room and I had to stop everything to get it out because I’m afraid of bugs and I couldn’t concentrate. I have also been Rick Rolled more than 100 times on my stream – we have a Rick counter.”

Weird Paul

Weird Paul is an internet sensation. He is the original “vlogger,” making and sharing homemade videos for over 30 years. It only makes sense that he would become huge on Twitch with his brand of VHS tape nostalgia. He’s prolific in both quality and quantity, having written over 800 songs that make you feel like you’re a loopy 6th grader at your best friends sleepover.

“I’d heard of Twitch for years – my first interaction with it was in 2014, but I never thought of it as a platform that I could use as a musician. Thanks to my friends in the band The Fantastic Plastics, I decided to give Twitch a try and I am so glad that I did. I’ve been a musician and a YouTube content creator for a long time, but Twitch has made it possible for me to showcase all my talents in a ‘live’ setting and be recognized for it. I’m seeing how much fun all my followers are having watching me and witnessing friendships starting before my eyes. One of my favorite things about Twitch is that you can be yourself and not be punished for it, unlike other social media that demands you do what they want so you will be rewarded.”

The strangest thing that has happened to me on Twitch since I started using it three months ago was my channel being raided one night by ‘ShaggyandCreep.’ When I found out that it was the ACTUAL Shaggy 2 Dope from Insane Clown Posse, I was speechless. After my stream ended, I went to their channel and watched them talking about raiding me and that was so fun to see. It’s great that Twitch suggests all kinds of stuff to different accounts – makes things very interesting!”

RSVP HERE: The Fantastic Plastics Live Stream Via Twitch + More

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE. Due to live show cancellations we will be covering virtual live music events and festivals.

Photo by Angelyn Toncray

This week marks the one-month anniversary of most COVID-19 lock downs in the US and everything that came along with that. Mass amounts of tour cancellations have ushered in a new world of consistent live streaming on social media. While most bands are still adapting to this new quarantined way of being, NYC-based synth dance punk duo The Fantastic Plastics are about to celebrate their one year anniversary of live streaming on Twitch. Self-described as “the future of the future,” the Fantastic Plastics are heavily influenced by Orwell and sci-fi movies, so maybe they knew this particular dystopian fate was coming all along. Their visually stimulating live show includes matching outfits, backing projections, Moog synths and a theremin and is guaranteed to captivate your attention, whether in person or from the comfort of your phone screen.

The Fantastic Plastics’ interactive Twitch stream is tonight goes live every Wednesday and Friday at 9pm EST, with occasional bonus shows on Sundays and Mondays – your next opportunity to tune in is tonight, April 17th! We chatted with The Fantastic Plastics about some of their live stream effects, their sci-fi movie favorites and their advice for starting your own Twitch channel.

AF: You were in the live streaming boat far before quarantine started. Coming up on your one year anniversary on Twitch, how has your performance style grown over the year? How has your fan base changed?

FP: Our performance style over the last year on Twitch has evolved to become more interactive with our audience. Before we started live streaming, we were accustomed to jumping on stage to play a quick 30-45 minute set and then tearing our stuff down off of the stage as quickly as possible. Now with streaming, we stretch our performance out over 3-4 hours with lots of chatting with our audience between songs. Our fan base has changed in that we spent years touring and trying to find our audience, whereas with live streaming, most of our audience has found us instead. We are also able to reach people in parts of the country and world that we’ve never toured.

AF: What goals do you have for streaming in the year to come?

FP: Streaming more often, making our stream more interactive, and branching out with a variety of content.

AF: Have you noticed a change in your audience since the quarantine began? Has the quarantine affected your creative process in any way?

FP: Since the quarantine began we have noticed that our audience, as well that of many other musicians on Twitch, has grown quite a bit as people are searching for new ways to see live music. As far as our creative process goes, we’ve been putting more energy into ways to make the stream more interactive and visually stimulating, and of course there’s always the pressure to keep writing new music.

AF: How do you make your outfits change pattern during your set?

FP: We are misusing the chroma key effect, haha! We actually used this same effect in a music video we filmed for our song “Teleport” in 2017 and thought it could work really well with our video projection show in the background on Twitch.

AF: What are your favorite sci-fi movies? What movies have had the most influence on your sound?

FP: Most sci-fi movies that we like, such as Barbarella, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner, influence more of our aesthetic vs. our sound. Musically and lyrically, we have always been really inspired by William Gibson novels and of course 1984 by George Orwell.

AF: How do you think an extended quarantine is going to affect musicians’ (and humans’ in general) relationship with technology and live music?

FP: There has definitely been a shift and more of an appreciation for watching live music performances via streaming, and it seems like people are making a switch from passively watching Netflix to enjoying the chance to have more interaction with the musicians and bands they like via streaming. Hopefully after things start opening up again, this will be beneficial for both streaming and live, in-person gigs as we know everyone really misses the energy of being in live concert venues and is looking forward to seeing those rescheduled concerts.

AF: What advice would you give someone starting their twitch channel?

FP: The best thing to do if you are thinking about starting a Twitch channel is to just watch as many other streamers on Twitch music as you can – most importantly to learn the culture. Once you start streaming, just be consistent, and don’t give up.

AF: What are your plans for the rest of 2020 & beyond?

FP: We have a remix album, MLFNCTN, coming out at the end of the Spring/early Summer this year, and we just plan to keep writing new music, releasing more videos on our YouTube channel and streaming on Twitch as much as we can.

RSVP HERE for The Fantastic Plastics live stream on Twitch 4/17 9pm est. 

More great live streams this week…

4/17 Zola Jesus via Saint Vitus Instagram. 8pm est, RSVP HERE

4/17  Jeff Tweedy via Recording Academy’s Facebook page, Amazon Music’s Twitch page, and Pickathon’s YouTube page. 1 p.m. pst, RSVP HERE

4/17 Mima Good via Baby’s TV. 10pm est, RSVP HERE

4/18 Air Waves, Juan Wauters via Baby’s TV. 3pm, RSVP HERE

4/18 Lauren Ruth Ward, Veronica Bianqui & More via Youtube – Couch LA. 6pm est. RSVP HERE

4/18 Global Citizens Fest feat. Alanis Morissette, Paul McCartney, Lizzo, Lady Gaga + More via Youtube. 8pm est RSVP HERE

4/19 Erykah Badu via Instagram. 8pm est, RSVP HERE

4/20 Weedmaps “Higher Together: Sessions from Home,” featuring Wiz Khalifa, Billy Ray Cyrus, and more. 12 p.m PST, RSVP HERE