The Problem with Music Live Stream


I’m sure everyone here has their feed bombarded by people going live the past few days. While I do find it positive that artists are finding things to do during these difficult times, I can’t help but wonder who the heck tunes in. Last time I checked, Boiler Room Live videos on Youtube has barely 60 viewers. Thats one of the biggest electronic music platforms.

Personally, I much rather listen to an hour set on my own time. I can’t imagine someone going like, oh I need to go home now to catch that stream. Even if I was home, what are the odds of me being free during that set?

I feel online streaming makes sense for a certain type of content that would be improved by having a real time communication between the creator and the audience (e.g. courses, talks).

While I do think ‘going live’ creates a bit of buzz regardless whether people tune in or not, making it the next cool thing, it makes me feel like what you’re doing is just messing around rather than taking time to plan and properly record something.

Maybe i’m hating a bit, but I just feel baffled by this. Am I missing something?


hehehe It seems the visual aspect of looking cool with the fisheye effect is all its about, dont it . . .
Wish all this hype djs would use some time exploring the craft and mixing up some more interesting stuff than pure beatmixed tune bonanza.
Now is the time to dive deeply into what can be done with all the awesome technology available.

Im a bit baffled that the more interesting mixes I’v found, are still from the nineties.
Have a taste of a legend:


I’ve been really enjoying Questlove, drummer from the Roots / DJs live streaming sets. He’s produced lots of good music, has a storytelling ability and is pulling gems out over the course of themed nights. I’ve learned a ton from his nights that focused on Native Tounges, Stevie Wonder, Lover’s Rock, Reggae and Free Jazz.

One of the things he does is acknowledge the conversation going on in the streams (he’s on 5 platforms, IG/Twitter/FBook/Twitch/YouTube) and is somehow able to play tracks, tell stories, respond to comments that bring up other stories, mix, and shout out new people that enter the chat. I’ve learned about where samples came from, how JDilla put him onto Vangelis and Mordoer, what going to a performing arts school in Philadelphia hearing Boys2Men harmonize in the bathrooms was like, and a lot more in nightly 5 hour sets.

They’re so good I’ve begun recording them.

I think many young and hungry DJs are thinking “wow here’s my time to market myself to a captive audience” and completely missing the mark, in lots of ways showing how unprepared and incompetent they are by going live. What works in a club will often not work in streaming, it’s a completely different platform.

But those who are elders and can dig deep into the bag, pull out some unreleased Prince and begin a story of why this record is important and how the drums were tuned with the reverb they were because it was the 80s and everyone used the same Yamaha kit, those are the ones that have a role as storyteller through music. They’re simply translating it into a new medium, storytelling over the mic the way an MC used to.

For me Boiler Rooms never really did much for me except give me a sense of how DJs flow their sets and mix records, it always felt like it was only a slice of the real show without bass cabinets and the full room sound, lights and sweaty energy. But these Questlove sets have been showing me how someone with a deep bag of cuts can take you on a journey. I wonder if anyone like that is going to stream in the electronic world.

For reference, the man is giving Hip Hop History Lessons…


Wow thanks for that mix @spiro super good.


Stuff like that I can totally get behind!


Questlove is a don!
Knows his history, and brings his own style!

Look up some of Lord Finesse’s newer mixes if you love the sample diggin style mixing.


I remember how prominent music live streams were back in 2014, even before I had social media at all. I’d just be on the internet browsing on forums / certain ppl’s twitter accounts when they’d announced they’d be having a livestream of a home DJ set - sometimes it would be archived, sometimes it wouldn’t. For me it reflected the ethos of pirate music of doing whatever tf you want, especially since I was listening to the most cutting edge newest stuff of the hardcore continuum at the time.

Nowadays, people know and care about the brand of Boiler Room but can’t be bothered to tune in to almost all sets live, cause people are only going to care for what piques their interest or existing set of interests. Like what OP @spceboi said, people would rather listen to a set on their own time.

I do remember tuning in live to a bunch of sets & livestreams. I think I watched a Skream set live on BR back in 2012 or early 2013. Back in 2013 I used to tune in on Rinse FM a lot and just listen to whatever DJ was playing out. Those were fun times, especially since I barely had any expectations and was just having fun listening without any dispositions against anything. Except house music, by 2013/2014 tech house was becoming so oversaturated and overplayed everywhere I was so fuckin sick of it haha.

I listened to online radio live a lot. It’s fun to tune in cause some people you know are playing and will shout you out on Twitter or you’re busy hearing it in the moment, even if it will be posted on Soundcloud in a couple of days. I tuned into every Silk Road Assassins Radar radio show on air cause I was big fans of them.

In general, for me radio (FM or online) > livestreaming.


Might have miss-understood OP, but my comment was about the sudden rush of video for streaming your mix-session.

Not about using the internet as a broadcasting platform, live audio or download.
Radio and live mixes through cyberspace is one of the really useful results of streaming technology! And as you point out SubFM, RinseFM and others created a nice flavour of radio that I really enjoyed.

Think thats why im so disappointed that the style now is just pointing a camera at your decks and mixing some tunes. No adding your own style at all.

Like nickecks points out, people like Questlove, adapts his style to the current format. Makes it a nice vibe that fits the circumstances. Not just hooks up a camera and goes about some tunes.


SPF420 was fun back in the day, always felt like an event. leaned into the medium of tinychat in a fun and creative way. the chat provided the social aspect and crowd energy that shows have but streams lack


Yeah I remember the feeling of community around chats too, these days I just feel so jaded when I see the comments cascading down. It’s be cool if streaming DJs could make it more of a show, or at least a visually pleasing thing rather than them alone at home or at the decks with the same clones surrounding. Feels vacant.


i think the best guys to do this yet are Open Pit, who have done a trilogy of virtual music festivals on their Minecraft server, earliest being two years ago. somewhat big names have played (100 gecs & a.g. cook come to mind, charlie xcx even appeared during the a.g. set) and its not only the obv audio componet but the whole virtual visual camp grounds, simulating actual stages and art exhibits. and i have “been” at all three of them, and i kinda love it but, my two major problems was

  1. wasnt my kind of music. most of the festivals was full of memey mashups and crazy fluffy bubblegum bass and happy hardcore, and while im friends with some djs and staff there, and i dig the very queer and very colorful aesthetics (and even more so the money they have raised for queer support non-profits), i hate that this is the only kind of music tied to it usually, as a transfem queer myself. but ofc this is just my own taste, im glad they happy with their music, and im sure someone else can make an industrial techno and dnb festival in minecraft in the same vein :stuck_out_tongue:
  2. i still feel a nagging isolation with this somewhat. like i still cant convince myself im at a real festival when im moving myself using my hands pressing buttons and clicking things inside my room, and i can obv see outside the screen area. maybe once i get a vr headset and try minecraft with that this wears off, but even then, i couldnt like, cuddle with a friend there rlly? so idk
  3. the noisey article i linked warned about video game companies and major labels and other brands looking at this community run nonprofit event and making a corperate soulless version of it, and not long after fire fest, marshmello did his infamous “performance” in fortnite, heavly promoted by epic games with official marshmello digital merch for sale. and now that is leading to this



Really interesting to hear about the Minecraft festival. While I do not play the game, the concept itself is intriguing. The experience of course would be more immersive if we had a slightly more advanced VR technology. I believe what we have right now still has limitations in terms of realism and the seasickness it causes.

It seems that Marshmallow is really involved in terms of doing ‘virtual’ events. I always see his name pop up.

It would be interesting if virtual social games would pop up again since we’re all sitting at home. Like a place you can go to just to meet and talk to people. I think that would definitely be interesting right now.


Another person that is doing it right in this moment, for me, is Erykah Badu. She’s done two concerts from home, the second tonight, and fans can vote on songs, what room she should move to, which bands she should play with, etc. She also has friends and family doing jokes or magic between songs. It’s obviously been a massive undertaking for her to mobilize this within a week of everyone losing their gigs and being put on lockdown. But of course shes the Queen…

Here’s a link to a behind the scenes she shot that gives insight to what it took to pull off. The first concert cost $1, the second $2. She’s pioneering a new post-Corona model for artists to connect directly with fans by providing real, intimate value and connection. No promoters, venues, labels or festivals. It’s possible, when you get to a level like she’s on. And possibly on other levels too, as I hope we’ll see in the coming months and years…


literally a day after i posted all that, open pit announced a new event, and this lineup, omg


Great topics. Obviously the viability of some of this stuff is being tested heavily at the moment. i have been having the same thoughts, here’s where i’m at:

  • Not interesting: listening to a “radio show” where someone pre-records the mix and sends it to the station. it’s not live, and i might as well just listen to the recording on my own time.

  • Not interesting someone pointing their cameras at their decks and going at it. (agree w/ @spiro )

  • Yes Interesting: someone getting on the microphone, getting in the chat, and selecting and mixing records live and talking about them. Mixing Mistakes, people coming and going in the room, people in chat influencing the discussion etc. That’s what’s exciting about traditional/pirate radio and that’s what’s exciting today. (sounds like what Questlove is doing and @nickecks is backing)

  • Not interesting: archiving/recordings. I wish these radio stations wouldn’t bother archiving. We don’t need these mountains and mountains of recordings. Who cares. Electrifying Mojo created this whole shit and there like a handful of recordings of that. We don’t need 70TB and 300 hours of a regional house DJ – nobody is listening. Tune in live or you miss it.

similar discussion here:


Not interesting: archiving/recordings. I wish these radio stations wouldn’t bother archiving. We don’t need these mountains and mountains of recordings. Who cares. Electrifying Mojo created this whole shit and there like a handful of recordings of that. We don’t need 70TB and 300 hours of a regional house DJ – nobody is listening. Tune in live or you miss it.

I can’t really agree with this, there are quite a few sets, mainly from rinse but also other random stations, I used to rinse (ha) that I wish I could go back and listen to from like '07-'13 that seem to have just disappeared off the internet. This was before Soundcloud/Mixcloud had taken off and filled the gap so they were just uploading mp3’s to their site

Actually just went looking for one I would play constantly for months and found it, I would hate to not have this available:


Mat Dryhurst’s take made me lol


yeah agreed, the archive is one of the better things for me as well. i mean even fisheye lens camera at decks and radio shows are amazing if the content is good. all that matters is the music or the story/show/new use of the medium that is now our new normal. lots of people are going to suck at it, and they should be ridiculed.


resident advisor just launched a listings page for live streams here:


Holy shit that’s interesting. It will be crazy to see the scene get flattened like this temporarily. It seems like clubs (like Nowadays NYC), radio stations (Rinse), charities, etc are positioning themselves as platforms and booking DJ’s, but for the first time they’re all in the same list.