Today we talk with Amani Roberts about Live Streaming, and how it can really amplify all that your doing, get you infront of new audiences and really generate those superfans. We’ll also talk about his experience as a DJ, writing books for the music industry, being a professor and all things cool he’s been doing.
Amani grew up in the Washington, DC area. He went to Howard University. He grew up working in Marriott Hotels for almost twenty years. He began to be a DJ full-time at the same time. He’s been a DJ and music producer for several years. He’s active in livestreaming and does a lot of work on Twitch. He is a professor an co-director at Cal State University Fullerton. He’s written one book and have a second book in progress.
I always encourage people to stack income streams and Amani is one good example of that.
Amani usually interviews people for his podcast in person. When he wasn’t able to do that starting in March 2020, he started livestreaming his podcasts on Facebook, Twitch and Twitter. Other DJs were also livestreaming but due to licensing issues, they would get cut off. Twitch was a godsend for them because they do have public performance license. They started to build a community in that platform around April or May 2020. Ironically, at that time, he was also teaching about Twitch and livestreaming in the class he teaches at Fullerton.
It’s great that they have music business club, classes and things like that at Fullerton. When I came out of school in the 90’s, I was an incredible musician with so many skills and my music theory and performing was top notch, but I had no clue about business stuff. Fullerton wants to close the knowledge gap between independent or new musicians and that is commendable. They cover how royalties work, streaming, even NFTs which were big for musicians. They made sure they were on the cutting edge in terms of knowledge, information and strategies. Amani is trying to get an intro to music business class added. That’s something he’s passionate about too at the school.
When Amani was learning, experimenting and teaching Twitch, he discovered a number of things. You don’t need to go out and buy all sorts of different equipment. Start where you are, and build a community. Don’t underestimate the power of merch. People will buy a t-shirt from you, a mug, a keychain. If you set up a quick little merch shop and you’re streaming on Twitch or online and you offer that, people who like you will buy it. We have the old Kevin Kelly rule. It’s like you only need 100 true fans. You get 1,000 true fans. That is definitely reachable within a streaming platform. I grew my platform from one person following me to now. I have almost 5,000 people that follow. I was finally able to achieve partner status on Twitch after a long road. If you put the work in, it can be some definite benefits.
Amani agrees about stacking your income streams. It’s something little that’s dripping here and there, brings in things. In one month, you could get a lot of money. You could get half of that but it works. It’s effective. In Twitch, you can set up different little bots within your stream that will pop us and offer your merch to your audience. It’s slow and steady income but it builds up. You can also do donations or tips. Build your following and consistently stream. Clients have also hired him saying they found him on Twitch.
You can also build subscription levels from Tier 1 at $5/month, Tier 2 at $10/month and Tier 3 at $25/month. You get half of that revenue. If you advance and become a partner, which is one of Twitch’s exclusive status levels, once you reach a certain threshold of requirements, you can get 70% of the Tier 3 revenue. They also have a system in place where people can gift subs. You’ll get revenue to gifting subs, regular subs and the people can also sub one channel per month via Amazon Prime. You get 50% of that revenue.
Once you get the partner status, you can only livestream on one platform. What Amani does is stream deejaying then have game shows. After 24 hours, he puts up the stream on YouTube. Go back and forth with Twitch and YouTube. You stream live on Twitch, download it then you wait the next day and upload it on YouTube. He also uses tech stack such as OBS to improve his sound quality. He uses a combination of OBS, Twitch, Zoom and OBS Ninja. He’s learning on the go and trying different things on Twitch such as game shows. He’s been using his Twitch account as a portfolio and has been pitching it to his clients. Some of them liked the idea of doing a game show as a break in the middle of a conference. The goal is to use the customers. You have to offer more options for them to spend money with you basically.
Amani also organized the Twitch TV Awards. They modeled it after the Grammys. This is another program he is able to pitch to a client. He used this awards show as a case study for the project management class he teaches.
Amani adds this important advice: “I think the only thing to add is more like a mental mindset. Try it out. Don’t be discouraged if there are 2 or 3 people in your stream. Share it with people, network with other streamers, almost spend more time in other people’s streams than you do streaming yourself. I think that’s one thing that’s missed and don’t be afraid to network and work with smaller streamers. I started as a small streamer. It has taken me a year and a half to grow. I got to partner status. Be authentic and good things will happen. Be patient too, which is hard.”
In terms of deejaying, if you have the equipment, ability and desire to learn, it can be very beneficial. It’s like networking. Amani is a part of a couple of professional associations and through that, he’s able to meet and work with people back and forth.
He also went to Scratch Academy twice — once for deejaying and once for music production — and that build a strong foundation. He also built a strong network of people he connected with.
It’s different to do livestreaming. You have to do a lot of stuff like check your equipment, check your camera, engage, have overlays if you can, putting up emoticons, etc. It’s like your own personal show and your own personal venue. They come for the community who enjoy the same music but at the same time is looking for new type of music. DJs love livestreaming because they can play whatever they want for how long they want.
Check out Amani’s book, DJs Mean Business. He takes you through the time slots of a DJ set, 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM. Every fifteen minutes, he relates it to growing a business. He’s in the process of writing his second book.
This episode was previously published on The Profitable Musician Show.