Getting Started As A Second Life Performer
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Getting Started With Live Music
You don't need your own land to perform. There are several clubs, stages and other locations where musicians can perform on a regular basis. Contact them and try to find an empty time slot on the mic. A good place to find clubs, stages, etc. referred to as "venues" is the Showcase section of the Second Life web site. Bringing your live music to Second Life can be broken down into the following 6 steps:
- Get your music right in the real world. Learn more at Getting Your Music Right in First Life.
- Create your virtual self, learn to use it, and outfit it. Learn more at Outfitting Your Virtual Live Musician
- Learn to stream your music into Second Life.
- Promote yourself in Second Life. Learn more at Promoting Your Music.
- Book your gigs. Learn more at Booking Live Music Gigs.
- Put on a great show! Learn more at Putting On a Great Live Music Show.
The quality and diversity of performers in Second Life easily rivals first life. While playing live music can be as simple as hooking a single mic to your computer and broadcasting with a free streaming software package, if you wish to perform often, build a fan base, or collect handsome Linden tips you should invest a little time in learning the ropes of performing in second life.
Create Your Brand
Your music business in Second Life is exactly that, a "business". As such, it is important that you treat your career as a business, complete with a marketing and/or business plan. One thing many artists may overlook, is the need for a brand, identity or logo. You've conquered your instrument or voice, but you must also fight the battle of competition. Setting yourself apart is not an easy task, but having a logo, some sort of "branding" which identifies you as YOU, will most certainly serve to keep people remembering you.
Hire a professional designer to design a professional logo. Sure you may say "I have a sister who knows Photoshop®", knowing a design program and creating a good design are far different matters. Your logo should reflect you and your music. After all, in many ways, regardless of business or industry, a lot of it is ALL about "image" and how people perceive you and your product or service, in this case, you are providing both: the product being your music and the service being your performances.
Most performers in Second Life have not taken these steps. The ones that have, have achieved far greater recognition in less time. So make sure not to skip this VERY important step in creating and running a hopefully long lasting business for your music in Second Life.
Getting Started With DJ/Scratch
Getting Started With Theatrical/Dance
Getting Started With Spoken Word
Getting Started With Other Kinds of Live Performance
- If you want to perform live, you will want at the minimum a high quality microphone and a decent sound card. It is also helpful to have a computer and internet at least somewhat beyond the minimum requirements to run SL, or you may experiance lags and even disconection of the stream. Practice performing into the microphone with a recording software (such as Audacity, free online download) to get an idea of the balance and volume you generate. Sound Mixers that allow multiple microphones can be very helpful, however, often a simple USB microphone will suffice.
Streaming your music into Second Life
There are three components to a music stream in second life
- The source - usually your computer uploading the digital music stream.
- The streaming server - which redistributes your digital stream to a specific number of listeners.
- The client - in this case the Second Life viewer where your fellow avatars listen to your performance.
You will need a way to upload your stream to the server. A simple and free way is to use the Shoutcast plug-in in the Winamp application. To make the connection you will need three pieces of information: the IP address of the server, the login, and the password. You can rent a stream from several places in Second Life and many venue owners have and will allow you to use theirs. This info is distributed usually in the form of a notecard. You want to be careful never to say this information in open chat giving anyone access to the login. It's very frustrating to be attempting to start a show to find someone is using your stream.
The streaming server has a couple of components you should be aware of. One is the number of "seats." This is the maximum number of people that can be listening at one time. It can be any number from 5 to 100. The important thing to remember is the number of seats of the server should equal or exceed the number of agents ("avatars") that can be on a parcel/SIM. If your server only serves 50 seats but the venue owner has set the SIM to 100 agents that means you will run out of seats on the server BEFORE you fill the SIM.
The next setting you need to be aware of is the bit rate. Bitrates range from 64kbs to 192kbs. The higher the bit rate the better the sound quality AND the more network latency. So if you stream at the highest quality rate, you can actually be creating lag without making a giant difference in the enjoyment of your show. If you have access to a parcel, it's a good idea to test your settings and see what sounds best.
Setting Up A Stream For Second Life
- There are several ways to stream music into second life. One is a shoutcast server. You as the performer need to set up a broadcasting client . That client connects to a shoutcast server. Either you set up your own server  or you find and rent an existing server. Several event locations in Second Live have their own shoutcast server, so you only need a client to send out your voice.
How it works:
- Your streaming client sends the data to the server.
- The Listeners' Second Life clients grab the server's URL from the parcel's media settings and tune in.