Astrin Few's Guide to Second Life Music

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Ever wanted to get into the live music scene as a musician? Here are some words of wisdom from Astrin Few, one of Second Life's accomplished live performers:

On the technical side, there are several layers. First is good audio. Nothing to do with SL or the Internet (well, nothing about audio streaming really has much to do with SL). I recommend an external USB or Firewire mixer, like the Alesis Multimix 8USB, 12USB, however many channels you need. The reason for an externalUSB/Firewire mixer: Windows sound card drivers can be hard to work with. If you move your audio to an external mixer, your life becomes very simple, since you bypass a sound card and all its quirky driver behavior. But in any case, good audio quality into your computer is paramount; if you don't have clean sound with good levels, you won't sound good. Since every sound card driver and audio setup is different, it's very hard to provide general tips on getting audio into your computer.

Secondly, you need a stream client. The Winamp DSP plugin is ok, I've been using the Oddcast v3 client, which also requires that you install the LAME MPEG encoder, which is an extra step which may throw a few people off. But the Oddcast v3 client supports both shoutcast and icecast servers, and seems a bit more stable than the Winamp DSP plugin. I can't say anything about streaming on a Mac, as I haven't done it. In the stream client you'll select your audio source, which in my case is "USB Audio".

Thirdly, you need a server to connect your client to. This is a host, port and password that you enter into your stream client. Since most of the venues in Second Life now provide stream servers, this is no longer an issue for live performance. In the good ol' days, we all provided our own streams. I still provide my own stream, but that's just my choice.

After that, it's just hooking up with venue owners and managers and getting gigs. A perusal of the Live Music event listings is a good way to see which clubs are active.