The first question many new artists ask themselves is “how do I get my music on iTunes?” – the largest online music retailer in the world. However, the music industry is always changing, and there are new ways to distribute music, some of which don’t involve iTunes. Meerkat, a new live-streaming app, has countless uses – many of which could benefit musicians. While it was released to widespread praise, it has experienced some problems in the last few months. Will it become a dominant platform in social media, or is it just a fad? Keep reading to find out.
What is Meerkat?
Meerkat is an app that was unveiled in March at the South by Southwest Festival, and it was immediately hailed in the tech industry as ‘the next big thing’ – it began climbing the rankings in the iTunes store and generated a huge amount of buzz in the media. The app works by linking to a user’s Twitter account, and allowing them to send a live stream of video to their followers. The followers receive a notification that you are streaming a live video, and can choose to tune in. The uses of the app are infinite – you could stream a sports game, a speech, a party, or even a concert.
How It’s Done So Far
When it was released, many believed it had the potential to revolutionize social media. Time Magazine claimed people would “drop everything” to watch a live broadcast, and news outlets thought it would change the coverage of political rallies, sports events, and other current events. However, Meerkat hasn’t been quite the world-altering super-app people thought it would be. It currently has a reported ‘reach’ of 0.1% (Tech Crunch), meaning .1% of all iPhone users also use the Meerkat app. It has had a few successes, such as a behind-the-scenes stream of Saturday Night Live, and an MSNBC correspondent using it to stream a conference in the White House briefing room.
Despite its highly anticipated boom in the market, Meerkat has also experienced some problems. When you open the app, you are mostly shown videos of people going about their daily lives – which is, for the most part, boring. In an embarassing failure, Madonna announced she was releasing her new music video through the app, but it crashed and many people were unable to view it. Then Twitter unveiled its own live-streaming app, Periscope, which is proving to be a huge obstacle for Meerkat.
Periscope is also a live-streaming app, and has most of the features that Meerkat has (and a few that it doesn’t). Its major advantage is that it is owned by Twitter, who were unwittingly still developing Periscope when Meerkat was released. Periscope currently has higher iTunes app store sales, and it is backed by Twitter’s resources and funds. Twitter has also reportedly been pressuring celebrities and publishers to use Periscope, rather than Meerkat. Periscope has been dominating in the news, and was the more popular platform for streaming the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.
Live-stream Uses For Musicians
Whether or not Meerkat wins over Periscope, both of these apps are on the rise, and live-streaming is poised to become a new trend in social media. It currently isn’t as popular as platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter itself, but musicians can still use it in a variety of ways. Meerkat recently offered a live-stream of the Florida Georgia Line performance at the CMTs, and Katy Perry has praised Periscope and used it to film one of her interviews.
Indie musicians can use live-streaming apps to share the touring experience with the fans, offer behind-the-scenes looks into tour buses and concerts, do interviews, surprise performances, live chats and q&a sessions, and show fans where they are and what they are doing.
The indie music industry is constantly changing. To keep up with indie news, trends, and advice about a career in indie music, check out SongCast’s blog.