Can Streaming Pay? Musicians Are Pinning Fresh Hopes on Twitch.

BEING A SUCCESSFUL music livestreamer, however, is hard work.

Travis and Allie of Aeseaes (pronounced “A.C.S.,” an abbreviation of their channel name: a_couple_streams) quit their office jobs five years ago to focus on Twitch. Unlike many who use it for behind-the-scenes glimpses of their creative process, Travis and Allie put on the equivalent of an intimate stage show, with mood lighting and a dedicated camera on one of their snuggling cats; the only chatter is their effusive thank yous to contributors.

Aeseaes gets more than 5,000 viewers for each broadcast, with close to 1,000 tuning in at any given moment, and their channel has maintained well over 1,000 paying subscribers each month for the last two years, according to a data report the couple shared with The New York Times. That success allows Travis and Allie to devote themselves full-time to making music at home.

But to keep their business going, and to maintain engagement, they must churn out content regularly, going online three times a week for about three hours at a time. “Since the beginning, we’ve known that streaming on Twitch is kind of an endurance run,” Allie said.

Page compares running a Twitch account to operating a taxi: It only makes money if the meter is running. And long rides are the most lucrative.

The vastness of Twitch’s audience means that streamers must seize every opportunity for broader reach. This month, Danielle Allard, a 31-year-old a musician and professor in Ottawa, Ontario, who began experimenting with livestreaming a year ago, learned that a planned 6 a.m. set would be featured on Twitch’s home page — the equivalent of prime-time TV promotion.

Allard awoke at 4, got her equipment ready, brewed some tea and went online — for nearly seven hours, playing originals, Cranberries and Chris Isaak covers, and some wailing kazoo solos. By the end, she was tearful and seemed nearly delirious with joy. Her stream, which usually gets a few hundred watchers at a time, brought in 408 new subscribers and 1,659 followers, sending her over the 10,000 mark. (Top gaming accounts have well over five million followers.)


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