You could say that the DJ profession has been hit the most by the ongoing pandemic not only in an economic sense but also emotionally. Just like that, no more parties, clubs, or simply put, no place to perform in front of a live audience!
As the world is facing a new reality, DJs have started to stream their DJ sets on various platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube, but also on Twitch, which prior to the pandemic was mostly used by gamers to stream their gameplay.
DJs primarily choose Twitch to stream their content mostly due to the fact that it’s free.
In the past, Twitch was also the obvious choice for DJs because of the absence of an algorithm that tracks copyright infringement on the platform, which made it easy for DJs to stream without having to worry that their stream would be subject to copyright takedowns.
However, as of late, Twitch has introduced some copyright changes which prevent streamers to use copyright labeled music. The act is not aimed towards streamers, company representatives said, but rather towards platforms streaming pirated content.
With that being said, I now suggest we get straight to the point and explain how to successfully stream a DJ Set on Twitch step by step. We’ll start with the equipment you need, and then proceed with details on how to set up your account on Twitch and actually create a live stream.
What You Need To Start Streaming
Here are the things you need to successfully stream a DJ set on Twitch:
- Computer (laptop)
- DJ Setup (classic or digital)
- Twitch account
- Streaming software
This is the most basic approach. In the real world, DJ streaming has some additional pieces of gear that make everything above better and with higher quality. For example, could you imagine what your set would look like if you’re using your laptop webcam? Not the DJ set of my dreams.
Ideally, you should have:
- two laptops,
- a mixer with turntables or a controller
- a microphone
- an audio interface or an external soundcard
- a capture card
- another device such as a phone or an iPad
You don’t have to use everything mentioned above, but I would encourage you to do so if you have the possibility, because it’s super easy!
How To Stream DJ Sets The Best Way
After reading this section, you will be able to set up a quality set. You can decide whether you will exclude some elements or not later. At the end of the day, you can always use the basic approach.
A more usual approach includes the basics from above but combined with the other recommendations. Let’s see what’s important to know when you’re setting up for live streaming.
Using Two Computers
I would recommend that you use two computers – one for streaming and one for actually DJing. This is very useful, especially if you don’t have the best computer in the world. Streaming and mixing can be a lot for just one computer.
Also, make sure you have a stable internet connection and solid upload speed that will support your streaming.
USB Audio Interface
A USB audio interface is practically a device that you must have if you want a quality live stream. An audio interface will help you improve the sound quality and take care of any background noises that could ruin your Twitch DJ set.
The hardware takes the audio source from your mixer (or controller) and converts the sound from analog to digital before reaching your computer.
You will be able to hook up other external devices if you wish. You could use the microphone input, connect a pair of speakers, or even a random instrument if you get inspired in the middle of your set.
Another way to secure consistent and high audio quality is to use an external sound card, which basically does the same work as an audio interface. It’s up to you!
Camera Streaming (Using a Video Capture Device)
As mentioned, you can always use your built-in laptop webcam, but that’s not ideal. If you are in the position to purchase some better, cooler camera with better features – do it. DJ streams are all about the music, however, your audience will want to enjoy some good video content, as well.
Ideally, you would have two cameras, where one would film your DJ setup and the other one would be placed further away filming your charming self.
When you’re streaming your video content online, you also need a tiny little device called a capture card. This one will take the video source, which obviously comes from your camera, and transmit it to your streaming laptop.
Setting Up Your Stage
This is a matter of finesse, but I wanted to give you all the little details that can make your live streaming better than others. If you want your surroundings to look really cool, make sure you have the right lighting.
For this, you will need to set up some lights, usually facing you. If you want to take things further, you can color correct yourself and the whole stage by using some of the features offered by some types of streaming software, like OBS, which we’ll discuss below.
But, whatever you do, please make sure that your visual is clean. Don’t let a dirty sock end up next to your mixer for everyone to see. People want to see that you’ve tried to do the best you could!
Using a Smartphone or an iPad
Once your live video is up, the audience will start rolling in to hear your music, right? Sometimes, if not all the time, you want to interact with your audience so you will want to reply to their comments and messages. This is where tiny pocket devices come in handy.
It’s always good to have a prepared smartphone, iPad, or any other divide that you can easily manipulate without losing too much time. Consider getting a tripod or some sort of a stand so you can have your device in line with your eyes so that you keep track of what’s going on all the time.
Set Up a Twitch Account
Setting up a Twitch account is free and easy. All you have to do is visit their official website where you will go to the sign-up section and create your account. If you don’t want to fill in all the gaps, you can always choose to sign-up via Facebook, which will save you time.
I would advise you to use your DJ name when creating an account so you don’t have to go through any trouble changing that later. You probably want your DJ name to show up while you’re streaming.
After you’ve created your Twitch account, you need the most important asset – the stream key! This key is unique, so don’t share this information with anyone because it’s the only way to keep your streaming space safe and accessible only by you.
The stream key can be found in your Dashboard, which you can access by clicking on your username, going to Settings, and finally clicking on the link that says “stream key“. There, you will choose the option “show key” and by answering “I understand” to the question that follows, you will get the key.
I have my stream key typed down in my notes, so I can copy it every time I need it.
Get a Streaming Software (OBS)
To have your stream go live, you need streaming software. Most people, including me, use the well-known OBS Studio, which is free. You can easily install it on your computer, and you’ll be one step closer to having your live stream launched!
Of course, you don’t have to use OBS studio, you can use whatever you like. I chose it because it’s free and I’m used to it.
Run The OBS Setup Wizard
The first thing you want to do is run the setup wizard OBS offers. It should pop right away if this is your first time launching the software. If not, go to ‘tools’ and select the Auto-Configuration Wizard.
The wizard will run a test that will tell you how much your system can take regarding internet speed (especially upload), and features. It will search for the optimal settings automatically, giving you the best possible performance your computer can deliver.
Once you’ve run the installation for OBS Studio, the program should open automatically. You will see a big blank area in front of you which will be your working space. This so-called canvas is where you will add media content such as images, music, browser sources, cameras, and so on.
You can add as much content as you like by simply dragging it to the canvas or using the ‘add source’ method, which I would recommend that you do for the first time, in order to get a better insight into OBS. By clicking on the ‘plus button’ under sources, you will be able to browse through your computer and look for all kinds of media sources.
The first thing you want to do for live streaming is to add the video source, which will be your camera. Simply add a source and look for your capture device on your computer, since that’s where your camera is plugged into. After selecting it, you should automatically see your video running.
After that, go and add your audio source, which basically means to add your mixer or whatever software you’re using.
To make sure that you’ve added the audio sources correctly, check out the volume meters in the mixer section below. If they’re moving, you’re fine.
Make sure you watch this tutorial which helped me a lot when I’d just started streaming with OBS.
Right below your canvas, in the left corner, you will see the scenes window. Here, you can create multiple scenes, which represent the background you will choose for the audience to see. A scene can be your webcam, an image, or any other file you can think of.
For example, you can select an image and import it into OBS, making it a scene. If you need to take a break to run to the bathroom and you don’t want your crowd to watch an empty set, you can simply turn on another scene and take it down once you’re back.
Consider a Stream Deck
When it comes to all the scenes, there is a way to make switching quite a lot easier by using a stream deck. A stream deck is a hardware that has little buttons that you can program into doing anything you want.
For example, you can have a button that allows you to go live without even going to your PC. Moreover, you can have a separate button for all your scenes, videos, and other media. Stream decks are quite small, so you can set yours up next to your mixer without anyone noticing it’s there. These things cost around $100.
There Is Also an App
However, if you don’t want to have any more hardware, you can consider one of the dozen apps that basically do the same thing as the hardware. Some are free and some charge monthly fees, but most offer at least a free trial period.
The Final Touch
Once you’ve set all the settings, you might wanna run a few tests to see if everything’s ready for streaming. You can do this in a few simple steps.
Check If Everything Is Connected Well
You always have to double-check if everything is hooked up properly. Believe me, these things happen! You think everything’s fine and then your viewers start typing, telling you there is no sound or image. Next thing you know you realize that you didn’t plug in your cables or cameras.
Follow these steps to make sure everything is in the right place.
- See if you have all the DJ gear in front of you. This might seem redundant, but it never hurts to mention.
- Make sure the speakers are connected to your mixer (check RCA output).
- Check if cameras are connected to the capture device and plugged into your PC.
- Plug in all hardware you plan on using in your stream: microphone, guitar (?!).
- Test the mic and speakers’ audio quality.
Even though you’ve checked the cables, media source, USB inputs, you still need to make sure everything’s working properly. Try to move away from your gear, go to another room, and try listening to your stream. This way you will get insight into the user experience.
If you notice that the audio quality is somewhat poor, try and fix it. Otherwise, you will have people leaving your stream and visiting other DJs.
Set Up The Streaming Software (OBS)
Once you have your equipment hooked up properly, your Twitch account is active and you have your key for streaming, all that’s left is to go to your streaming software and get the party started!
Let’s see what you need to adjust in order for you to stream DJ sets as smoothly as possible.
Set Your Streaming Option
- In OBS, go to the settings sidebar and select ‘Stream’ which you will find right below the general settings.
- Once you are there, go to ‘Service’, and on the dropdown menu select Twitch. You will also see the stream key gap, so that’s where you will enter it.
Select Output Settings
- Below ‘Stream’, you can see the ‘Output’ panel, click on it.
- Output mode will be automatically set at ‘simple’, leave it that way.
- Set the ‘video bitrate‘, which represents the quality of the video stream. For example, if you’re streaming at 1080p and 60 fps, a bitrate of some 9000 will do. For streams with lower video quality, you can do a bitrate of 2500 or 3000.
- Next, is the encoder, which determines which part of your PC will be making the stream, i.e. software or hardware? You will notice that the default is set at Software x264, which means that the stream is made by your CPU. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have a somewhat better CPU such as an i7.
- After we’ve set the bitrate and encoder, it’s time to set our ‘audio bitrate’. You can set it as high as 256 kbps, depending on your computer, but I wouldn’t recommend that you go below 128 kbps.
- Now you have the audio panel coming next, where you don’t have much work to do. OBS allows you to select multiple audio outputs at once, which is not a good idea as it will draw a lot of power. So, make sure you go under ‘Mic/Auxiliary audio device‘, select your audio interface, and do not select ‘desktop audio’ because it will send sounds such as message alerts or clicking sounds to the stream.
- After you’ve done all that, we get to the video panel, which is quite simple, actually. However, it’s very important, as this is where you will set your base resolution, output resolution, downscale filter, and frames per second (FPS). Your base (canvas) resolution shows the resolution of the video that is on your PC, while the output resolution shows the video quality that will go to your stream. Setting both settings the same is good for your CPU life.
Test Your Live Stream
If you’ve followed all the steps carefully, you should now have a completely functional set running on Twitch. Before you invite people to check it, make sure you test it yourself first. Let it run for some 20 minutes; if it doesn’t crash, it’s doing well!
If you don’t want to test it manually, you can use the Twitch Inspector, which will analyze the quality of your stream and troubleshoot any issues, if present.
Once you see that everything’s running smooth, that means you’re actively live streaming your set and you can start inviting people to listen. Relax, get busy mixing, and have a good time!
Tips On How To Be a Good Streamer
Streaming might seem easy after reading all the steps you’ll need to take. However, not all DJ sets on Twitch are cool and fun to watch or listen to. To make sure that your stream will entertain the viewers, make sure to practice some of these tips.
Interact With the Audience
I know you will be busy selecting and mixing tracks, but make sure you don’t totally neglect the people that have “come” to see you. Nobody likes when a streamer does that. Instead, take some time after you play a new track to answer the messages and have a little chat with the viewers.
Numbers Don’t Matter
A lot of people get disappointed when their stream is not as visited. Try not to compare yourself with popular DJs who have 2,000 viewers on their streams. Of course, you want to have a larger viewer base, but even if you have four people on your stream, remember, they’re there for you!
I always say that one person on Twitch is like 10 people at the club. If you got 40 people, well, now that’s a party!
Don’t Be Shy To Do Promotions
Everything in life needs a little push. If you are serious about being a DJ and streaming your content, take a step forward and tell people that. Use Facebook, Instagram, or any other platform you can think of to promote your live streaming event.
You can apply different strategies online to attract viewers. You could create a promotional video, send newsletters, create an event on Facebook and invite your friends. There is no harm in advertising, as long as you don’t have a problem with it!
Streaming DJ Sets On Twitch: Conclusion
Live streaming DJ sets is the only way to go live in front of an actual audience these days. You can have your DJ sets streamed on all the platforms you know, but I recommend that you do it on Twitch. Let’s go over what we’ve said briefly to check if everything is clear.
Twitch is a good option for DJs to stream their sets because the platform is free. You will need the right equipment and to invest some time in staging so you could have a high-quality live streaming session.
After that, all that’s left is for you to set up a Twitch account and download OBS Studio, where your stream will take place. Brainstorm what’s the best way to promote your stream, get creative, and you will have a great stream that’s only going to become more and more popular.
Streaming DJ Sets On Twitch: FAQ
How Do You Earn Money on Twitch?
There are several ways of making money on Twitch. The first one is advertising, which means that you could be running ads on your live streaming. Twitch is owned by Amazon, so those ads that you will run will lead to Amazon purchases.
You could decide how many ads you will allow running during your show, and the earnings will depend on how much your followers click and buy using those ads.
Some other ways of making money entail selling merchandise, but also getting tips from your viewers in the form of donations.
How Much Money Can I Make on Twitch?
In order to start making money by live streaming on Twitch, you have to be an “Affiliate” or a “Partner”. You will have the possibility to claim this status once you reach 50 followers. With this number of followers, I guess you could reach some $150 per month.
Users with firmly established accounts on the site make somewhere between $3000 and $5000 every month.
What Internet Speed Do I Need for Twitch Streaming?
If your Internet is bad, don’t even try streaming – it’s a killjoy. You need at least 3 Mbps of upload speed to have a standard definition streaming session, and that’s just the beginning. If you want to stream in higher quality (e.g. HD), you’ll need at least 5 Mbps.
At the same time, if you want to stream high definition material, such as HDR or 4K, don’t bother if you don’t have at least 25 Mbps of upload speed.
Always check your internet speed before streaming.
Can I Record My DJ Mix in OBS?
Yes, you can. The feature is launched once you hit the recording button, and you can find your results by going to ‘File’ and then ‘Show recordings’. You could also change the folder where your recordings are saved.
Can I Stream on Twitch Without OBS?
Can You Post Recorded Videos on Twitch?
In theory, yes. However, you will need to have an Affiliate or Partner status on Twitch in order to upload your recorded videos. In order to become a Partner or Affiliate, you need to have:
- streamed media for 25 hours in the past 30 days;
- reached 75 average viewers in the last 30 days;
- streamed for 12 different (unique) days in the last 30 days.
If you fulfill the above criteria and have the necessary status, upload your videos through the “Video Producer” menu.