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Dec. 11, 2021

The Livestream Apps We Recommend

The Livestream Apps We Recommend

We are often asked what is the best livestreaming app? We explore the livestreaming apps that we’ve used over the past 10 years and recommend our favorite one along with what makes it special.

Livestream Apps We Recommend

This presentation was livestreamed on the Messages and Methods YouTube channel by Shelley Carney and Toby Younis on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. You may watch the video here: https://youtu.be/Y9aXkYoALuM

[00:01:07] Shelley: Hello and welcome to Messages and Methods. I’m your host with the most Shelley Carney. 

[00:01:19] Toby: I’m Toby, the technical director and the person who figures out what to do when the guests that you expected to show up, don’t.

[00:01:26] Shelley: Here’s what we teach our clients. If you are doing interviews, have a backup, especially because we’re live now. If you’re recording a podcast, then you know who showed up and you’re putting it out after the fact. But when you’re doing it live, there’s a little anxiety wondering if they are going to show until the last minute. So you always have to have something as backup, right? 

We created a presentation that we can always go to as a backup. We were creating a series and then we got sidetracked on that series because we were having all these interviews. So we said, what’s next in the series? We’ll just slot that in as a backup. We’re going to be using that today.

We’re going to be talking about the live streaming app that we use, and this is number eight in our series. When the series is done, we’ll bring together the blog posts into a book. There’s going to be enough for a book because each blog post ends up being anywhere from 10 to 20 pages, so it should easily turn into a book when we are done. We’ll have it available on our website. If you want to order the paperback, we’ll put that up on Amazon.

[00:03:05] Toby: Amazon Kindle.

[00:03:06] Shelley: Today we’re going to be talking about livestreaming apps.

[00:03:11] Toby: I do want to make a couple of points. It’s not like we don’t go through the trouble of scheduling the folks that volunteer to interview with us. We use an application where they fill out the form. It sends them reminders three days before and one day before. It’s always a bit of a disappointment to us when they don’t show up because we’re always looking forward to these interviews. 

[00:03:58] Shelley: The name of the book that we’re going to put out is Livecast Life. It has all the different sections of how to create and launch your own livestream, your own podcast, and your own blog, and to continue doing them every week at the same time.

With livestreaming, it’s important to have an application that works well for you. One that is user-friendly. It helps you to spread your message around the world on all the different social media sites where you have a presence.

[00:05:29] Toby: That does not mean that you have to have a presence on every social media site. We always recommend YouTube. We always recommend having a page independent of your profile page on Facebook. If you have access to it and you like using it, LinkedIn is another one, especially if you’re trying to do business. There are others like Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and other applications that you can use to spread your message.

The benefit of being on as many social media applications as possible is that you broaden your footprint and search engines, especially Google, like the broadest possible footprint you can make. That leads to the conversation that we’ve had in the past about leveraging your content, taking one piece of content, like a livestream, and transforming it into other types of content. Things like audio, texts, short messages, and audiograms, which is kind of a new thing that’s come along, but it’s cool. You don’t have to be on everything, but you should be on several things at a minimum to establish your presence.

[00:07:05] Shelley: It takes a platform and the top two platforms are YouTube and Facebook. YouTube is not just a platform where you can share your social media posts, it is also a search engine. If somebody is looking for information on a particular topic, for instance, they want to know more about livestreaming apps, they can type that into Google and our video will come up.

Facebook is a very busy place. When you combine it with all the Facebook or “Meta” apps that are involved, such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger, you have the biggest social media conglomerate possible.

[00:07:52] Toby: That’s a good word for it. They just renamed that conglomerate Meta to imply the metaverse is much larger than just Facebook alone. Now there’s good news and bad news about that.

The good news is, it enables you to integrate a lot of activity. If I post something to Instagram, it automatically posts to my Facebook page, or I have a choice of posting it to other Instagram channels that I may have. So there’s good news. The bad news is when it goes bad in terms of misinformation or disinformation, it goes bad really big because they are so large in and of themselves.

[00:08:35] Shelley: We recommend LinkedIn if you have a LinkedIn presence. If you don’t then get started on one, especially if you have your own business. Everybody should be on LinkedIn if they have their own business. Even if you are a member of a partnership or a company, you can have your own presence and then be a part of LinkedIn within your own company.

We have our profiles and on my personal LinkedIn profile, I have over a thousand followers or links. So that gave me the ability to livestream to my LinkedIn profile. Then we also have our business page, but it’s not as big. I’ve been using my LinkedIn profile for years and years. It takes time. It’s built up enough now so I can go live there.

[00:09:30] Toby: You’re going to get comfortable on various platforms. Shelley is very comfortable on LinkedIn. I am not. I haven’t built a presence on LinkedIn as Shelley has, and it’s still cumbersome for me.

My favorite place is YouTube. I know what to do with YouTube. I know how to use it, and I know how to take advantage of it. I do want to point out it’s also the second-largest search engine behind Google. Even if you don’t have a presence on Google, if you don’t have Google My Business, for example, or you haven’t made yourself very active on blogs and things like that. If you have a YouTube channel, it’s going to start appearing simply because it is the second largest search engine. When you search on Google, one thing it does automatically is it searches on YouTube and it presents those results on the first page of your Google search.

When it comes to video presence or livestreaming presence, you expect YouTube and Facebook. Now we can expect LinkedIn. Vimeo is relatively new. It was a video upload-only platform but recently announced that it was allowing live streaming. I have a Vimeo channel, but I haven’t used it in a long time. It may still be necessary to pay for your Vimeo channel depending on your size and how active you want it to be.

Twitch, of course, is mostly for gaming. Twitch got very good at livestreaming because it was livestreaming gaming, and that’s a very broadband kind of effort. But it’s very much targeted at millennial/gen X. It’s a younger crowd.

Amazon just recently announced livestreaming. They’re focused on livestreams that do product demos because that helps them make money. Pinterest is another one I’m not at all familiar with it. Do you even have a Pinterest page?

[00:11:45] Shelley: Yes. I don’t use it much anymore, but they are adding new things now. They’ve just started doing a livestreaming component on Pinterest and Pinterest is also a search engine and a place where you can do transactions. You can sell things on Pinterest.

[00:12:18] Toby: Twitter allows short video uploads, and they acquired Periscope that was livestream only and tended to be in the vertical format. It was oriented towards smartphone users in terms of livestreaming.

Twitter acquired them. We expected they were going to merge the two so that you could have livestreaming to Twitter. That’s never actually coalesced. We believe eventually Twitter will do what everybody else is doing and open up livestreaming.

Instagram allows for livestreaming. There are no minimum subscriber numbers. We have a friend that does a lot of livestreaming on Instagram. I think she only has about 400 subscribers. So there’s not that thousand subscribers minimum, but it’s not easy. You have to use a specialized product if you’re on a desktop platform. If you use the Instagram smartphone version for livestreaming, you pay the price in terms of quality and no green screens.

Then TikTok allows for live streaming. Again, no fancy backgrounds and it’s oriented towards the smartphone vertical style. It is easy to get onto, but you have to have a minimum of 1000 subscribers to livestream on TikTok.

[00:13:59] Shelley: There are livestream hosting platforms for larger companies who are using this type of hosting platform. They are a high-dollar product.

[00:14:14] Toby: When it comes to a hosting platform, what you have to remember is that you may be using a product already that will rely on all the video that’s associated with your Twitter account to be backgrounded by a hosting platform. Amazon has one of these. If you were a company that wanted to establish a broadcast channel based on politics or news or things like that, you would go to these hosting platforms and they would host your news channel so that you could support lots of users, not only with your programming but the programming of other users.

It tends to run into bigger dollars. You’re not talking about a free YouTube account or a $10 a month Vimeo account. You’re talking about tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands for a monthly subscription.

[00:15:15] Shelley: So there’s Dacast, Brightcove. IBM Cloud Video, Kaltura, Vidyard, Wowza, JW player, Daily Motion, Livestream, Sprout Video, Panopto, Vimeo, Cloud Flare Stream. MUVI and LiveSwitch Cloud.

[00:15:48] Toby: Again, it’s a different branch, but you need to know that these platforms do exist in case you want to do something that goes beyond just livestreaming to your YouTube channel.

[00:15:58] Shelley: With streaming options, let’s start with desktop because that’s what we recommend to our clients. That’s what we use and we love it. We used to use OBS open broadcaster software. It is a free product that you can learn to use. It is not as user-friendly as some of the other ones but it is free. There’s that trade-off. If you want to spend the time to learn it, then you can learn it, you can use it and it’s free.  

[00:16:32] Toby: There is a learning curve. It does give you a lot of flexibility, but you have to know how to use it. You have to know how to build each of your programs on it. There is a layering mechanism that they provide for you. In addition to that, you need to understand the RSS feed that is activated by your livestream. There’s this backend that you need to understand. Do you know the difference between a source and a key, and those kinds of things? It’s a good place to start if you don’t want to make a monthly investment in one of the platforms that we’re going to be talking about.

[00:17:16] Shelley: If you are interested in learning more about OBS there are lots of YouTube videos out there that can teach it to you. We also have a course called Livestream Like a Boss on Udemy https://www.udemy.com/course/live-stream-like-a-boss/ where we show how we do all the work that we do using OBS so that you can understand how to go through that process.

[00:17:38] Toby: The other feature that’s cool about OBS is something called virtual cam. If you want a screen with overlays and banners and you were going onto a zoom call, you could open up OBS add all your features, overlays, banners, and things like that.

Then you could use OBS virtual cam and Zoom now understands virtual cam. So do many of the other video conferencing platforms. You can have a very cool window on your normally very plain Zoom camera. So that’s a cool feature of OBS.

Streamlabs is a Twitch kind of adaptation. The users of OBS that are on Twitch wanted something more capable. Streamlabs developed a version of OBS that’s more functional. It has additional functionality.

[00:18:59] Shelley: They offer templates and GIFs and things that go along with Twitch when you want to ask for donations.

[00:19:08] Toby: Wirecast was the first one in the desktop application livestreaming genre and when it came out. Because it was the first one, it was very expensive. At one point it was a $1,299 product back in the early 2010s.

Now it’s around a $799 product. The people that use this have full studios and livestream for the studio and probably to a broadcast wide channel. So it’s very expensive but very capable and has a very steep learning curve.

Vmix and XSplit are much like OBS and Streamlabs, there is a smaller charge. They are not open source so you’re dealing with a software product vendor.

[00:20:06] Shelley: The reason we call these desktop apps is that you download the software onto your computer and you use it locally rather than using a cloud-based app.

[00:20:18] Toby: You load this to your desktop and you’re doing the work necessary to understand how it works because there are no training classes other than you learning on YouTube. But you also have to learn about what happens behind the desktop app to livestream. You need to understand RSS feeds and things like that.

[00:20:45] Shelley: Next we have the cloud-based platforms for livestreaming. At the top of the list, we have Streamyard because that’s the one we’re using now. It’s also the one that we recommend to our clients. We have used Restream in the past and it is a good product. But if you’re going to pay that much for Restream, we suggest you just do Streamyard instead.

Restream will offer a few other platforms that Streamyard does not, but as long as you have the RTMP code, you can use Streamyard. We’ve used Zoom in the past, but it’s going to put that Zoom logo on your screen if you want to use it for livestreaming. I’ve seen a lot of people in the past use BeLive, but most people I’ve seen have migrated towards Streamyard at this point.

[00:21:36] Toby: There are free versions of all of these platforms available to you. We have what’s called the Pro Plus version, and the Plus means that we can assign different types of team members. Shelley and I are both admins. Some of our clients are hosts.

Restream we used for a while, but when Streamyard came along, we felt that Restream wasn’t advancing as quickly.

[00:22:14] Shelley: They didn’t offer us the green screen background capability. Streamyard keeps adding more and more things.

[00:22:25] Toby: One example is that if we want to switch brands in the middle of a program, we can do that in Streamyard. Restream didn’t give us that. You had to have a separate account for a different brand. We can have an unlimited number of brands, so we use it for our clients. We’ve got 9 different brands.

[00:22:51] Shelley: As we add clients, we add in their brand materials so that they can go through our Streamyard and we do all the production for them.

[00:23:04] Toby: If you’re planning on turning your streaming activities into a business producing livestreams for other people Streamyard does that better than anyone else we’ve found yet.

We have tested Melon. ShoFlo is very expensive and was designed to be for the producer and director, somebody that has clients that want to live stream, but they priced it beyond the normal pricing model.

Zoom gives you that video conferencing ability, and it has livestreaming features. You don’t have to use the Zoom logo if you pay for one of their accounts. BeLive and evMux are both new.

[00:23:49] Shelley: BeLive has been around for a couple of years. Evmux is new. New Blue has come out with something that you can purchase, right?

[00:23:58] Toby: New Blue is a software development company, but I haven’t followed up on that. We’ll have to take a look at that. EvMux looks like it had some nice features and it came to us and gave us a free 30-day trial account.

It seems to me, they were very much targeted to the person producing for their clients.

[00:24:23] Shelley: EV is short for Event and UX for user experience. They are leaning towards people who are going to be doing events, summits, panels, or that sort of thing.

[00:24:37] Toby: The bottom line for us is we’ve pretty much committed to Streamyard for a variety of reasons, including it’s the most capable, easiest to use, and they’re constantly improving it.

[00:24:54] Shelley: Streamyard’s priority is to be free of glitches, and to be user friendly. You can sign onto Streamyard and get started pushing buttons and checking things out. It’s a very simple product.

[00:25:13] Toby: One of the features is to make team members and now with our clients, we make them hosts. That way they can control their slide presentation, and framing layout. It makes them feel like they’re more in control. and client.

[00:25:43] Shelley: Here are our recommendations. First, answer the why question. What is the why question?

[00:25:51] Toby: Why am I doing this? Why do I want to livestream? Why do I want a podcast? What’s in it for me if not for everybody else? You have to ask that because it’s going to take time and money in terms of your effort and investment to livestream or podcast. No one should do this serendipitously. You should do it in the context of what do I get out of it and why am I doing it?

The why for us is that we use livestreaming as a way to build our business. Our target market is people like us, encore entrepreneurs who want to start spreading the word of whatever business they’re building. We’re helping them to use livestreaming and podcasting as a way to do that.

Once they start, even if we are producing it for them, they get excited and happy about it. They look forward to that weekly livestream that they’re going to do. Even better, people start reaching out to them and saying, I saw your livestream. Or, I’m sorry I missed the livestream, but I saw the recording. I’ll be on your next livestream. That makes you feel that you’re reaching out and getting a response. 

Every book that we’ve ever seen on podcasting or livestreaming always starts with answering your why question. Why am I doing this? Because it’s going to cost time, money, and effort, so you want to be able to justify that.

[00:27:32] Shelley: Next you’ll want to set up your studio. We have videos on that how to do that, and you can visit our Amazon Storefront and check out the home studio kit. That’s a great place to find out what equipment we recommend for your home studio.

[00:28:01] Shelley: Then figure out to which platforms you can stream. For instance, you want to make sure you have a Facebook profile and business page set up if that’s a place where you want to stream. You want to have your YouTube channel set up. You want to have a LinkedIn profile and apply for that livestreaming allowance and be able to do your livestream there and anywhere that you want to stream. You need to make sure that you set up your social accounts.

[00:28:26] Toby: Start with Facebook and YouTube. They’re the easiest to get started with their livestreaming platforms and they are the largest and busiest sites.

I do want to remind you that YouTube requires 24 hours to process your request to livestream. So don’t set up your YouTube channel and expect to go live right away. It requires a 24-hour minimum before you can livestream. But in terms of Facebook and YouTube, there are no additional requirements. You don’t have to have a thousand subscribers. You don’t have to have a thousand friends on Facebook. You can start livestreaming today on Facebook and tomorrow on YouTube.

[00:29:07] Shelley: Just don’t be late because if you schedule something on Facebook and you’re more than 10 minutes late starting, then it won’t accept your livestream.

[00:29:17] Toby: Each of them has their idiosyncrasies, but the cool thing about livestream is as you’re building your expected broadcast when you schedule in advance Streamyard tells you Facebook doesn’t allow you to schedule something within the next hour.

[00:29:32] Shelley: The thing we like about Streamyard is it keeps telling you these things and it updates. When the app you’re streaming to has some sort of update or an idiosyncrasy, Streamyard will warn you about that.

[00:29:42] Toby: We have a very good presentation on Streamyard in one of our videos, What’s the Best App For Live Streaming? https://youtu.be/3LW4aqzP-i8 take a look at it because we share our screen with you. We explain all the features that we have available to us.

One of the nice features of Streamyard is you can stream to eight platforms simultaneously and all you have to do is click on a button. You don’t have to know the RSS feeds or the RTMP feeds. It’ll stream to them automatically. We’re hoping that one of the features they add in the future is that they allow us to stream to an audio platform like Spotify. We can save ourselves the trouble of uploading the audio after the show.

Spotify as a podcasting platform now allows you to upload a video along with the audio. So if you go to our Spotify account, you will see that you have a choice of listening to the audio or watching the video.

[00:30:41] Shelley: Other places like Libsyn do that as well. So the question is, are you a tech geek? If so, then install and learn one of the desktop apps like OBS because it’s free to get started. Then you can learn all the functionality that way.

[00:30:58] Toby: One of the issues that we see people deal with is realizing that for example, your laptop eventually will not be enough. You’re going to have to add a second monitor. You’re going to have to understand how your computer, in this case, a laptop, deals with audio input and audio output, as well as video input and video output. There’s only one way to learn them and that’s to do it.

If you become one of our clients, we walk you through that. We make recommendations for you. I remember Shelley giving a list to one of our clients saying if this is what you have, this is what we recommend. If she had done that right away she would have saved herself a lot of time and frustration. As it was, every time we talked with her we’d have to tell her if you want to do that you’ll have to add or change this other thing.

The advantage of hiring us to help you do this is we’ve been through it all. We’ve made every possible mistake that you can make, including inviting guests that don’t show up. So if you’re a computer geek and an audio-video geek, use one of the desktop apps. It is in some cases the most rewarding because you’re going through a learning curve and you’re going to make a bunch of mistakes. But once you make those mistakes and troubleshoot your way through them, you’re going to learn a lot more about livestreaming.

[00:32:48] Shelley: But if you’re not, and you just want something simple to learn that is user-friendly choose a cloud-based platform. We recommend Streamyard.

Next, build out your digital assets package so that you have on-screen branding. As you can see, we have our banner background, logo, and crawl across the bottom. These are all the assets that you will want for your livestream. You’re also going to build an intro and an outro with music.

That’s something that we work with our clients to build together so that when they do their show, they have all of these assets in place. The colors are there so that they match the colors of our logo and style.

[00:33:32] Toby: We handle that for you, but we’ll also show you how to do it in case you want to do it for another channel.

[00:33:47] Shelley: In summary, here’s why we use Streamyard. It’s quick and easy to learn and use. It features assets categorized by brand so you can have as many brands in there as you choose.

It records video and audio together and separately. So if you’re uploading to a podcast you can just use the audio if you want. Or if for any reason you want separate audio, you can do that.

[00:34:12] Toby: It also gives you the option of recording audio separately if you have a guest or multiple guests. You can have up to 10 guests on one program. It records each of their audio files separately, so if you go into editing and somebody’s talking over someone else, you can edit that out. It’s very convenient. We don’t have a lot of problems with that because we rarely have more than one guest at a time. If you’re doing a panel, it’s helpful. We do have a panel coming up at the beginning of January. We’re going to do a panel and we can have an audio track for each subject different from the original audio track.

[00:34:56] Shelley: We find that Streamyard offers the most glitch-free final video product available. You can stream to up to eight popular destinations, including Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitch. You can provide an RTMP if you have that as well. On Facebook, it gives you the option of going to your profile page, your business page, and your groups. You can go to all of those at once if you’d like.

[00:35:28] Toby: So we’re going to four Facebook destinations. We’re going to Shelley’s profile, the Messages and Methods Page, the AGK Media Page, and the Leveraging Your Content Group.

[00:35:37] Shelley: It enables a producer-director model.

[00:35:41] Toby: We have clients that are building out their capability for Streamyard. We walk them through building their studio. One of our clients has just her desktop with some lighting. We have another client that was interested in doing what we did and building out one of their spare bedrooms. We went to visit him and helped him set up his studio and it’s worked very successfully for him. There are very specific things that he wants to implement in a very specific way so we were able to visit with him and make recommendations. Over the length of our relationship with him, he’s had to make some changes. He needed a new laptop. He was using a DSLR camera, which we do not recommend. He started noticing the equipment he was using was more difficult and didn’t produce the results that he wanted. I told him, get away from the DSLR and go to a webcam. It took him a couple of weeks to get past that one. When he finally installed it, he wondered why didn’t I do that before?

Because Streamyard enables that producer-director model, he can start his program. We’re not on the screen, you can’t hear us, but he can. He can do his show like it’s all his because he can control it. His show is presentation-oriented. He controls all his slides and we’re in the background, making sure that it’s streaming to the four platforms that he wants it to go to.

Streamyard gives you the ability to build a business around producing livestreams for clients or other people.

[00:37:39] Shelley: It offers team members to help direct and produce streams. We streamed a game night three or four weeks ago. I was at home and I was able to add comments to the screen. I was able to change the framing. I was able to produce the show from home because I am one of the admins on the product. I’m a team member.

If you’re doing a podcast with a partner and you’re in different places and you want to do the livestream podcast together as a team, you can each share screens. You can each put up different things on the screen when it’s time. If you notice that the other person has left an overlay on too long, you can take it down and put something else up. It’s one of the newer features that Streamyard has added.

[00:38:42] Toby: In addition to the virtual background options, there are chat options. I can add viewer comments into the livestream so people can see it and we can read it. If it’s a question, we can answer the question.

With Streamyard, every week they add some new features that are well tested. It’s not glitchy or buggy. We have had applications where we did not know what to expect.

[00:39:15] Shelley: Every time Windows did an update it changed things.

[00:39:18] Toby: Streamyard is very consistent and stable. When they do release something new they share it in their Facebook group. You do not have to be a user to join their Facebook group but it has a lot of people who are livestreamers as admins and moderators. So if you ever have a question about Streamyard they can direct you. They will always recommend a free trial use of their platform. It does have some restrictions, but it gives you the ability to test it out with your own YouTube channel. There is a learning curve associated with it for those who have never done multi-streaming, but they have an archive of training videos that you can learn from.

They also have a very useful YouTube channel. So you can use your YouTube channel and take a look at some of the videos that they have up there. We don’t work for them, we’re not sponsored by them, we just have been through it all over the past seven or eight years worth of live streaming and this is where we ended up and we hope to stay here a long time.

[00:40:28] Shelley: We can answer any questions that you might have about livestreaming. We also can provide production services that are done for you. We can show you how to use the products. We offer Five Days to Finished Bootcamp which means you start with nothing. We build your branding assets. We build up your YouTube channel, your Facebook pages, and everything that you need for livestreaming, podcasting, and blogging. By day four, you’re ready to do your livestream and you’ll have a video, audio, and a blog post from that. So Five Days to Finished Bootcamp is one way to go and then you’ll have three months of support after that.

If you want us to do it for you and learn as you go, then show production might be the way to go. What you can do is set up a free consultation with us at this link, https://go.oncehub.com/AGKMediaStudio, or just go to http://agkmedia.studio/ our website, and all the information is there as well.

We are happy to share information and our recommendations with you one-on-one. So if you want more information, just make an appointment and we will be happy to walk you through that.

[00:42:03] Toby: If you get the opportunity, please like this post, share it with your family, your friends, your neighbors, your business associates, and the entirety of your social network. If you are not already a subscriber and you want to learn more about livestreaming, podcasting, blogging, and becoming an encore entrepreneur, please subscribe to our channel and blog so we can share whatever knowledge we’ve gained with you.

[00:42:30] Shelley: Thanks for being here today and we hope to see you again next week. 

Are you at or near retirement and thinking about launching a home-based business? Or do you want to create a legacy of wisdom you can share through live streaming or podcasting?  Work with Shelley and Toby at AGK Media Studio and you can live stream videos, podcast and blog all at the same time and learn how to do it in only 5 days!

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