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Performers Get Creative with Internet-Powered Artistry

live-streaming is key for artists still trying to reach their audiences

Eric Christenson

THEM STREAMY BOYS. Bluegrass band Them Coulee Boys did an hour-long concert on Facebook Live.
THEM STREAMY BOYS. Bluegrass band Them Coulee Boys did an hour-long concert on Facebook Live.

Large gatherings are prohibited. Venues are closed. And now, artists and performers find themselves without an in-person audience to connect with. Without a doubt, it’s a huge setback for the local arts scene, especially in such a tight-knit artistic community like we have here in the Chippewa Valley. Seemingly out of nowhere, going to shows isn’t a thing anymore.

But this is 2020, where self-broadcasting tools are right at the tips of our fingers. So already, we’re seeing bands, visual artists, writers, comedians, and more using social media platforms – and the streaming services therein – to perform via the internet. Them Coulee Boys already streamed an entire hour-long concert from their practice space. Nick Anderson and the Skinny Lovers have one coming up. Jerrika Mighelle has streamed a bunch of performances already. Rapper TeawhYB took a more interactive approach by sending personalized songs to followers with his “4 Bars 4 a Friend” project. Matt Hasenmueller, formerly of the band The Millenium, gave himself a bowl cut on Facebook Live.

Many of your favorite local acts have taken to the Web to perform, because it’s what they do, whether they can do it in-person or not. Most major social platforms have built-in live-streaming capabilities, so artists can totally take advantage of that and give quarantined fans updates and one-of-a-kind performances. So look out for these as they pop up more and more in the coming weeks.

And a pretty awesome local thing: Eau Claire-based company WIN Technology is offering up its own streaming platform Perigon to nonprofits, educational institutions, and artists at 90% off during the crisis. Their high-powered service could get you in front of up to 50,000 people, without resorting to using Facebook. From their website (perigonlive.com):

  • Cities and towns will be able to host town hall meetings for thousands of individuals with uninterrupted webcasts and live chats.
  • A community theater can premiere its latest production without losing much-needed box office revenue.
  • School districts can manage small meetings or countywide events for thousands to attend online.
  • Community organizations will be able to connect with clients, volunteers, employees and donors without having technology or financial ability as a hurdle.

So even though meet-ups aren’t happening in person for a time, that isn’t stopping people from connecting in any way they can. So get online, Chippewa Valley! We’ll see you on the Internet.