Scanner is an electronic musician who has composed for both film and contemporary dance. We asked him to share his experiences of using Bandcamp Live for Scanner Sundays, a live improvised performance and Q&A broadcast from his home studio.General admission was £5. As a bonus, subscribers to Scanner’s fan club received a discount plus a download of the livestream.
“I like the honesty of it. I mean, these are fans who are buying tickets. Fans are generally quite generous in their spirits. What I really loved about it was people said ‘greetings from…,’ and it was suddenly ‘greetings from New Zealand,’ ‘greetings from Seattle,’ ‘greetings from–’ and it was fantastic. Like the world was connected at this moment, and to me, that was really thrilling. I can’t deny it—that was one of the most exciting things.”
For this edition, fans signed in from France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, America, New Zealand, and all over the UK as Scanner broadcast live from his studio in the East Midlands, England.
“I was trying to decide on a time to broadcast, and I thought, ‘No matter what time you do it, it’s always wrong for someone.’ So the ability to watch it back for 48 hours is amazing because there might be something you missed or you want to kind of retread, or you were in New Zealand and you missed it.
“With the impact of the pandemic and the world as it’s changed, I wanted to embrace the ability to broadcast globally to an audience.”
You can read a detailed blog post by Scanner on how his livestreaming setup has improved over time. He explains how streaming has changed the visual dynamics of his live performances. It also lists the equipment he uses, including cameras, lighting, mixers, and software.
“I’ve performed for many years and there’s a huge advantage to livestreaming, which is the mechanics of traveling. To play a show in New Zealand would take well over a week, but here I am in my studio. I can be in control of everything without having to battle through all the stress and everything.
“I can make concerts happen that I couldn’t make in any other way. I’m not going to travel with some of this equipment, it’s far too fragile. With livestreaming I can, at the last minute, change my mind about something I want to use half an hour before the show. I can reintroduce something into it. I can’t do that if I’m traveling.”
Scanner used a combination of his iPhone and a separate camera to stream his shows. He tested the different battery lengths whilst running livestreaming software. He also tested the sound quality, internet connection, and that his Whatsapp messages wouldn’t pop up during the show!
“A very valuable thing is, and it’s a small thing, but very important, is that Bandcamp allows you to constantly check the stream when you want to. You could check it two weeks before the show, you could check it 12 times on the day. When I’ve made live performances before online, it’s absolutely terrifying to hit the go live button at the designated hour and think, is this gonna work or not? Whereas actually, you know well beforehand if it’s working and that’s a really important thing.
“I want to continue these shows because they offer something to a much more global population. You know, if I play in London, X amount of people can come to that show. There’s all the other people around the world who can’t come to that show. Bandcamp Live has offered this kind of unity in a really positive way.”