• Holly O'Kelly

Twitch For Australian Artists

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Twitch is a video live streaming website, started in 2011 as a platform for ‘community’ where people can livestream, interact and find accessible content. Traditionally associated with gaming, the platform has slowly been expanding for a long time, now with Musicians taking up a huge chunk of the homepage.

So what does this mean for Australian artists? Twitch is potentially a new way for young artists to connect to a worldwide audience with different content, showing off their personality and processes in a way that would never have been accessible just a few years ago.

While the platform still houses primarily game streams, it is the musicians who are learning the platform and trialling new types of content who are reaping the benefits. Twitch has the potential to open up a new way to meet and interact with dedicated fans, as well as a new easily accessible revenue stream.

I have been interacting with Twitch for a while myself as a viewer. The website can seem overwhelming at first with how many features that are exclusive to the platform are all happening at once. However, as with all social media, you can find the bits that work for you and the bits that don’t.

You really have to put in the time with Twitch, streams often last a minimum of 1-3 hours, viewers are often hard to gain at first and it is a platform that overall rewards regular interaction and content. If you’re looking for a quick and easy platform, this may not be the place for you as a musician. However, if you’re interested in learning and have the time, the benefits can be ample.

To gain some more perspective on the platform and its benefits for musicians, I spoke to Melbourne based pop artist Eilish Gilligan, who has been streaming and exploring the world of Twitch with her music for the last few months.

What inspired you to start Twitch streaming?

A couple of things actually. I’m a huge fan of drag and through watching a bunch of Trixie Mattel’s streams, I realised there’s this huge subsection of drag queens on Twitch, playing video games, performing, doing makeup streams – like, it was like I unlocked this treasure trove of underground drag.

So I was very familiar with the platform when my managers approached me and suggested that Twitch could be a good platform for me. It was just at the beginning of the lockdown, all of my shows had gotten cancelled within a 24 hour timeframe – I was kind of in a state of shock and I think I was just really open to anything that might distract me from all This *gestures around*.

What do you enjoy most about the platform?

I find it really hard to explain this but I’m gonna try – as a very ‘online’ person and a very active FAN of things, I am looking for a sense of connection with the people that I choose to follow online. I’m looking for an insight into their lives, their observations, their opinions on things, you know?

I’ve been this kind of ‘online’ for a while, and I have to say, the connection that Twitch offers between the audience and the streamer is the purest distillation of this connection that I’ve ever experienced – and it’s really lovely to be a part of, both as an audience member and a streamer. I love the community, I love the people who gravitate to Twitch – from my experience it seems to be a relatively troll-less community (touch wood!).

The company is built upon an inherent, deep sense of respect and worth for their streamers, no matter what they stream. As an audience member the culture is very much based upon the concept of financially supporting your favourite streamers in whatever capacity makes sense for you – contributions can be as low as 1 cent and go up to wherever you like, but it’s also free to watch and usually chat, too! It’s cool and different (unfortunately) for a platform to develop such a sense of respect and value for their creators.

Tell us a bit about what’s involved in your Twitch streams?

So I’m honestly still working it out lol – the schedule at the moment is a performance stream once a week, with a couple of production streams throughout the week too. I usually stream on Monday and Sunday nights and Wednesday mornings, but this is often subject to slight change - such is the life of a musician with multiple day jobs. I’m hoping to do a few more ‘just chatting’ streams as my community grows. I also do ‘song deep dives’ on my channel, which consists of me pulling apart a song of mine and showing journal screenshots, demos, Ableton sessions etc – showing how the song got from an idea to a finished product.

Do you have any advice for Musicians looking to start Twitch streaming?

I mean my main piece of advice would definitely be to spend time on Twitch. I spent heaps of time on Twitch before I started and I still tune into streams pretty much every day. There’s a bit of ‘jargon’ that you will need to learn before you start streaming because Twitch really is a pretty unique platform. But you’ll learn fast, and you might even be surprised by what you end up streaming – you might find that playing Dead by Daylight once a week on top of regular performance/chat/production/mixing/whatever streams, for example, is a bunch of fun and introduces you to a whole new part of Twitch.

One thing I will say also is that it’s not for everyone! It’s a lot of work, and it’s a totally different platform to what you might be used to. It’s OK if it’s not for you, but I encourage you to at least spend some time on Twitch to learn how it works.

What did you find hardest about learning to use Twitch?

I think the randomness of the success of each stream is something that I’m still trying to comprehend. One night it’ll be going off, and there’ll be heaps of movement in the chat, lots of subscriptions/donations etc, and then the next stream at the exact same time with the same content will get no traction whatsoever. There’s analytics on Twitch which are helpful but they usually don’t explain the discrepancies.

What are the benefits of Twitch Streaming for young Australian artists?

I think there’s SO many, particularly now during the pandemic. First of all, performing on Twitch has kept me in practice, and has even improved my piano skills due to regular acoustic performances.

If we’re going a bit deeper, I would say Twitch is such a great place to both grow your audience and connect on a deeper level with your existing audience. You can get to know the people who enjoy your music personally, while they get to know YOU personally – without sounding too *blah*, the best thing you can do for the world and your career is to be your most authentic self. There’s no one like you – and people want to know you!

Twitch is such a great, positive platform for this gorgeous connection – just this week I made a remix of the SNL skit ‘Liza Minnelli Turns Off A Lamp’ for a drag queen on Twitch who I adore, and she’s used it a bunch of times in her streams. That kind of exchange of energy, positivity, silliness and art is so special and becoming even more difficult to come across during the pandemic. But it’s all over the place on Twitch, if you choose to become a part of that community. In particular, I think Australian musicians would benefit from it because we’re so isolated from the rest of the world – this is such a brilliant way to create and maintain connections with people all over the world.

You can find Eilish's Twitch Streams Here

And check out her music and other socials


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