Rap Live for COVID and Help Save the World!
May 4, 2020
Live shows for COVID 19 have been popping up all over, and it’s really been pretty fun for music fans. Artists from Alicia Keys to DJ Khaled, and from Frankie Boyle to Daniel Sloss have been putting shows together to entertain fans under quarantine. Rolling Stone even keeps an updated list of free performances you can watch live or after they happen.
But indie artists can perform live from home, too. And why not? As all sorts of media outlets have been pointing out, the biggest captive audience in world history is sitting around with nothing to do and not enough entertainment. Slingshot writes:
“As we speak, millions of Americans are settling in at home. Kids are out of school and bored. Moms and dads are either working from home or just stuck there. Everyone online, eyes glued to their screens. And appointment television like sports and other live programming is all but gone … They're a captive audience that can be reached more readily than at just about any other time. The challenge, then, is not if they can be engaged, but what to engage them with.”
Since you’re reading this, you’ve obviously decided to engage them with your music, and that’s a fantastic idea. It’s especially easy for rappers, so this guide will speak directly to hip-hop artists, but of course anyone can follow these directions to put on live shows for COVID.
So read on to find out what you’ll need to set up and go!
Rap Live for COVID with the Right Cam and Mic Combo
Live shows for COVID need to be recorded at home (of course) so you’re going to need at least a good webcam and microphone. There’s good news and bad news here.
Bad news first: the best webcams tend to cost 250-300 USD, which is way more than most people can spend, especially now. Those cams have all sorts of really nice functions, like decent microphones built-in, auto focus, automatic light adjustment, and even a background muter which works like a green screen! But never mind all that, because none of it is necessary.
Which brings us to the good news: you can definitely do this without buying anything at all, especially if you’re a rapper. How? By using your phone, of course!
The cam on your phone is just as good as (and often better than) any old cheapo webcam from Amazon, so just use that. And the mic? Lots of rappers and producers use their phones as a mobile music studio. If you want to know specifically what kind of earbuds have the best mics, well you’re in luck because we’ve already reported on that here. And if you’re interested in a great standalone mic for your DAW, you can check those out here. Oh, and if you are using a real mic, then you’ll need studio headphones too -- and yes, we’ve got that covered, also. All our picks can be had for under a hundy.
But presuming most of us want to use our phone, let’s look at what that would look like.
Perform Live from Home Using Your Smartphone!
Rap live for COVID using your phone either with a combination of applications or even just one.
By far the easiest way to perform live from home would be to pump up your beats in the background -- very loud to compete with your vocals -- and just use YouTube to record your performance. You can either do this live or prerecorded and then streamed live later.
If you’re going to do it freals live, definitely use earbuds. You want to use earbuds because the mic on earbuds is omnidirectional, which means it’ll pick up your music as well as your vox. You can learn more about mics on earbuds here.
You should also not just jump into it blind! Make a test recording on a private YouTube channel, upload it to the web, and watch it from a different device to see how everything sounds. That way you can turn your back beats up or down, rap softer or louder, and generally fine tune things so when you do go live, it sounds as good as it can.
(Oh, and bytheway, there's also a new TikTok-ish app for performing live called Jamiphy. You can learn all about it in our recent post here).
Rap Live for COVID Ahead of Time, Then Stream It Afterward
Rap live for COVID ahead of time and then just stream it live as if you were doing it in real time. This isn’t a lie because it’s still a live performance or your original music. The main difference is that A) it’s gonna be more work, and B) it’s gonna sound way better.
It sounds better the second way because you can record your performance using headphones or earbuds to track your beat, then mix in the actual audio track of your beats behind your new vocals and video. Just make sure your headphones don’t bleed into the mic or you’ll get echo.
YouCut for Android will allow you to add your beats and music to the video of your performance while keeping the original audio and letting you mix the volume of both tracks. (iPhone users can use Splice by GoPro, but the music needs to be in your iTunes collection, so you’ll need to add your beats in there. There are other apps for this, too).
Once you have the video mixed with the original beat track, simply upload it to your official YouTube channel and tell YouTube to publish it at a later time. Then go on social media and tell people when your live performance will go online.
If you really want to give viewers that live experience, use Streamlabs for Apple or Android to stream it to your YouTube, Twitch, Discord, or 56 other platforms. That will let you chat to people as they watch, but it takes a little setting up. Worth it if you’re going to be doing this a lot.
Rap Live for COVID and Help People Stay Inside, (but Don’t Rap about It!)
Live shows for COVID 19 are helping people all over the world, but it doesn’t help if it hurts. Rolling Stone put out a “Please, Oh Pretty Please Stop” article March 23 in which they talk about the many ways rappers have done damage by rapping directly about the sickness.
It’s a pretty long article and COVID entertainers are encouraged to read it, but if you decide not to, at least take from this that you really shouldn’t be spitting about this awful event in history. It just doesn’t seem to pan out right.
Perform Live from Home and Do It for Free
So rap live for COVID and know that you’re doing a good thing for people, for yourself, and for your music career. Don’t be afraid to use all the links above to help you learn the various ways it can be accomplished, and happy live streaming!