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Livestreaming music performances: The new normal for now

Bill DeYoung



Musician Chris Francisco works out a tune in the DTSP: Saved By Streaming studio. Photo: DTSP

Networking is even more important for musicians during the current crisis. Broadband and WiFi networking.

Since bars, restaurants and nightclubs are off limits, there are no places to play, and no crowds to play to. More and more musicians are turning to the Internet, to make germ-free connections with audiences via livestreaming performances.

Locally, regionally, nationally, those for whom music is the sole source of income are going online to play, sing and ask for donations – kind of a virtual concert, with a virtual tip jar.

Many are doing it themselves, through their own websites or social media. St. Petersburg booking agent Katie Talbert has created DTSP: Saved By Streaming to help those without equipment of their own to dip their toes into the livestream. Starting at 5 p.m. today, it will stream via Facebook Live.

“The first people that I’ve scheduled, and I’m sticking to this, are only full-time working musicians,” Talbert says, “because those are the people that are most dramatically affected right now, and hurting, because they’re the ones that don’t have a job.”

Talbert’s company Tampa Bay Live was booking around 80 shows a week for her clients. “When all this happened, I had to make phone call after phone call to cancel all these people,” she says. “At first, the bar owners were adjusting schedules – ‘we can still do music in the afternoons.’

“But it just kept changing, and every time I had to make another phone call, it got more disappointing. I was dealing with people who were getting really upset, they couldn’t pay their bills. I heard a lot of tears.”

It was then that Talbert, a musician herself, had a eureka moment. Because she earned a Masters in digital journalism and design from the University of South Florida, she had acquired a lot of professional equipment, including video cameras.

“I have a home recording studio, and I shoot music videos out of it all the time,” she explains. “I had lighting and a bunch of other stuff, but I had never done livestreaming before.”

She consulted her friend Joe Giannotti, whose Tampa Sessions was already in the business of livestreaming local musicians. “He’s the mastermind behind live broadcasting. He’s amazing. We have very similar visions.”

Betty Fox

Tonight the Betty Fox Band plays an acoustic show at 7 (with a 5 p.m. opening set by Scott Perez); future DSTP: Saved By Streaming webcasts are listed here.

For Tampa Sessions, check here.

The DTSP studio is the back room of Talbert’s modest home. ‘I don’t have kids, and I don’t have dependents, but I don’t want to put anybody at risk,” she says. “And I don’t want to put myself at risk. I’ve left my house twice in a week. I bought $200 worth of cleaning supplies. So I’m bringing people into my house, no more than two a day.”

That virtual tip jar is for the performers. “I’m not charging the artists for this,” she explains. “I’m unemployed too, so I told them if they do really well and they get a lot of donations, and they can help me out too, that’s great. But I’m fine either way. I just want to do what I can.”

No one can predict how long this Covid-19 lockdown is going to last. Katie Talbert and DTSP: Saved By Streaming are in it for the long haul.

“It’s not that I don’t want to work with people who are doing original music,” she says, “but right now there’s an urgency for people that literally don’t have money for rent.”


  • Musicians! The St. Pete Catalyst wants to be a source for all livestreaming performance information. Here’s our constantly-updated events calendar. Please forward your streaming details to us through our Facebook page, or email bill@stpetecatalyst.com. We’re all in this together.










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