Live streaming has taken on a life of its own in recent years, becoming a major tool for DJs to rely on as COVID-19 laid waste to the nightlife scene and even as club doors have reopened. There have been success stories aplenty, from Miche to Club Quarantine, but King Shine’s journey shines bright. Joining Mixcloud in October 2021, the USA-based DJ and former radio host accepted a gig to live stream for an event - despite being unfamiliar with streaming at the time - and enrolled in a crash course at the University of YouTube to learn the ropes. “When I saw 40 people hop on the stream, I thought this could actually work,” Shine tells us. “There was something here.”
Now clued up on a technical level, King Shine has established himself on Mixcloud Live, where he currently boasts over 12,000 listeners and counting tuning into his triweekly blends of R&B, Funk, Soul, Hip Hop and more. Crafting unique methods of growing his following, he has been steadfast in making every stream feel special while religiously self-promoting. We sat down with King Shine to discuss the key things he’s learned from his experiences.
Encourage your audience to interact with each other
KS: “I built this core audience and we call them the ‘Fam Gang’. I encourage people who stop by. I say things like, “If this is your first time, don’t be afraid to jump in the chat and introduce yourself. Let me know where you’re streaming from.” I try to make it as welcoming as possible. They’ll see that new person and start engaging with them automatically. That’s the way the follower base started building up.”
Make your audience feel special
“I take shots with my audience on the livestream. We celebrate birthdays. I have this thing where a lot of my regulars started to email me to say, “Hey my birthday is close to your streaming day. Do you think you could give me a shout out?” I take it a step further and ask them to send me either pics or short footage. I edit it up in Final Cut Pro and I’ll add it as a scene and then at a certain point in the night I’ll shout them out. For all the music lovers and people who are not DJs, they want that experience as if they were at a festival or in a club or at a bar. They see me DJing and during the course of that I’m not so focused on DJing that I’m not engaging. I engage every minute of the way without being rude to the actual music they enjoy. That’s really important.”
Promote your live stream at your IRL events
“I use kind of unconventional methods, promoting as much as I can during my actual events and word of mouth. Introduce people to your Mixcloud, even if they haven’t used the app before. If they download the app, they can still see me streaming without being a member, and they get intrigued. That's the way I've been building the audience one at a time. I also use a Tappy card. When I'm out doing my regular gigs and people want a business card or want to know my socials, all I do is tap it to the back of their phone, and all my socials pop up on their phone, and they're able to follow immediately right there.”
Think outside the box
“In Atlanta I just signed a deal with a club where I'll be the first DJ streaming live from the club from 8pm to 11pm. I'll be streaming live with the TVs they have, about 13 TVs. There's a QR code where they scan to get the menus and they’ll be creating a QR code on the reverse side. So if people are interested, it’ll take them directly to my Mixcloud page. We get a lot of love from Washington also and a lot of that is word of mouth. Truckers have told me they use Bluetooth to listen to me. It helps them on their trip.”
Use Mixcloud Posts
“I started to look at Mixcloud as a non-traditional social media platform, but I handled it in a traditional social media way. I utilize the Posts, utilize anything I possibly can from the features to try to keep my audience involved, keep them in the loop of what's going on.”
Give people an experience they won’t forget
“I’ve never been in the business of being a DJ’s DJ. I’m more consumer-based. I’m finding ways to engage music lovers and people who, for whatever reason, aren’t able to go to the club or the bar. Maybe they work, or maybe they have some physical disabilities. I get a couple of those people too - they’re in wheelchairs or homebound - and I give them a chance to be in the club. I give them the festival or ballroom experience right there in the live stream. That’s why I’m really conscious of my visuals, sound quality, all of that. I use Universal Audio to make sure my sound is on point.”
Always archive your live streams
“By trade, I'm an audio engineer, that's my day job. From time to time I'll strip the audio from segments of the performance. So I'll get 30 to 45 minute segments of one of the streams and I'll post that audio and when I want to post more audio I grab another 30 to 45 segment of the same stream and post that.”
Choose how your visuals work for you
“I'm not really into green screen, but I have this giant black drape that spreads the length of the room. It looks like I'm actually in a club. I didn't see too many DJs who had the look that I was going for but the gaming dudes did. So I pretty much just copied the equipment that they use, that's how I ended up with Ecamm and a Sony camera, with the soundswitch lighting software. I offer that super visual experience. I’m really transparent on camera. You can see my setup, you see me actually DJing. That’s important. So be creative with the presentation.”
“As I started programming the show, I flashbacked to traditional radio, and started creating themed shows. Things like the Saturday Night House Party, Sunday Slow Jam, Social Thursdays. These were actual shows that I programmed when I was on radio and with that structure, I was able to become more and more consistent. You’ve got to utilise the hashtags to aid discovery on Mixcloud. It all helps, there's no guesswork involved. So if you're into R&B, electronic dance music, whatever it may be, you know where you can see exactly what's going on in the course of that stream.”
Build for the long term
“Everything I do on the stream, I actually do in a club. It was just awkward looking at a camera. When there's people in the building, it’s the easiest thing in the world, you feed off energy. Looking at a camera lens is a little different. But I still take those basic principles of business and entertainment, and I just bring it to the live stream. But have fun, and be consistent. Even if it's just two people streaming, be consistent and it'll build, it'll come. You have to show up. Those other streaming platforms like Netflix, they didn't start with billions of viewers, everybody started at one. No matter who you are, no matter what you've done in the outside world, we all start with that one follower.”
Catch King Shine's 'Saturday Night House Party' live on Mixcloud every Saturday at 9pm CST.
Check out more musical deep dives on Campus.