If you have been keeping up with Mixcloud updates, you will have noticed that we recently rolled out the option for creators to go live directly from their browser. While you can still go live on Mixcloud in the traditional way, this feature removes the need for downloading third-party software, copying stream keys and managing settings. Now you can go live immediately and reliably in one click, with all the right settings pre-loaded.
We’re calling this feature “Mixcloud Live studio”. It’s at beta stage now, which means there will be a few bugs (please let us know when you find them so we can squash them!) But in the future, we hope to build Studio into a powerful one-stop-shop for any DJ, producer or musician that wants to live-stream. Pro members can try this feature now by going to www.mixcloud.com/live/new on a desktop device
For many of you, this might seem like a strange feature to release. After all, broadcasting software like OBS or Streamlabs are the choice for most streamers. The live streaming ecosystem from YouTube to Twitch to Facebook is built on stream keys and Real Time Messaging Protocol (commonly shortened to ‘RTMP’), which—while clunky—works perfectly well. If everyone else is zigging, why is Mixcloud zagging?
There are two very good reasons to add this feature.
Firstly, to simplify live streaming. And secondly, to improve it.
Using Mixcloud has historically been complex for creators, and—until now—live streaming has been no different. Whether you’re uploading a mix or going live, using Mixcloud has required creators to master a combination of software and hardware before they touch Mixcloud’s interface. There are many things that can (and do) go wrong along the way, from sound levels to video settings, to file-size and internet speeds. When we have an opportunity to make it easier for creators to use Mixcloud, we should take it.
But this is only the first step.
The exciting part of this feature is the possibilities that it unlocks for the future. While OBS and Streamlabs are reputable and reliable, they severely limit what we can build with live streaming. RTMP is an old and clunky technology. It only sends data one way (from the streamer to Mixcloud) and has a significant delay on the stream, meaning that what the streamer does and what the viewer sees are lagged by several seconds
By adding a ‘go live from browser’ alternative that Mixcloud owns, we can build many new and exciting things in the future. Studio uses a different streaming technology called Web Real-Time Connection (or ‘WebRTC’ for short), which is what Google Meet and Clubhouse use. WebRTC has a near instantaneous stream and sends data both ways, which will allow us to experiment with interesting initiatives around overlays, creator-to-creator collaboration and creator-to-fan interaction.
Ultimately our goal is to build the best product for live-streaming music. This means building a platform that is easy to use and join, that sounds and looks great, that manages copyright on your behalf, and that has interactivity and engagement features baked in. We’re under no illusions that there is still a tonne of work to do. We hear you when you give us feedback on Mixcloud LIVE. And with Studio, we’re taking a big step into an exciting future.
The future is bright indeed.