How to dj on facebook live
A guide to DJ-ing with Facebook
The world has moved online for the foreseeable future. The rise of live streaming shows, YouTube channels and now Facebook Live events shows that there is a HUGE demand for this right now.
So you want to start streaming your DJ sets on Facebook Live? Great! You’ve come to the right place.
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about DJ-ing on Facebook Live.
What equipment you’ll need, what the best setup is, how to do it on a budget and the copyright detection issue you may face.
Lets begin shall we!
- The benefits of DJ-ing on Facebook Live
- What equipment for DJing on Facebook
- Best Software for Facebook Live DJing
- Streaming your DJ set with just a smartphone
- Copyright issues when DJing with Facebook Live
- How to DJ specifically for a Facebook live audience
- How to take your Facebook Live show to the next level
- How to stream to Facebook Live with minimal equipment
Reaching an audience right now. Engaging with your fans and getting more likes without waiting. Showing your creativity and helping your friends to promote you too
Fairly easy to set up and get started
While its possible to get very professional you can start with a fairly minimal setup and at least get your mixes out there broadcasting live on Facebook.
If you want to just test the water you can get going with just a few pieces of equipment and you’ll soon be showing off your DJ-ing skills to everyone who engages with you on Facebook.
That could be friends, page followers, group followers and of course their friends and followers if you can get them to share a link to your live show.
At the very least you’ll need a laptop or smart phone.
Lets not beat around the bush. If you’re going to live stream you need a method by which to get a camera and audio feed to your Facebook account.
Ideally you’ll want a computer dedicated to the task of taking the live feed from the camera (or cameras) and merging it with the audio feed from your DJ equipment.
Having said that, it is still possible to get an audio feed in to your smart phone which has a camera built in, and send that to your followers via the Facebook app. Its not the greatest of setups and it’ll definitely not work as well as other more professional setups but if you just want to get started and see whats possible, its always an option.
Most people have a Facebook account so its a good platform to broadcast on
There’s plenty of platforms and ways to broadcast audio over the internet these days but they often miss one important thing…
Access to a large audience!
Over 2.5 billion people have a Facebook account so there’s plenty of potential to grow your audience. It takes dedication and momentum as well as plenty of regularly added content but Facebook is without doubt the best place to reach a vast number of people around the world.
It has less strict copyright issues than places like YouTube. Within certain requirements.
All of the social channels you can upload content to have software in place to listen out for copyrighted content. They don’t want to fall foul of copyright laws and be sued by the copyright holders of the music you’re playing.
Different sites have different levels of copyright detection and for a long while Facebook had one of the less strict systems. At present that still seems to be the case although they, like many others, have tightened things a little more in recent years. More on this subject later as its a big one!
A great way to get more people to your FB page.
Content is king, this has always been true and always will be! So your Facebook Page is going to need content and lots of it. If you’re a DJ that means photos, Soundcloud and Mixcloud mixes and now Facebook Live events. You could schedule a live event every week, or 2 per week! A mixing session that people can follow, even tutorials for budding DJs if you wanted to!
Facebook live broadcasts means you’ll have more content for your fans, and more content will mean more people liking your Facebook page and sharing it with others.
If you want to create a video broadcast of your home or studio DJ sets then you’re going to need some equipment. While you don’t have to have it all I would highly recommend you invest in the right stuff. By all means start off small but you’ll soon realise you can create a much better show with a little more equipment.
Your DJ gear
Obviously you need something to DJ on! Whether its a DJ controller, some digital DJ decks, CD players or good old Vinyl, get your setup just right, not only technically but visually.
Its one thing to hear an hour long mix, quite another to actually watch it! So make sure your equipment is clean, tidy and visually appealing. If you have vinyl turntables and timecode records use that instead of just pushing the play button. It looks way cooler!
Whatever you’ve got you’ll need to make sure its well lit, easy to film and easy to DJ with.
A dedicated computer for broadcasting
You need software to broadcast your video and audio to the world. It’ll need to run on a computer and if you’re like me then your DJ setup may well include a computer already. If that’s so then I highly recommend you do not use that computer to broadcast the video and audio.
This is because for the best DJ-ing experience your computer needs to be given the soul task of playing music, dealing with control inputs and providing a clean audio feed for your broadcast. While its possible your computer does have enough grunt to handle both production and broadcast you may be taking a risk.
If you want a smooth high quality stream then remove that risk and have one computer handling your DJ software and another for your live broadcast.
An audio interface to your broadcast computer
So you’ve got the broadcast computer, now you need a way to get the audio from your mixer or controller in to your computer. You’re going to need an audio input, something most computers don’t have.
While some people just let the mic on their laptop pick up the audio, DON’T do this. It sounds so unprofessional and will annoy users pretty quickly!
Make sure you get a USB sound adapter with an audio input. They’re relatively cheap and well worth it. They usually have a mini jack input so you just need the appropriate cable from your mixer or controller. This will give you a nice clean audio input between the two.
I recommend you keep a close eye on the audio levels between the two computers. You don’t want the sound clipping or distorted so make sure your output from your mixer isn’t in the red. Check what the audio from your broadcast computer sounds like before starting your Facebook Live event.
Check out the Beringer 302USB for all the controls you could ever want on an audio interface. A great way to keep production controls where they’re needed, away from your DJ controller.
At least one webcam, for a more engaging show use more
It goes without saying that people want to see you as well as hear you. So you’re going to need at least one camera. While you may be able to get away with a smartphone camera there are plenty of other options.
GoPros can also be used for a live camera as can many bridge cameras. You’ll want to make sure they are wide angle to capture as much of your likely small room as possible.
But lets face it one view of you twiddling buttons snd faders for an hour is going to get boring quickly. For prolonged engagement you need multiple cameras.
Here’s a few camera angles I recommend.
- Face-on camera. So people can see your facial expressions as you DJ. Human connection is always a winner
- Top down camera. Mounted above your decks so people can see your hands at work.
- Side on camera. With a view of you and your hands.
- Close up camera. Usually aimed at your decks or controller so people can see you work your magic
Obviously a 4 or more camera setup is pretty full on but its worth considering what people will be viewing while you’re DJ-ing.
Switching between these cameras can be a full on task in itself so you may want to consider having someone in control of your broadcast while you do the DJ-ing. If not you can easy switch between cameras every so often as broadcast software makes it relatively easy to do so.
If you’re serious about live streaming with video then i highly recommend multiple cameras. Your audience will thank you for it. The Logitech C920 is a great HD camera that can clip on to almost anything and provides great quality video. Its a great place to start.
A USB hub
All of these cameras, audio adapters, controllers, etc require power and data. Often in the form of a USB port.
While your computer may have a couple of ports available they’re really not designed to power multiple cameras and adapters.
So grab yourself a cheap USB hub. Make sure its USB 3 or if you have it on your machine, USB-C. As these two are the highest data capacities and can handle streams from multiple cameras. I’d recommend this one with plenty of ports and you can even turn them on and off via power switches. Make sure its USB 3.0 or better as you’ll need lots of data bandwidth for multiple devices.
Make sure the USB Hub you have has an external power supply so your USB powered devices are not reliant on your computer for power. This will ensure a smooth user experience and no technical difficulties for you and your audience.
Next you’re going to need some software that will convert your audio and video to a live stream which will be uploaded in real-time to Facebook live. There are a few options for this as there are a number of apps available. Here’s a few of the best out there right now.
- OBS Studio
- Streamlabs OBS
- Nvidia Shadowplay
Here are 3 of my favourites that might be just what you need. They cover 3 different requirements, budget, features and computer power.
Open Broadcaster Software is definitely my recommended broadcast software for a number of reasons. For a start its free as its an open source project built by multiple developers as a collective. Its a very robust and reliable piece of software that many gamers and youtube live streamers use because it has a LOT of features.
Having said that, its not always the most intuitive piece of software to use, partly because of the immense number of features and options it has. No doubt as you do more broadcasts you’ll discover exactly what creative flair you want to add to your shows and OBS Studio gives you the scalability to do that.
The only limit is some pro features that can really raise the game and give your Facebook Live shows that professional look. That’s where some of the other apps may be more beneficial.
Check out the obsproject.com website for more details and download the software for free.
Watch this excellent video by DJ Tech Tools on how to set up your first OBS Studio computer for DJ-ing on services like Twitch and Facebook Live
If you’re truly serious about professional online broadcasting then Wirecast might be the choice for you.
There’s two versions available, Wirecast Studio and Wirecast Pro and both are far from cheap but definitely value for money.
The features here are quite impressive. The ability to add on-the-fly graphics, capturing multiple camera and video sources and the ability to broadcast out to multiple social platforms at the same time. Not just Facebook Live! Something that might work well for you in the future.
All of this is in the studio version. If you get the pro version there’s some truly industry leading features that are great for content creators. Most of which probably aren’t what a DJ wanting to broadcast live sets would need. But its worth checking out all the same.
You can test their software for free with a watermarked broadcast, before diving in and paying for it. Definitely something to test.
Don’t let its amazing features overwhelm you too much. Its worth taking the time and seeing just how it can work for you.
Tempted to check it out? Wirecast is available for Mac and Windows here.
I would recommend checking out this video with more details on optimal Facebook Live settings for Wirecast.
Who needs software when you have browser apps right? Touted as the cloud based app for broadcasters, Lightstream differs from its competitors by not actually being a downloadable app. You sign in on their website and let the cloud do the hard work.
The web browser based app takes your audio and video feeds and lets the cloud do the encoding and sending on to your chosen social platform. Its a clever way of reducing the load on your computer and allowing for easy updates to their services without the need for everyone to get the latest software.
Thanks to this approach there are some obvious benefits. You might be able to run this on your DJ-ing computer if it can handle both your DJ software and sending data to the cloud. It probably can but its still not advised as you’re putting all your eggs in one basic.
There are some awesome features like switching cameras via your phone, guest hosting, graphics overlays, asset libraries and very quick live chat support.
Best of all its free to get started so you’ve got nothing to lose. While its not the most feature rich it might be just the setup you need.
Watch this promo video from Lightstream to see it in action
Facebook have made it incredibly easy to broadcast on their Facebook Live service with just the app on your phone. So you may be asking why not just use that?
Sure you can and we’ll get on to that in a moment, but first here’s some reasons why you wouldn’t.
- Multiple cameras are not possible, just the one in your phone
- Getting audio in to your iPhone still requires extra hardware
- No useful pro features to up your broadcast game!
But sure if you’re limited to just using a smartphone it can still be an effective tool. Its just by far the least professional setup.
How to get DJ mixer audio in to your smartphone
So first its worth noting how the Facebook app deals with audio. Like almost every app on the iPone and other smartphones, they just take the stereo input made available by the operating system. So there’s no audio interface selecting, no clever mix-down features. Just a simple stereo audio in. We need to find a way to work with that.
So you need to find a way to tap in to that stereo input, thankfully the port on your phone gives you just that. All you need is an audio adapter to plug in.
Grab the RØDE SC6-L Dual TRRS and your problems are solved. Its a very reliable device that allows audio in and out for iPhone devices. Allowing you to plug directly in from your mixer and the audio will magically be picked up by Facebook Live.
Its a very simple setup really but does require some finessing to get the audio sounding just right.
Plug a pair of headphones in to the stereo out socket on the adapter and make sure you can hear a clear crisp sound.
You need to keep an eye on your mixer throughout your DJ set to ensure you’re not sending too powerful a signal.
Avoid the audio going in to the red, something that you can only monitor on your mixer as there are no visual clues to this on your smartphone.
You’ll also want a smartphone tripod so you can position your phone near to your DJ Setup. Angle the camera just right so you get in the best view of you at work.
You’ve only got one camera to work with now so its important to get this just right, otherwise people will soon leave your live stream.
Nobody likes staring at half a wall for an hour. Make sure they can see your hands at work.
Another useful item for any setup is a long phono to stereo jack cable so you can position your phone and tripod in the perfect location without any cumbersome cables ruining your shot. I recommend this 3.5m cable so there’s plenty of spare cable.
While its far from an ideal setup for you or your audience, it is at least a workable solution if this is where you’d like to start
This will be the single biggest issue you face when DJing on Facebook Live. Gone are the days when you could play anything on live streams and get away with it. Now Facebook use music ID detection systems that listen to the tracks you plan and identify the copyright owners.
Facebook will either mute the audio on your live stream during the copyrighted music, or the entire live stream, or potentially end your stream altogether.
You may think this means there’s no reason to use Facebook Live for DJ mixes, but you’d be wrong.
Avoid popular streaming music and use DJ pools
Generally speaking Facebook is trying to detect you playing the most mainstream of music. Stuff you might find on Spotify, Tidal or Apple Music.
So if you want to avoid detection, simply don’t play popular copyrighted music.
Sign up to one of the many DJ pools and download your music from there. If you’re a house music DJ its potentially more likely you’re playing more underground tracks anyway so these DJ pools are already the best place for you to find amazing new dance music of all types.
Check out the digitaldjpool.com website for a great place to start if you haven’t already signed up to a DJ pool. Chances are less likely that Facebook will pick up on the tracks you can download from here.
There are multiple levels of punishment Facebook can hit you with. From muting parts of your broadcast, to ending it immediately. They can also ban you from future Facebook Live broadcasts although this is usually for repeat offenders.
If you’re sensible, avoid mainstream dance tracks, use DJ pools and play more new and unknown music, you’ll likely avoid the wrath of Facebook.
While you may be used to DJ-ing at a club, on a stage or even just in your bedroom. Playing to an online audience is a little different. There’s a few reasons for this
- You audience are watching your every move
- Keeping your audience entertained will keep them watching for longer
- User engagement is what helps promote your video to more people
Generally in clubs, festivals and parties your crowd will stick around no matter what you do, assuming you’re playing music they like. With an online audience you need to do so much more. Keeping them entertained and refraining from clicking off somewhere else is the most important thing.
Facebook Live is mostly delivered to people’s phone apps, so you have to remember most are just holding it in their hand watching someone DJ. Make it compelling viewing!
And thats the important factor here, a lot of viewers are actually watching you DJ. So standing still and moving nothing more than your fingers on faders isn’t going to cut it.
Ever heard the phrase “Play to your audience” ?
People want to see you being active. So a more cut-and-switch mixing style works best. Watching you stand around for 3 minutes before the next track should be transitioned is just boring. Short mixes, plenty of activity and excitement is what people usually tune in for.
And remember your audience is always watching, so play to the camera. This is why multiple cameras work best as you can switch between them and show your viewers something new.
Be sure to acknowledge them. Wave to the viewers, show them you’re interacting with them. If people are commenting you could use a microphone and give them shoutouts.
Its worth analysing when you’re losing visitors, what made them leave and how you can win them over so they stick around for longer.
DJs often include colourful mood lighting, unusual camera angles on your DJ equipment. Back-to-back sets so there’s two DJs to look at rather than just the one.
Think about ways you can stand out from the crowd and entertain your growing fan base. Its what will keep them coming back for future shows.
I’m sure you’re dying to get started and no doubt you’re probably thinking you’ll start off with a simple setup and grow as your audience does.
That’s perfectly fine and a great way to get going. But always keep in mind how you can really push your Facebook Live shows to the next level.
Get professionally made graphics
Its very easy to make your show appear much more professional by getting some custom graphics made. They can be used on your facebook page to promote the Facebook Live broadcast as well as featuring during your performance.
I’d highly recommend getting some animations created for your show. An intro animation is always good but you can include them throughout your Live event. They don’t have to fill the screen but they do add a little something extra for your viewers to see.
They also show your viewers that this is a professionally produced live event worth tuning in for. Not just another bedroom broadcast.
Get someone to handle production for you
DJ-ing and being in charge of your broadcast isn’t easy. Its why most end up being a single camera snooze-fest. Don’t be that guy! Multiple cameras make it so much more interesting, graphics and animations too, but all these extra elements will distract you from your DJ mixes which isn’t good viewing.
Outsourcing your production tasks to someone else will result in a much more professional Facebook Live DJ set.
There are a number of ways to do this. You could schedule a meetup and work together on your live broadcast. One person behind the cameras controlling which feed goes out live, monitors your audio levels and triggers your graphics.
Some Facebook Live DJs also get the production assistant to select comments and shoutouts, passing them on to you for shoutouts and viewer engagement.
This results in a much more slick viewing experience where the DJ does what they do best and everything else is left to a trained production assistant.
Another option with some broadcast software is “guest streams”. This involves your production assistant at their house or studio broadcasting your stream for you. They handle the production and you just stream your video and audio to them from your house or studio.
This is a much more complex setup but it can work well especially during the period of Lockdowns amid the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic. It does require professional grade software like Wirecast Pro but if you’re serious about doing regular internet live events then its worth the investment.
I recommend watching this video by Cleveland Terry for more handy tips on DJ-ing on Facebook Live and Instagram Live
We recently received an email about a method of streaming to Facebook Live without the need for a second computer or soundcard adapter.
Its an interesting concept and while technically possible its still probably not the method I would recommend, certainly not for pro-streamers who want a reliable next-level approach.
This method should work but will add extra CPU load to your computer, and aggregate virtual sound cards often have sync issues which you may need to adjust your setup for.
It only works on Apple Mac computers and requires some complex setup of virtual soundcards. Plus you’ll need some extra software to make it possible. Never-the-less its worth a try if you’re really on a tight budget.
More DJ help for you
Hopefully this has given you enough insight in to the world of DJ-ing on Facebook Live. There’s plenty you can get stuck in to and scale up your production as your audience grows. Remember to play to the crowd and keep them engaged!
Be sure to share your Facebook Live DJ Events with us too. We’d love to view!
Now check out more great DJ advice from us