November 12, 2013

Second Life Live Voice Concerts - A few points

I've been holding Live SL Voice performances lately and everyone really seems to enjoy it. I'm trying to make this "feel" like we are all gathered together in the same room or club where we can all now verbally interact with each other. 

If you wouldn't mind, as I know this is probably new to a lot of Second Life members, here are a few things that can be done to make the experience better for everyone:

• You don't HAVE to get on voice and if you do, you don't HAVE to talk. Just be comfortable listening and having fun!

• Please check your voice settings BEFORE coming to the venue. For greater voice stability, reduce bandwidth to around 400. Preferences > Network Settings.

• You can also test your setting by visiting this Second Life location. You will only be able to hear your OWN voice and make sure all sounds good.

• Choose "Listen from AVATAR POSITION" in Sound preferences.

• Use headphones not speakers and keep them on a relatively medium volume. This will remove any possibility of feedback from your speakers into your mic and not have anyone's eardrums ache after the show!

• If there is live performance going on, please mute your mic during songs. Live performers might also want to have voice volume turned off while playing a song in case someone arrives at the club with their speakers on and mic accidentally set loud. This will allow everyone to hear the show and not any accidental hum or typing during the songs.

• To hear best (and loudest), try to get closer to the performer.

• Depending where people are in the world, there may be greater or less latency (delay) from the time they speak until others can hear them. This is something that is defined by several variable such as distance to server, individual computer processing speed, etc. Please try to be considerate of and accommodate for this possible latency on your own voice and that of others.

• Please try to help each other. If you know how to set Preferences, please help those who may not.

Above all else, have fun. You don't have to get on voice, but if you do, then talk, interact, have FUN!

September 24, 2013

What's Being Done?

As a live performer since 2006, I've seen many changes in the quality of Second Life. It used to be getting 100 people on a sim, and have them STAY there, without crashing and minimal lagging, was not a problem.

Over the past year or two this has become increasingly worse and increasingly more and more frustrating. Now when 30-40 people are on a sim while I'm performing, many crash, public chat is horribly laggy, people cant move, cant dance and as the performer on stage, I am running more programs and using up more resources. So having SL be so unstable is causing even MORE strain on my system's resources. I can't imagine what michinima artists and videographers are dealing with!

What about when we DO crash and try to log back in? It now takes about 5 minutes or longer many times for SL to log me out completely so that I am then able to relog. For a live performer or other host of an event, 5 minutes is an eternity. It makes people question what's happening... are they coming back.... is it all over? Which means the audience may choose to leave.

Then of course there's the MASH as I have begun calling it. This is a "Massive Crash" which affects a good half or more of an audience. Have you ever been to a live show and suddenly the people you see in front of you are gone? POOF!

This has been going on for far too long and I would very much like to see some effort being made to either upgrade the SL servers and in the very least, take the highest traffic venues and locations and put them on a more stable server.

The SL music community has grown so much since 2006. SL is a great place for artists to come perform, or even just have fun singing to tracks, having karaoke contests, etc. But when the platform itself is ridiculously unstable, the fun is completely lost as is the vibe of the events.

What's being done?

May 27, 2013

Its in Your hands!

I'd like to take a minute to talk to all Second Life performers and DJs. 

I've been playing live shows since 2006 and in that time I have been fortunate to have made many friends who are venue owners. These kind people book me to perform for their venue and support the live music community by offering a place for us to perform, many do so without turning any profit, paying for everything out of their own pockets. This isn't news, or at least shouldn't be to the SL performer.

Whether we are paid to perform or play a tips only venue, we must take into account the effort that the venues put forth on behalf of the SL performers. To that I would like to offer a few suggestions that, in my experience, will hopefully benefit both yourselves and the venue.

When it comes to promoting anything, Social Networking is #1 on the list. Facebook, Twitter, Second Friends, G+… all of these are amazing "tools" at our disposal and if you're not making good and regular use of them, well you're honestly missing out on a lot. 

When Brandy and I book a show, one of the first things we ask of the venue owner is "Do you have a note card about your venue?" Why? Because I want to do what I can to help promote the venue. After all they are the ones putting me up. This way, when we create an event on Facebook or Second Friends, we have some good text to use in our promotions and it also lets SL'ers know a bit about the venue, sim, launch, etc. and the event itself. it also allows the performer to talk about something other than themselves. We also provide the venue with a current image and bio for them to use in their own marketing and events listings. 

One other thing, especially with new venues, if you don't see your event listed in Second Life Events, you might want to respectfully remind the owner(s) to do a Second Life Event Listing so your performance shows up in "Search".

About 90 minutes before the show, Brandy and I are on Facebook and the web, writing up some copy for the event, using the venue's provided text, including the SLurl and image I've created. This gets posted to about 300,000+ group and network members between all Facebook groups, G+, Second Friends, Twitter, etc. This doesn't mean a guarantee of attendance, but at least we know we are doing our part. At the same time, we are also giving back to the venue by getting their name and brand in front of many of SL members who may not be aware of the venue. This will also possibly garner more attention to your event and might offer you better attendance.

I urge you to not rely on the venue's promotions alone, who are hopefully doing their own promotions for their events, but to rely on yourself and your manager (if you have one) to get the word out about your own shows. These are our Second Life careers and personally, I enjoy having SL as a platform to get my music out there. So why not use it to the best of our abilities and at the same time, help the venues who are helping us.

Here is part of the routine that Brandy and I go through before every Second Life show I perform:

• Create an event "promotional image" for each show. It's good to use your picture but even better to consistently add your own logo on EVERY promo.

• Post on all Facebook Groups (using the venue provided text along with your own)
You can easily include a photo (better to use the promotional image as mentioned above) for the event, and the SLurl.

• Create an event on Second Friends (using the venue provided text along with your own and your promo image). Second Friends is FREE! You can register with your Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, or LinkedIn credentials and start listing your events, create your own fan group, post unlimited pics and videos, etc. You can even send the event with a few clicks to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. !

• Hit G+
Google's community is huge! PERIOD!

• Twitter
Sure Twitter only allows 140 characters but even at that limit, you can write up a short and sweet post about your event, including the SLurl or a link back to a Facebook event.

There are more things you can do, and of course this can apply to other promotions in both SL and RL that you are trying to market, but if you are doing these few things in the least, your chances of higher attendance will increase and you will also be helping the venue who is helping YOU. 

If you'd like to read more on the matter, Brandy has also posted some very useful info on her own blog here - BRANDY'S BLOG

I wish you the very best of luck and success.

January 5, 2013

Fun and One Bad Apple!

Last night I decided to perform a special show for the Second Life group "Friends of Mankind" which I started as a fan group when I first started performing in SL in November 2006. Since that time, the group has grown into thousands and has become much more than a fan group, it is my family, WE are a family, and the group's premise is no longer as simple as the "fan group" which was my initial intent.

Over the years, many have joined our family, not only to get word of my shows and events, but to be part of a group of people from all over the world who enjoy each others' company no matter what we do. Most of the time we're laughing about something or another and the mood of the family even in group chat is always great!

2012 showed many new people joining and many long time members still sticking around. It also was a great year for my Second Life music career where I performed probably close to a thousand live events.

At the end of 2012 I started thinking and decided I wanted to do something nice for our group who have been so amazing to me in 2012, so I decided to plan an event just for us. It would be an all acoustic Pink Floyd show which I would perform live. The event would be for our family and anyone else who cared to join the always fun and often sarcastic insanity of the group.

Brandy (Kalli Birman) and I went to work to set everything up including setting the group to "Open Enrollment" (so anyone could join easily and free as always) and placing a group joiner outside Club Graffiti, which Brandy parceled off and set to the "Friends of Mankind" group. Again, since I wanted to do something in appreciation for the generous support I had received in 2012 specifically from our family group. Now with the club set to the group, only those in our group could get in, or those who arrived who weren't in the group, could join simply with one click on the group joiner already set outside the club.

Showtime had arrived and I was floored to see how many people attended. Since I love Pink Floyd, it was a really cool and very special night for me, and I thought it would be a nice way to say thanks to our family. After the show,
Brandy and I got on voice, as we do after almost every show, and she told me about something that happened during the show. It apparently began in public chat, luckily out of my chat range, and came from a woman who started swearing in local chat left and right for "having this event for the group only" or something along those lines. Brandy respectfully told her that she and everyone else are welcome to join the group and enjoy the concert. (There were about 30-40 or so new people who did just that, without one negative remark or requests for help on how to join). What gets me REALLY is that even after Brandy explained why I was doing this concert for the family group, she went off and began cursing quite nastily. I mean WTF? Brandy said she could join the group and come in and being the pro that she is, Brandy of course kept her cool and took the conversation into private chat. From what Brandy tells me, this woman continued her abusive tirade until Brandy had no choice but to remove her from the event so as to keep this woman from disrespecting our guests at the club, turning a peaceful and fun event into something else.

So why am I even mentioning this? Well it's a matter of respect. No matter what medium we are conversing on, no matter how a misunderstanding or voiced opinion is communicated, I think it's of great importance that we remember to be respectful to others. On chat conversations, it's very hard to assume what the other person's inflections or tone might be and thus what their true meaning or intent might be, so we need to be even that much more careful and respectful until we can REALLY know.

For this, I want to express my pride in our family group, not for creating it, but for being PART of it. In the years since I first created the group, we have NEVER had such an incident - even though I have done Group Only events in the past - and it makes me that much more appreciative of the support, not only for my shows and music career, but support of each other as PEOPLE, from all over the world, who have come together, whose paths have crossed for whatever reason and who share time, respectfully, to enjoy and have some fun, to create and communicate.

So taking all this into consideration, I want to express my love and thanks to all those in our group. Thank you for a great 2012 and I look forward to the continued friendships and bonds we've created. - U.S. All News