Back in April Mixcloud rushed to meet the demands of the thousands of DJs locked down across the globe by launching a 100% legal live streaming platform. This was something that had been in the pipeline over at Mixcloud but due to the pandemic and the increase in demand for live streaming, they pushed out a beta version of their live streaming platform Mixcloud Live.
Initially, Mixcloud offered a 3 months free trial for anyone wishing to try this shiny new feature out. Of course, that was an offer we couldn't refuse, so we jumped in feet first and snapped up the offer. We have now been using Mixcloud Live since April so we now feel qualified to offer an honest review of the platform. Granted Mixcloud Live is still in beta which means it is not yet refined and polished so we will take that into account.
In the early days of Mixcloud Live, it was a little glitchy and there wasn't a fixed stream key. This meant that each time you went live on the platform you would have the painstaking task of entering a new stream key. This wasn't ideal for us as a radio station with multiple DJs. There was also no way to listen to the stream other than via a link that could be shared. But now months later Mixcloud has added live streams to their mobile apps as well as fixed the issues with the stream key by adding a fixed key.
But let's not focus too much on what was but rather what is currently. So in the present day, Mixcloud Live is still running in beta with more features slowly being rolled out. But there are things it lacks and things that need to be tweaked still. Let me break them down:
The App - You can receive push notifications on your phone each time someone you follow on the platform goes live. We have noticed that these sometimes don't come through. Also, there is no way to search for a particular live stream as there is no search feature as of yet. However, we do believe that you can search on a desktop.
Stream Archiving - This was something that was always going to happen from the start, the ability to save your live set to your Mixcloud account. Mixcloud made it clear from the word go that this would be audio-only due to the legalities and license issues around archived live videos containing music. This has recently been rolled out but if like us you are using Mixcloud for a radio station, there are now quite a few on the platform, We have found that shows are merged into one audio file rather than a separate file despite the fact there was a disconnection of the stream during the changeover.
Downtime - Over the past few weeks we have noticed that there has been a lot of outages and downtime over at Mixcloud. This has affected our ability to stream on the platform several times. But this could be down to them implementing new features and rolling out updates. Remember this is still in its infancy.
No Mobile Streaming - There is no way to stream directly from the app as of yet. You will need another software or app to stream to Mixcloud from.
No Embed feature - At present, there is no way to embed your Mixcloud stream into a website.
Audience - While this is more an observation we have noticed that Mixcloud is very DJ dominated and by that, we mean that it is DJs uploading mixes and live streaming to other DJs. There is no real audience as such. There is very little in the way of people just there to listen to music and discover new DJs. The live streaming feature requires you to bring your audience from other platforms. It is also very competitive as there are now 1000's of DJs live on the platform at any one time. Viewing figures vary but are relatively low.
So let's get on to the good stuff...
No copyright issues - The advantage Mixcloud has over other platforms is that it is 100% legal to stream your DJ set from. It does this by paying royalties to the artists whose music features in the streams.
Inexpensive - Although Mixcloud live is not free it is not the most expensive legal platform to live stream your set on. A subscription will set you back £9 per month.
To Sum up:
All in all, Mixcloud has the potential to dominate the live streaming world but for now, we feel that it is lacking some major features, functionality, and stability. I am sure that Mixcloud Live will continue to evolve over the next few months and it will be interesting to see what they come up with next. But for now, it has a long way to go in our opinion.
Have you used Mixcloud Live? What are your thoughts? What features would you like to see in the future? What do you think will happen to live streaming once clubs and festivals return?