When the COVID-19 pandemic swept the U.S. in March 2020, Questlove was one of thousands of musicians that were suddenly unable to safely play live gigs for their fans. As an extremely prolific DJ and virtual musicologist, Questlove, along with his managers Shawn Gee and Dawn White, quickly jumped into action and devised a plan to continue connecting with fans around the world.
Working in tandem with DJ D-Nice and enlisting the technical expertise of Quarterlab, Questlove kicked off a nightly monetized live stream DJ set to reach his followers on Instagram as well as subscribers to The Roots’ YouTube channel. We immediately recognized there was an unprecedented opportunity to bring his music and message to a much larger audience, so we quickly expanded the strategy to include simultaneous streams to Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We remotely trained Questlove’s staff to launch a professional live video production in less than a week, while also rapidly developing and optimizing his presence across multiple social media platforms.
We quickly found that each platform had its own strengths and weaknesses, but were particularly impressed to see some of the most devoted and passionate fans coming from Questlove’s least familiar service – Twitch. We had created The Roots’ Twitch presence days earlier and tailored it with custom branding, emotes, badges, and loyalty incentives to drive fan engagement. Questlove became an instant hit on the platform as he immediately entered the top 10 most watched music channels and had the second fastest growing artist channel on Twitch in April 2020. His presence has continued to evolve there as over 2MM unique viewers have watched hundreds of thousands of hours of his live DJ sets on Twitch alone.
Within two months of launching the Questlove Quarantine DJ series his live streams gained over 8MM views and fans had watched over 600k hours of his DJ sets across a variety of platforms. Almost a year into the pandemic, Questlove still livestreams on a weekly basis and has helped set the standard for hip-hop channels on Twitch.