I have very mixed feelings about Chew.tv shutting down. Slipmat has a long history with Chew, dating back to 2006 when Mixify (which was the inspiration for Slipmat) closed down after it was acquired by Chew. Slipmat has always been developed by and for the community and we welcome the competition as it’s very healthy for the ecosystem.
There are lots of places to do live streaming nowadays but I firmly believe that Slipmat is hands down the best streaming platfom for DJs who are serious about growing their fanbase. With this post I want to warmly welcome the Chew family to Slipmat and tell a bit about our history and our plans for the future.
Short History of Slipmat.io
Slipmat was born as a streaming platform in summer 2016. Back then the hottest live streaming platform for DJs was Mixify, but it’s development had slowed down considerably and as an active live streamer I wanted something much better for me and my listeners. In 2016 there were technical reasons why most live streaming sites sucked and we managed to pretty much dismiss all of them with a simple but powerful technical decision; we would not build our own streaming engine but instead use already available sites (like YouTube) for the audio/video stream and put all our focus instead on the related funtionality like chat, tipping, request system and analytics.
The hybrid model of combining external video service with awesome DJ-focused functionality worked really well and when Mixify got acuired by Chew later in 2006 we opened Slipmat for Chew users as well; you could use Chew as a source for your Slipmat live events. We later experimented with other third-party solutions as well and when YouTube went mad with their copyright restrictions we eventually started working on our own open source streaming engine (which is currently available for testing for all interested DJs).
The Future of Slipmat.io
The live streaming world has changed a lot in recent years. As almost every social medial platform now has live streaming abilities, the DJ-spesific features of Slipmat are more important than ever when you want to differ your show from the great masses and big generic services like Twitch and Facebook. At the moment, getting few random listeners for your shows is super easy on the big platforms but nurturing and growing a large fanbase that repeatedly finds your shows is getting extremely difficult, and on bigger platforms you need to pay for the visibility. Slipmat is different in that is designed to help you to grow and measure all aspects of your events so you can make informed decisions about marketing. Features like playlist publishing and the request system help differentiate your shows as DJ events instead of random live streams and also pull your listeners back again and again, this is something what we can offer that no other platform can.
Native streaming engine and third party access
Running and maintaining a native streaming engine in Web scale (meaning hundreds or thousands of users 24/7/365) is super hard. It also costs money as beefy servers, bandwith for streaming video and CDN-services aint cheap but I’m confident we can make this happen with community support. (This means active participation from both DJs and listeners.)
Our custom-built native streaming engine is currently in alpha testing (and open for interested DJs to join in) and the idea is to open source the final product so anyone can host their own server and use it with Slipmat (or power their own site with it). This, again, is something that in my view would help the community and also exactly the opposite most big players are doing.
The idea with our native stream engine is not to make something similar that you can already build in 15 minutes by yourself to host you and few of your friends, but to make a truly Web-scale server that can handle hundreds of listeners with pristine quality. This is not easy to do but it’s also in my opinnion only thing that makes sense if we want to compete with the big guys.
We’re still missing popular community-related features for DJs like groups and the forever-awaited festival planning tool. These are right now on highest priority as the streaming engine is nearing public beta. I want to make it easy to collaborate and work together both for individual events and for joined efforts like virtual festivals.
The more I see big platforms abusing their power and disregarding privacy of their users, the more I want Slipmat to go in a totally different direction. Openness and privacy are our core values and we want to be a green oasis amongst the dark swamp of walled gardens of social media sites. Web sites are just pieces of code running on a server somewhere, people using them is all that matters. I love our community and I want us to to show good example for others as well.
We already have a great (but very under-used) discussion board (the one You’re reading right now) and a community chat, but there are lots more we can do to connect our community even more. We’ve already experimented with fan-only content (text and video posts) and will probably offer more interactivity both locally here on site and pulled here from other sites as APIs become available. (Like said, platforms like Facebook and Instagram are walled gardens, it’s very difficult to get content out of them.) The main idea here is to make Slipmat a place where you would like to come instead of name your big social media here.
Innovative features for DJ live streams
Slipmat is built for DJs by DJs. We are truly a DJ site. Hence we also want to keep innovating in DJ-related features and lead the way instead of copying.
Our ticket list has at the moment over 250 open tickets, many if which are bugs and missing basic features but there are lots of new ideas waiting for to be implemented, too. There are super interesting stuff like realtime captioning videos for other languages and AI-powered analysis of chat that can easily be done with todays technology but is still quite far away for us just because the development time is so limited. (Before the community is willing to support the development, we need to just be very, very patient.)
As the site is built by DJs who actually are serious about live streaming we already have an edge on all other platforms. I’m just counting on the community to help us figure out what are the most interesting and worthwile things to do
Which leads us to the final point…
Your role — as a member of the community
Some people address me wrongly as the sole creator of Slipmat. I’m the founder, yes, and have been contributing most of the code, but the site has truly been built by the community. This is not my show, this is ours.
We have tens of active DJs here and hundreds of active listeners but I seem to be the most vocal. Especially during times like these when we’ve opened up more invites for DJs, I really would appreciate help from you. Every trivial answer I write here on Backstage, every email I write and every other thing I do someone — anyone — else could do is time away from the time I could spend coding and moving the site forward.
It’s natural that no one likes to read instructions and everyone espects things Just Work, but unfortunately Slipmat is not a ready product yet and we do have rough edges and plain bugs. Even non-experienced users can still help and especially the more experienced ones can be a huge help just by being active here on Backstage and on our brand new community chat.
Some concrete and easy tasks You can do to help the community:
- If you see a question here on Backstage or on community chat you know how to answer, answer it yourself!
- If you see a question here on Backstage or on community chat you don’t know how to answer, try searching Backstage for similar questions or documents that might help and link them as an answer. Over 80% of questions we have are due to fact that DJs don’t read (or understand) the documentation we already have.
- If you see a question that is clearly missing background or otherwise not properly written, post a link to How to report issues. Every second you save someone elses time goes forward to actually making this site better.
- Backstage and the community chat is more than support forum. We should have fun here, too! Feel free to open discussion by posting for example at News, DJ Talk or Community Talk forums.
- If you’re a new DJ here, study our features and try to make full use of them — your listeners will thank you Also, do remember that you can have your own private forum here for your fans and also your own channel in our community chat!
Some a bit less easy and more time consuming things You can do to help:
- If you are a designer, you can help with UI-side of things (one concrete example: we are in dire need for a proper color palette for more consistent look thoughout the site)
- If you are native speaker and/or fluent with written English, you can help in proofreading and rewording (and writing!) our documentation and tutorials
- If you are familiar and/or heavy user of social media sites like Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you can help by taking over our presence there
One last thing…
And lastly, do join our new community chat — let’s not let the fun end when the live events end!
Happy streaming and lots of love, and once more, welcome to Slipmat, Chew Family and all other DJs looking for a better streaming home!