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Musicians forced to stream because of COVID

Ketan Narotam, Police Reporter

In Jacksonville, local musicians are forced to get creative online by streaming on the popular live content platform, Twitch.tv, due to COVID-19.

Ricky Sharp is a student at UNF majoring in journalism and minoring in religious studies and theater. Sharp works part-time as a DJ and electronic musician on the weekends. Before COVID-19, Sharp had no problems getting booked at local venues such as the popular music hall,  Rain Dogs, located in Riverside.

Ricky Sharp (left) performing live with Alan Tutwiler (right) at Rain Dogs. Photo courtesy of Brittany Davis.

However, that all changed once the pandemic struck. 

Since the start of the pandemic, Sharp has yet to find live work, which he heavily relied on to help pay his bills. According to a Billboard report, musicians saw their income drop by 61 percent in 2020. 

“It’s been difficult, but I had to do something to help pay the bills,” Sharp said, “I was like, hey, I love video games. Why not combine my love with video games and music?”

This realization prompted Sharp to create the Twitch channel: CPUFood. The transition to Twitch wasn’t easy. Sharp explains it took a while for him to get adjusted to the streaming environment. 

“The hardest part was getting used to the streaming environment and figuring things out on Twitch,” Sharp said, “Through trial and error, I was able to figure what works and what doesn’t.”

Streaming consistently three to four times a week has allowed Sharp to build up a small following on Twitch. 

In his streams, Sharp showcases his ability to DJ with his love for video games such as World of Warcraft and Skyrim. This combination has helped Sharp set his channel apart from others and be successful on Twitch.

 Ricky Sharp streaming the video game World of Warcraft on Twitch. Photo by Ketan Narotam.
Ricky Sharp’s Streaming setup. Photo courtesy of Ricky Sharp.

Since the start of the pandemic, streaming platforms such as Twitch and Youtube have recently seen an uptick in viewership. According to a Statista report, views on Twitch have increased by 10 percent in 2020 and streaming on Youtube has increased by 15 percent. Streaming has also generated $100 million in additional revenue for dance/electronic musicians in 2020, Billboard reports.

You can find Ricky Sharp on Twitch at Twitch.tv/cpufood. 

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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