A guide to going virtual for artists and instructors

Instagram Live vs YouTube Live vs Zoom

Instagram Live


  • It directly taps into the instructors direct users base. The more followers the instructor has have the more viewers they get. However, remember, a high number of viewers does not necessarily mean a high amount of revenue in a live streaming event.
  • It’s very easy to set up (as long as you have an instagram account) and going live can happen with a simple push of a button.
  • There is no real preparation necessary other than the initial marketing.
  • There is no limit to the number of viewers it can support, the only limitation is the number of followers the host has.
  • Since it’s open and public it’s very easy for people to stumble into the live stream and take part in it.
  • It’s free.


  • Only has a one way video communication model (2 counting ability to request to be part of the instagram live event), where lots of people can see the host as well as an invited party. Communication from the viewers to host is done by chat and there is minimal face to face interaction. This means it’s less intimate.
  • The instructor needs to have the instagram mobile app to host a live event. The event is typically viewed only through the mobile app and not the browser. However, I have seen situations where people have connected the mobile device to an external screen.
  • The viewers needs to have an Instagram account to view the Instagram Live event, this means if the audience is not on instagram, then the instructor doesn’t have a way to reach them.
  • Since it’s on the app, any interruptions such as a phone call, or accidentally taping away from the app removes the viewer from the stream.
  • As it’s very easy to gain an audience on the live streaming event, the turnover of viewers can be high as well and it can be hard to know who stuck with the lesson for the duration of the stream.
  • Instagram Live is usually public (or limited to all of the hosts followers), so can be tough to set a Paywall other than the Pay What You Can model.
  • There is no link for the live event (other than the profile username) so harder to share with people who don’t have the app.

Potential Revenue Model

  • Since everything is public, the revenue model for this is the pay as you go strategy.

YouTube Live


  • If the instructor has a high number of subscribers, then they have a potentially high number of viewers who might stumble into the live event.
  • It is easy to set up and go live and have the option to be truly public i.e. any one with the link can view.
  • As it’s a link based system, the viewers do not need to have a YouTube account to follow along, and can be viewed from anything with a browser e.g. mobile phones, laptops, tv etc.
  • As opposed to Instagram, there is a dedicated link for the live event which is dynamically generated.
  • It has an option to have a private stream. This means setting up a pay wall is relatively easy, in that an instructor can only share the link to people who have paid for it.
  • No limit to number of viewers.
  • It’s free


  • One way communication model in that you can’t really see what your audience is doing so can be a bit impersonal as conversations happen via the chat.
  • A bit harder to market than Instagram which has the stories feature making it easier to go viral.
  • Any one with the link can view the class.
  • A bit harder for people to stumble into the session, but also people who come on the session are more likely to stay.

Potential Revenue Model

  • This can work with the Pay What You Can strategy especially if the stream is public.
  • Users can set up a Paywall if the links are private, where links can be shared once payment is done.



  • Supports a multi channel visual communication model. This means the host can view and chat to the viewers and the viewers can chat to the host as well.
  • The fact you can see people means instant feedback with more information so there is time to correct people’s movement. Also can imply a greater sense of community thus can be closer to a class room setting.
  • Links can be private and can be protected by passwords. It means setting up a Paywall can be a bit easier.
  • The fact that the host can see the viewers, means they can keep track of who paid or not and have the ability to kick people out of the stream.
  • They have a mobile, desktop browser and a dedicated desktop application, so your viewers have different options to join. From my experiments with an instructor it seems the dedicated desktop and mobile applications are at a significantly better quality than the browser application.
  • They have a free model that has a limit of 100 participants and 40 minutes of group meetings, however the paid option increases the meeting duration to 24 hours and is only $ 20 / month.
  • Lends itself better to generating consistent revenue.
  • As the links can be generated before hand, it can be shared to users who are looking to join.


  • A bit harder to set up than Instagram and YouTube.
  • If viewer is joining from the browser it’s easy, however if they choose the desktop or mobile app, the viewer needs to download this.
  • Due to the fact that viewers can see the host, and host the viewers, means a lot of data is transmitted and can imply a lower video quality
  • The free version is limited but can be good for getting started and shorter learning sessions.
  • Still largely untested in an instructor setting, however it’s well tested in a meeting setting.
  • Significant marketing needs to be done and there is no option of users stumbling into the meeting, however, it means users that are already in the meeting want to be there.

Potential Revenue Model

  • Host can set up a Paywall where links can be shared once payment is done.
  • Might be harder to justify a Pay What You Can model for zoom

Revenue Model

  • The Paywall model, this only works if the link to the class is private. In this model the link is only released to the viewer who has paid for the private class.

Accepting Payments

The main ways of accepting payments from experience is either through an e-transfer or a payment portal such as PayPal.

  • Share your link easily. Share your PayPal.Me link however you want to. In an email, a text message, on a chat or even on your business card.
  • Get paid fast. Friends, family and customers simply click the link, enter any amount, log in to PayPal and that’s it. The money usually arrives in your PayPal account in moments.


We have explored different options for hosting a virtual session. Depending on what you are looking for, this can be done either through Instagram Live, YouTube Live or Zoom.

Founder of dancelogue.com, merging AI and dance, as well as mbele.io, Feedback on demand, https://www.linkedin.com/in/markgituma/

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