Posts Tagged ‘Zoe Keating’

Zoë Keating live ABC National radio

November 10, 2013

Haunting cello from Zoë Keating.

On-demand touring

June 27, 2013
Zoe Keating in concert at St Giles

Zoe Keating in concert at St Giles

TALK about the music industry these days is fairly grim. More people may be listening to more music than ever before, but no one seems to know how to make money out of the business. So what can be done about it? This was the question before the entrepreneurs and developers who gathered recently at the SF MusicTech Summit, a twice-yearly event in San Francisco.

Much conversation was devoted to improving the live music experience. Fans still crave going to shows, yet increased digital access has led to slumps in live concert attendance. Complacency is a factor (why leave the house when music is readily available from the web?), but many complain that the process of acquiring tickets is increasingly frustrating. Among this sea of optimistic entrepreneurs, developers, coders and flaks was Zoe Keating (pictured), a cellist and one of the few musicians to speak at the event. Her story is a hopeful one. Ms Keating has criticised streaming services for how little they pay in royalties; she reported on her blog that she averages $0.0033 per play on Spotify. Yet Ms Keating is not struggling to pay the mortgage on her Northern California home. She nets between $200,000 and $300,000 annually, largely through live performance.

It helps that Ms Keating performs alone, which cuts down costs. She has no band, no manager, and no entourage on the payroll. Instead she tends to tour with her son, her husband and a nanny; sometimes there is someone to sell merchandise. But much of her success can be attributed to her skills as a data miner (alongside her cello-playing). By digging through the analytics on her various social networks, she determines where her fans are and what songs they like. A music-sharing site like SoundCloud allows Ms Keating to see which countries yield the most clicks. SoundCloud also lets users leave comments on songs, so musicians can determine fan preferences and perhaps alter their set lists accordingly.

It didn’t take Ms Keating long to see that she had fans in London. So she independently booked a show last year at a 100-capacity jazz club in East London called The Vortex, which she sold out. Ms Keating then approached Songkick, a London-based live-music site, to help her book a follow-up London show for June 20th at St Giles-in-the-Fields, a church in Camden that holds between 200 and 300 people. Songkick recently developed a program called Detour, a crowdfunding site that lets music fans place advance orders for tickets for a possible concert. This takes the risk out of booking venues in far-off places for musicians, and fans are only charged if the show goes ahead. No TicketMaster, no scalpers, no long list of surcharges. Ms Keating’s show is now sold out (tickets are £15). After paying for venue rental, her flight and equipment, she will walk away with somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000, perhaps a bit more, says Ian Hogarth, a co-founder of Songkick.

Services like Detour have determined that fans are more than willing to leave the house for a live-music experience, if someone will simply organise that experience well. Detour tries to streamline the ticket-selling process by reducing how many people take a cut (Songkick takes 10% of Ms Keating’s London show earnings). “Instead of waiting, fans say ‘here are our credit cards, we’re in.’ Artists and fans are more directly connected,” Mr Hogarth says.

This helps independent musicians like Ms Keating, who have a good fan base but lack a manager or promotions team. She may be tech-savvy, but venues don’t always like working directly with artists. And programs like Detour allow Ms Keating to book more intimate shows, which work better with her music and personality, rather than one big concert, which is what promoters prefer.

Yet artists now have to decide how far they’re willing to go to keep fans happy. Asking people to put up a credit card for an intimate show in a church is one thing, but what if fans want backstage access, or a private concert? Ms Keating doesn’t sing lyrics, but between songs she often talks about how she wrote them or what they mean to her. She avoids telling the same story twice, to keep things fresh, but one fan approached her after a show saying, “You changed your story. I wanted to hear the story you told last time.” “That I’m not sure I can do,” Ms Keating says.

Published in The Economist.

AS Zoe Keating tells it, the music business is not all doom and gloom.

The dinosaur record labels are losing out, for far too long they have ripped off the artists, ripped off the fans.

There are alternatives.

Sells CDs at your gigs. Mingle with you fans, talk to them. As Will Todd did following Mass in Blue at Guildford Cathedral last week.

Use crowdsourcing, community supported music, not only to fund your albums, but also as Zoe Keating has shown can be done, to finance tours as well. You do not know where a gig will be successful. Instead of you going to them, let the fans invite you to come to them.

Release on bandcamp.

Make effective use of social media.

I disagree with the premise folks do not wish to go to concerts. If something is worth going to, folks will make the effort. Often it is the not knowing.

I only wish I had known about the concert, I would have loved to have been there, but I only found out after the concert thanks to Imogen Heap.

Top Story The YouTube Express (Thursday 27 June 2013).

The Happiest Place

September 13, 2012
I want happiness

I want happiness



The purpose of life is the expansion of happiness. It is the goal of every other goal. Ben Henretig has embarked on an ambitious project to document a country and culture that has embraced Happiness as a part of its national policy. — Deepak Chopra

It has been known for at least twenty years that once people reach a certain level of material well being their quality of life does not improve, it deteriorates.

Once this level of material wealth is reached, growing GDP becomes meaningless, we do so counter to our quality of life, counter to environmental degradation, growing gaps between rich and poor, increase in crime and mental and family and societal breakdown.

We hear a lot about wealth creation, that we must not tax the rich else they will go elsewhere. What we do not hear is creating no place for them to hide.

We do not have wealth creation, we have wealth accumulation and vulture capitalism.

Up until the 1950s, we had industrialists who created wealth, they built the railways, made cars, produced jeans. Now they create complex financial instruments that rob Peter to pay Paul, they avoid tax, they fire not hire people.

We see our towns and cities destroyed, the same High Street names in every town, soulless Clone Towns. Rapacious corporations like Costa Coffee.

A nuclear meltdown as we saw in Japan, increases GDP due to the cost of the clean up.

Four travellers travelled across the mountain Kingdom of Bhutan. They found a people, a country, that valued their culture, valued their environment, that had a high happiness Index.

They filmed what they saw. They are now wanting to turn what they saw into a documentary, The Happiest Place. They are using crowd sourcing to raise the money via Kickstarter.

Music for the film will be by Imogen Heap and Zoe Keating.

Solo artists in music

July 29, 2012

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. — Walter Bagehot

Bass player Steve Lawson and cellist and composer Zoe Keating discuss what it is to be solo musicians, making your way in the music businesses

Not a career, music is something you do because you love music, because it is fun and you enjoy what you are doing

Both Steve Lawson and Zoe Keating had played as session musicians and with other people, but as their solo work developed, the other work dried up.

As a solo artist you get the opportunity to work on collaborations and projects with other people.

One advantage of being a solo artist, apart from being able to do your own thing, is that you get to keep all the money.

Danger of lack of cross fertilization. Important to meet and collaborate with other musicians for new ideas else become stale.

Stairway to Heaven on bass to piss people off in music shops. Now that has to be a must on bandcamp or soundcloud.

Learn to be like Santiago in The Alchemist, learn to follow your dreams. Learn to grasp opportunities as they arise.

Into The Trees – Zoe Keating

Live So Far – Steve Lawson and Lobelia

Into The Trees

April 14, 2012
Into the Trees - Zoe Keating

Into the Trees - Zoe Keating

Zoe Keating, a girl and her cello.

I am very much reminded of Akhnaten by Philip Glass.

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