NEW WAY FORWARD for INDEPENDENT ARTISTS

Zoë Keating earned more in A SINGLE HOUR on 2ndLine than in an entire year of Spotify + YouTube streams.


Last week, we had the true pleasure of hosting a show for Zoë Keating in our digital venue, and it was a remarkable success with exciting implications!

But first, a bit of background…

For those uninitiated, Zoë Keating is a one-woman orchestra, using a cello and a foot-controlled laptop to record layer upon layer of cello, creating intricate, haunting and compelling music. She makes music that SF Weekly called, “Swoon-inducing. Like taking a triple-shot of Absinthe before stepping outside of the bar just in time to see the sun exploding.”

In addition to being a unique and talented musician, Zoë is a bellwether among independent and DIY artists. By speaking out, writing, and publishing her revenues, she takes on the role of thought leader in the creative world, addressing questions of how artists will support themselves in the ever-shifting landscape of digital media and performance.

While at the height of her creative powers, Zoë is also a normal person with familial responsibilities, just like so many of us. She’s got a four-year-old child, and a husband who has been struck by metastatic cancer.

In a music world that now accepts as commonplace the logic that recordings should be given away for free to increase touring revenues, what are the consequences for artists who simply can’t or won’t spend their whole lives on the road? Talented artists like Zoë demand better solutions.

As a team with our hearts in the world of performance, we here at 2ndLine work everyday to deliver a new, delightful product and a collaborative business model that will help support these creators. Our goal is to give creators a chance to play ticketed shows without getting on a tour bus. And, to deliver an experience for fans that’s worth the price they choose to pay for admission!


Working in partnership with Zoë and San Francisco’s venerable dance institution ODC, we hosted an exclusive online rebroadcast of the ODC/Dance Summer Sampler, which featured performances by Zoë, ODC/Dance, Magik*Magik Orchestra, and the Pacific Boychoir Academy.

Just like the original performance, the 2ndLine screening was a benefit show to support Zoë’s husband’s treatment. What distinguished our version from the original was that anybody, anywhere could attend, and that Zoë and ODC’s Founder/Artistic Director Brenda Way were online to provide live commentary and engage in Q&A.

Once all was said and done, the 2ndLine screening was tremendously successful:

  • We more than doubled the Summer Sampler audience;
  • We reached viewers around the globe;
  • We facilitated meaningful interactions between artists and viewers; and
  • We generated more than $3,800 in ticket revenue for Zoë!**

** That’s more than Zoë earned in all of 2013 from YouTube and Spotify combined!

Don’t get us wrong. YouTube and Spotify are amazing platforms that have important roles in the music technology ecosystem. They’re not going away any time soon, nor do we want them to. But, we believe there is a strong demand for something new that allows creators to connect with their audience and make a living. The strong results we saw from Zoë Keating’s show, and that we see working with all types of creators each and every week, confirm our conviction.

The Zoë Keating Benefit with ODC/Dance was a perfect fit for 2ndLine, and we hope it provides inspiration to thousands of other independent creators around the world.

After all, creators can use 2ndLine in any number of ways, from supporting a marketing campaign for an album release or upcoming performance, to adding an encore show at the end of a tour or run of performances, to filling a hole in their performance calendar, to supporting a crowdfunding, capital, or fundraising campaign.

We invite all artists and creators to join our 2ndLine!

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