Zoe & Amanda Respond


From: Amanda Palmer
Subject: Re: Palmer & Gaiman

hey bob

thanks for Getting It.

you know, i had such struggles marrying neil because of just this kind of imagined criticism freaking me out.
love won in the end, and i’ve actually grown so much as a person getting over all that fear of people judging the f*** out me.
in the beginning of our relationship, i had a really hard time letting him pay for anything because of just this kind of stuff…
the fear that i’d lose my independence, my cred.

you said it in your first email: i had my eyes on the prize. and part of my plan was being finally independent of any man. of anyone.

when my best friend, anthony, went down with cancer a few months ago and i cancelled an entire two legs of tour, i had to face it.
deciding to let my husband totally float me for a while so i could stay home and take care of anthony was the moment that changed me.

and i don’t regret it.

would i have been able to cancel my tour if i hadn’t had neil to fall back on? i don’t know. maybe. but probably not as easily.

did my kickstarter do better because neil and his fanbase boosted the signal? no doubt.
is it ok with me? helllll yeah. thanks, honey! he was there, toasting with me, my fanbase, and everybody else who worked so hard to make it all happen.
he’s part of the whole family and the story.

i’m currently cranking on my upcoming TED talk (and freaking out about it) and it’s so funny, it’s all wrapped up with this.

i’d love to know if there’s a married person out there who hasn’t worried about the the financial imbalances, the power imbalances, the way people judge your relationship.
so much of my connection with my fans – and now neil – has been about getting to the point where i CAN allow people to help me and receive the help mindfully, carefully.

help comes in a so many forms: money, energy, love, care…it’s endless.

a lot of artists i know are terrified to ask for help, for fear it’ll make them look weak.
there’s a lot of shame around it.

the strongest artists (and people) i know are the ones who know how to ask for help, boldly. and receive help, gracefully.
the ones who don’t….look unhappy to me.

and a respectful clarification:

i, for one, didn’t ever become a rock star because i wanted to get LAID.
i did it because i wanted to get LOVED.

but looks like it’s working out just fine.
i’m getting both 🙂




From: Zoe Keating
Subject: Re: New York Times On Streaming

I’m totally asking for it by replying, but how can I resist? Plus my toddler is throwing up every hour, so there is no sleep tonight.

As the artist featured in this NYTimes article, I feel horribly misrepresented and I have to straighten out a few things.

I got into the commenting-on-Spotify business last year when it seemed that no one was questioning all their marvelous marketing materials. I felt like it was my civic duty to point out that:

1) the streaming payouts are stacked against unlabeled artists (ie. majors have a stake and get a share of the ad revenue)

2) Psy-style uber-popularity is not the only model out there. The millions and millions of streams needed to makeup for sales are not ever going to be a reality for non-mainstream music, but that does not mean anyone should throw in the towel.

I decided to go the unlabeled route when my brand of cello music didn’t spark much excitement in the people I appealed to (unless I added vocals to it, said one exec). The first year or so without my tech-job-cushion was rocky, but I’ve found the economics of no-middlemen to be good. I’m not mega direct-to-fan like my friend Amanda Palmer but I’m not struggling by any definition. It takes a lot of work but I can support my family on music, take them with me on tour and don’t worry much about money. I don’t feel a need to be any larger. Actually, I don’t see how I can be much larger…. when I’m not sleeping or being with my son, every second is spent on making and performing music or doing music biz. But I’m truthfully, extremely happy and thankful, exactly where I am right now. (The MUSIC I’m never satisfied with that though….always iterating, tweaking, expanding, iterating, iterating, iterating).

I don’t want to be an anomaly. I want others to get into this place too. If you’re fringe, do it yourself! I started posting my earnings online not to whine but because I realized that few people, even artists themselves, seem to have any facts about how the money actually works.

Without the internet my unlabeled career would not be possible and I’m very bullish on the future. I’m not against streaming by any means. I’ve put my music wherever someone might hear it….including onto filesharing sites (gasp). That said, companies do not have our (artists) best interests built into their business plans. Perhaps not maliciously…. they just might not know what our interests are. I feel it my responsibility to educate these companies as to what we need…in order to make the music industry work for everyone, high, mid and low.

If we don’t like the world I live in, it’s up to us to either change it… or change our perception of it. Beyond contributing music, I feel like can’t do much about pointless wars, or climate change, or mass shootings, or all the other huge issues in the news every day, but I feel like I might be able to do something about this tiny little streaming thing. I’ve been engaging with these issues with the goal of encouraging digital music services to incorporate the needs of artists, not just record labels. What are those needs? Linking of avid listeners with artists for concert tickets, merch, music purchases, etc; crowdsourcing tours; providing listener stats and location data, maybe even emails; your idea here, etc, etc. Lift all the little boats. If this quixotic strategy doesn’t work, then I guess I’ll have to change my perception instead.

I was disappointed in the NYTimes article….like I’m often disappointed in the press. A 30 minute interview full of nuance squashed down to one sentence taken out of context and used to prove some other point. I know, I know, I’m naive. I’ll keep trying.

Thanks much, Zoe

Comments are closed