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It’s 2020 so of course there are now fake artist livestreams

There was good news for fans of musician Zoe Keating in late August: one of her cancelled gigs was being replaced by a ticketed livestream. The only downside: Keating knew nothing about it.

It had been created as an event on Facebook, with the people behind it taking fans money in the full knowledge that there would not be any performance to watch.

Music Technology Policy has the full story, including the unhelpful response from Facebook: the event did not violate its community standards.

A group including the Artist Rights Alliance has now gone straight to the top and written a letter to the US attorney general Bill Barr and the chair of the Federal Trade Commission asking them to investigate and “protect consumers, music fans, and artists from Facebook-driven fraud”. Ouch.

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Zoë Keating and David Lowery talk streaming, fans and music artists

Besides being musicians, Zoë Keating and David Lowery have been two of the most prominent voices for artists’ rights in the streaming era.

Solo artist Keating has regularly published her streaming income data to further transparency around payouts for artists. She was an early adopter of Bandcamp, went public with her concerns about YouTube’s artist contracts in early 2015, and was one of the first artists to talk about the potential of blockchain technology for music.

Lowery combines his music career (Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven) with teaching at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, running artist-rights blog The Trichordist – which publishes its own annual table of average per-stream rates – and also filed a class action lawsuit against Spotify on behalf of independent songwriters in late 2015. The lawsuit was settled in 2017.

Earlier this month, Music Ally brought Keating and Lowery together (via Zoom) for a conversation about streaming and artists. Specifically, in the light of recent public discussions about how the model pays off for musicians – #BrokenRecord in the UK for example – how they think streaming could and should improve.

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Artist Zoë Keating reveals latest Spotify per-stream payouts

Independent musician Zoë Keating has been one of the key sources for anyone trying to understand the music-streaming economy for many years now.

She first published her sales and streaming data (income included) in August 2012, following up with updates in August 2013 and March 2015 (among others – these were the ones we reported on). She’s preparing for another such publication by the end of 2019, but yesterday she dropped a stat on Twitter which is already sparking discussion.

“A deposit appeared in my account today and so I am sharing it as an artist data point…even though few people give a hoot about this anymore,” wrote Keating. “Sept 2019. 206,011 Spotify streams. $753. $0.003655144628199 per stream.” (0.37 cents per stream, for ease of comprehension.)

Posted inAnalysis, News

Zoe Keating says YouTube is threatening to block her channel

Did you think the rows over YouTube contracts and indie musicians would end once the company struck a deal with licensing agency Merlin? Think again.

Independent musician Zoe Keating has gone public with a claim that YouTube is threatening to block her channel if she does not sign up to terms as unappealing as those infamously presented to indie labels last year.

“The message was firm: I have to decide. I need to sign on to the new Youtube music services agreement or I will have my Youtube channel blocked,” she wrote in a blog post this morning.

Posted inAnalysis, News

Bandcamp’s Ethan Diamond: ‘Fans want to support the artists they love’

When musician Zoe Keating published details of her 2013 earnings in February, most of the media coverage predictably focused on how little she was making from streaming services.

Keating made $38.2k from sales on Apple’s iTunes Store last year, then $25.6k from Bandcamp and $11.6k from Amazon. Her streaming income was much less: $3.3k from Pandora, $1.8k from Spotify and $1.2k from YouTube.

The real story here was more about how much Keating was making on Bandcamp, selling music direct to her fans. It was a reminder that for artists who have worked hard at fostering those relationships, Bandcamp can be a significant source of income.