Denison Witmer briefly gave up touring around the time his child was born but wanted to continue performing. So he launched a "Holiday / Baby On The Way Tour 2011" and began giving one-on-one and small group single song concerts via Skype.
Recently he returned to public performing, but has kept the Skype concerts in his repertoire as the "Everywhere At Once Tour 2012" featuring a song and conversation. It sounds like a fairly small part of his music making but it's an interesting case to consider.
Max Blau recently booked a Skype show with Denison Witmer. He actually played two songs, I guess because Blau was writing it up for Mashable. Blau described Witmer as making the:
"seemingly impersonal parts of an online experience disappear. In doing so, he’s created a unique and endearing type of performance — one done from the comforts of his kitchen."
Blau seems surprised that the one-on-one experience added a "sense of intimacy that can’t be found in a traditional concert." It also involved him in a way different from a regular concert since he couldn't just blend into a crowd.
Witmer and his wife had their child late last year:
"When she gave birth to our son, I had to turn down a tour...I was fine with doing that. I still wanted to play shows. I thought there had to be another way, and this was a nice compromise to keep performing and keep my voice healthy, keep playing guitar."
And so he began the "1 song and conversation" via Skype shows for $25 which he continues to do though he's also returned to doing regular shows. Fans buy a concert via the web, a time and date are arranged via email and the connection is made via Skype with a bit of conversation and the performance of a song chosen prior to the event:
"Limited to 1 song performance, 10 (give or take) minutes song/chat time combined."
Witmer has done about 20 shows this way and it's clearly an experience more for superfans. From his website you can see he's put out a number of albums and has apparently built a strong enough fanbase to have some superfans.
In addition to touring at traditional venues, it turns out he has a history of performing in alternative venues, including a recording session at a chapel that is now available for free online. He's also released Volumes 1 and 2 of Live In Your Living Room:
"In October and November 2010, Denison Witmer performed a series of living room concerts. His desire was to, as he states, 'eliminate the stage from the concert equation and get to know my audience first hand.' The result is this intimate collection of songs, stories, and conversation with his fans."
So Skype concerts seem like a natural extension of his personal approach to performing. However one wonders what he might be able to accomplish with larger audiences on the web using Skype or solutions like ChatWithTheBand or StageIt.
- ChatWithTheBand Monetizes Artist Video Events With Virtual Goods
- StageIt Review: A Free Streaming Video Service for Live Performances
Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and music industry resources at Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.