My biggest musical influence. My dad. An early Fathers’ day Thanks!

People often ask me who my largest influences are, and I generally reply with the names of John Williams, John Carpenter, Vangelis and Tangerine Dream.   However, as I was driving this morning and reflecting on these things I came to realize it was truly none of these.

The first time I heard the music of John Williams was through the wonderful soundtrack music he has created, and in which I was initially introduced to in the mid to late 70’s.  You can read about that in my History of Musical influences here.  My dad took us to see Star Wars, and he had the soundtrack, along with other Williams soundtracks such as Close Encounters, Jaws, and others.

The first time I heard the music by The Cars, was while riding during a road trip with my father.  And as for Vangelis? Once again it was by listening to the soundtrack for Chariots of Fire, and the soundtrack for the Cosmos T.V. series which my dad also owned.

As for Tangerine Dream, once again it was because I was introduced to the movie Firestarter by my father, and immediately being hooked on the haunting opening (Crystal Voice) and the end credits track Charly the Kid.

And for John Carpenter.  In the early 80’s one Halloween we watched both Halloween I and II together, and I was hooked.

So I guess I would really have to say, my largest influence on my musical tastes and influence on the music I create would have to be my Father.

My father had a very wide range of musical tastes, and introduced me to music I’m not sure I would have heard if it were not for his vast collection of albums, soundtrack scores etc.

So thanks Dad!  Thank you for sewing a seed in me that has grown over time.  Thank you for encouraging me all these years.  Thanks for being the best dad ever.  You truly deserve it!  I’m fortunate to still have you with me.  Someone I know I can always count on.

Thanks Dad, for being the type of Father everyone hopes for.  Someone amazingly supportive and loving.  YOU sir are my inspiration.  You are everything I aspire to be!

Happy Fathers Day!

Your son, Keith.



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The facts about my streaming income and why I have a lot of respect for Lady Gaga.

I had a friend ask me the following question on Facebook and I think they were a bit shocked by my response.

The question was “If I played your music 24×7 for a month, how much would you actually get?”

And my answer was, “maybe $40 dollars“.

Well, that’s the direct answer to the question.  The full answer was this: “At an average of 0.004 cent(s) a stream, maybe $40 dollars. That is if you were to stream it on Spotify or Apple Music. For satellite radio, it would depend on the station and how often

If I figure an average of 4 minutes per song , that’s 15 songs an hour, which equates to 360 songs a day, for a total of 10,800 during a 30 day period. At 4/10 of a cent on average that’s about $43. Then of course the distributor gets its portion. So… about $40.

Now, the average that I came up with is the pooled average of the major streaming providers, such as Spotify and Apple Music.  Some pay more, some pay less, and it all depends on the duration of the play itself, along with if the consumer was a paid service consumer or using the free platform.  Overall it varies, but on average, from all the streaming sales I receive from all of the platforms, it comes out to be about 0.004 cents per stream.

If you take that average and apply it to my top song on Spotify as shown below:



You can see that through Spotify, my song V Feeling from Ambient Highways has a total of 1,768 plays for an approximate net income of $7.00 US dollars. For what it’s worth, as of April of this year, Ambient Highways, which is one of my best received album, has only netted me a total of about $250 US Dollars via Streaming, Digital Downloads, etc. across all platforms since it’s release in July of 2015.   I’m basing that value on actual sales data from Streaming and Digital downloads as of April 2017 from my sales analysis chart, and adding perhaps $40 to it that comes from people who have subscribed to me on Bandcamp, and a couple of other donations from folks.

I’m not detailing this to whine or complain, I’m just detailing some facts in case your curious. We are entering a world where the majority of music consumption is going to be wholly based on streaming services.  In fact, I’d say we are technically already there.

That isn’t to say though, that there isn’t money to be made from streaming revenue.  For instance, let’s take someone like Lady Gaga.  Use the following snapshot from Spotify as a reference:


So the title track from her album “The Cure” released on Spotify only a month and a half ago has brought in 79,160,215 streams.  At $0.004 cents per stream on average (Of course her average may be completely different depending on her labels deal with Spotify, etc), that comes to a total of about $316,640 US Dollars.  That’s almost 1/3 of a million dollars on ONE SONG ALONE after ONLY a month and a half.  I’m sure that’s not the total net that Lady Gaga is getting from that.  There is certainly a large portion that goes to the label, and surely she has to pay for her staff, etc.  But let’s say just pretend that on a pretty solid guess, she’s netting about 1/3rd of that herself or $100K US.  Not bad for only a month and a half, right?   It’s details like this that make me question the reasoning behind some other major players not wanting their music on the streaming services (such as ehem, Taylor Swift).  I mean c’mon… In a streaming world, there is definitely some income to be made from it.

So now let’s take the top 5 songs and sum up their stream counts as of today for Lady Gaga.  Again using the image above as reference, that’s 552,374,224 streams (552 million folks!) at an estimated average of $0.004 cents per stream equates to $2,209,496.90 in streaming revenue from Spotify.  Let’s apply the 1/3 factor to take care of her label and other expenses, which comes to $736,498.  Nearly 1 million US dollars on just the top 5 from Spotify.

Spotify was officially launched in 2008, and I’m unsure when Lady Gaga first showed up on the platform, but let’s assume at the same time. That’s also about the time that her album “The Fame” was released, in which included Poker Face which is one of the top 5 albums.    Let’s take that total of $2,209,496.90 from the top 5 songs, divided by the number of years Spotify has been officially launched and you come up with an average of $245,499 per year of streaming income. (Note, I’m positive that in the early years there wasn’t that much generated, and it has only increased over time, it’s just an average.).  Apply the safe guestimate of 1/3 that goes direct to her and you have $81,833 on average per year of estimated personal income.  Remember that’s ONLY for the top 5 songs, and ONLY from Spotify.

Ok, so I’m not a real fan of Lady Gaga.  Sure she has some catchy tunes here and there, but I’m generally not a big fan of pop music, but you have to have some respect for the fact that she’s certainly getting some solid income from streaming services.

Ok, so now with all of that said, at this stage in my music career I know I’m not going to make a living just by getting my music on the streaming platforms TODAY.  And I may never amass the number of streams that Lady Gaga receives, but I certainly won’t discount an opportunity to be heard on any streaming platform such as Spotify.  You never know WHERE you’ll find your audience.

In the mean time, I’m working on getting my music licensed for TV and Film, and if you are a follower of mine, you know my ultimate goal is to compose music for film for a living.  I’m just working on it one day at a time, and one thing at a time.  Always saying “Yes” until I can’t anymore.  You never know where that sudden spike in listeners may come from.  I have to think of creative ways that allow folks to help support these endeavors.  For instance, check out some of the ways you can help support me via my support page here!

As an artist, you are just going to have to accept the fact that this is the world these days, and there is certainly an income to be made from streaming music.  Would you rather make a fraction of a cent off of a stream of your music, rather than nothing at all from your music being pirated and given away free without your permission?

Take a step back, and look at the big picture.  Don’t give up hope.

I’ll take that fraction of a cent any day.

– Keith


Ambient Highways: Volume 3 – Issue 2

The Ambient Highways newsletter serves as a roll up of all the recent music related activity from me. The newsletter is also sent to fans on my mailing list. You can join now by clicking here!

What’s New

It’s near the end of May, and I realized I haven’t sent out the Ambient Highways rollup newsletter since Mid January, and a LOT has occurred since then.  So let me see if I can recap everything that’s happened since then for you.

  • I released my first The Dark Tower inspired album Gunslinger – A Musical Journey to The Dark Tower: Volume 1.
    • I’m so happy with how the album turned out.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very, very long time.  In fact, check out this post in August of 2008 where I was considering it at that time.
    • I’m currently re-reading The Drawing of the Three and taking notes to begin work on the next album in this series for 2018.
  • I created the new theme music for the Microsoft Cloud Show.
    • The Microsoft Cloud Show is the only place to stay up to date on everything going on in the Microsoft Intelligent Cloud world including Azure and Office 365.
    • I’ve known Andrew Connell and Chris Johnson for years and they asked me to create the new theme music for their podcast.  It’s so awesome to hear it playing during their podcast and I’m truly thankful to them for the opportunity.  Go check it out!.
  • Via my collaboration project with Musical Nature (a.k.a. Geoff Varosky) we have released our first album VR:1.
    • VR is a musical collaboration myself and fellow SharePoint Developer and Musician Friend Geoff Varosky. Geoff currently produces and releases experimental ambient music, ranging from long slowing soundscapes to beat and heavily sampled ambient house via Musical Nature which is his “ambient project in experimental sound”.  Together we form VR. Be sure to check it out, we would LOVE to hear your feedback!
  • Released the Escape Single.
    • I’m trying to put together a series of songs that fall into the “Synthwave/Retrowave” genre.  Escape is the first single release on this work.
  • Launched my Patreon page.  It’s just one of the various ways you can support me and my music as listed on my Support page.
  • Started building out a merchandise site where you can get branded T-Shirts and other items featuring my music projects.
  • I was introduced to Cathy Heller and her amazing Don’t Keep Your Day Job podcast.
    • Cathy was famous for having hand crafted a career as a songwriter, licensing her music to Film/TV and Advertising and she is now creating the truly amazing Don’t Keep Your Day Job podcast.  Cathy is truly an inspirational person and her podcast has certainly reinvigorated me to continue pushing forward with my dreams in music.   And quite frankly, her podcast isn’t focused on making a living in music, it’s about making a living doing what you absolutely love, regardless of what it is. I would Highly recommend you check it out.
  • I bought the book How to Make It in the New Music Business by Ari Herstand.
    • Ari has a great blog simply called Ari’s Take and I have read several articles there.  His insights were collected and fleshed out in the for of the book.  I’m just getting started in the book, and so far it appears to be absolute gold.  Once I finish, I plan on doing a write up on my blog.

I have so much more I’m working on as well such as a possible enhanced / re-mastered and extended version of my album For the Willow Wept… (which if you are a patron of mine on Patreon, you can listen to how that album is panning out now!

What’s Next

Here’s a list of things I’m working on next and what’s in store for the future!


Continuing to promote my latest album Gunslinger.  As I keep myself busy and always working forward on new material, I have to remember to also promote what I’ve already released.  So be sure to check it out!

History of Musical Influences

I want to continue in reviving my History of Musical Influences posts, so I’m going to dedicate some time throughout the year to move forward with that.  I’ll be taking a “Staycation” next week to work on a few things such as this.  So be sure to keep checking back!

Complete reading the How to Make it in the New Music Business

As mentioned above, I just acquired the book, so I plan on finishing a read through of it, and begin implementing the suggestions mentioned in the book.

Gigers’ Chimera and Escape

As I mentioned above, I released the single Escape.  I have a few more tracks I’m working on that are styled this way, and may be able to finish it up before the end of the year.

I’ve also released an early draft of a song I’m calling Gigers’ Chimera which is a dark ambient audio exploration into the world of H.R. Giger.

Hans Rudolf “H.R.” Giger was a Swiss surrealist painter, whose style was adapted for many forms of media, including record albums, furniture and tattoos.

The Zurich-based artist was best known for airbrush images of humans and machines linked together in a cold ‘biomechanical’ relationship. He was part of the special effects team that won an Academy Award for design work on the film Alien.

This is a track I am working on that will be released in a future album of dark ambient music. Who knows, maybe I’ll even release a whole album of Giger inspired music if there is an overwhelming request from my fanbase. Let me know!

In Closing

I hope you enjoyed reading this newsletter, and if so please leave me your comments!

If you have received this newsletter from a friend, or read it on my blog be sure to sign up for the email based newsletter by visiting my official music site at and click the “Stay Informed” link!

I’m just Keeping the Dream Alive!

– Keith Richie