OAKLAND (KCBS) â Some of Silicon Valley’s greatest companies and some of the world’s most famous rock bands have one thing in commonâstarting up in garages.
But now musicians are applying some of the ideas that have made Silicon Valley companies such a success by learning to think like startups at Zoo Labs Music Residencyâa music incubator in West Oakland.READ MORE: San Francisco DA Boudin Files Charges Against SF Sheriff’s Deputy Accused of Sexual Assault, Threats
Lead singer Joanna Teters of Mad Satta, an eight-piece band from the East Coast says they’re not a band, they’re a âteamâ and they’re not rockers on the rise, they’re a startup developing their business model.
âThis place is an unbelievable nest of support and creativity and smarts,â she says.
The âsmartsâ come from co-founder Vinitha Watson, who used to work at Google, and her partners, who wanted to create the first incubator for musicians. They call Zoo Labs a creative accelerator.
âWe make art compatible with business. We make our musiciansâ creative process compatible with the way they want to design their businesses,â Watson says.
âWeâre helping bridge those two worlds.â
Artists apply for a two-week residency, which includes not just room and board and studio time but workshops on marketing, management and branding and even imagining the future.READ MORE: Notorious Norteño Gang Member 'Lil Rhino' Sentenced For Carrying Out Jailhouse Attacks
âThe workshops that we go to in the morning directly stimulates the creativity in the studio in the afternoon,â Teters says.
In the afternoon, some of the bands emerge with three new tracks. One, was just finished this week, by Wages, a psychedelic dream-pop band from Los Angeles.
Wages drummer James Dedakis says he doesnât think of himself as being âbusiness minded.â
âItâs something that makes my skin crawl, you knowâthe thought of trying to sell yourself,â he admits with a laugh.
But Dedakis says the Zoo Labs residency opened his eyes and his brain and said that the band’s music moved in unexpected directions.
âThe more we learned about ourselves and started thinking about what weâre trying to do with it, the better the vision became in our heads and it was easier to bring that out.â
While Zoo Labs is a nonprofit, relying on grants and donors, Watson is hopeful the concept itself will accelerate, allowing even more artists to incubate in places like this and transform the future integration of music and commerce.MORE NEWS: U.S. Postal Service To Hire 1,000 People In San Francisco Bay Area
âI believe that as humans, we search for these designed experiences that transcend beyond ourselves and I believe that musicians have the ability to deliver that experience,â she says.