Grizzly Bear Tweets: Buying Albums Is The Best Way To Support Bands

Grizzly-bearGrizzly Bear,
an indie rock band based in Brooklyn, seems to have a way with setting off discussions on Twitter. Recently they posted about what they feel helps them most as a band in response to what they say are questions about such topics. Due to the current tendency for discussions about Spotify and related services to become quite polarized, my own response initially mistook their intent. But I think it's a great example of a band letting people know what they think about an issue that's important to musicians.

Grizzly Bear recently set off a discussion via their Twitter account regarding the best way for fans to support bands about which they care. I'm guessing these tweets are the work of Ed Droste but you'll have to ask him yourself:



Note that they start it off not by saying what's best for them alone but for bands and labels and indie stores. They then clarify what they think is the best form of support, buying the album:



If you click through to any of these tweets, you'll see a fair number of responses including people who don't always agree. That doesn't set them off as it does some bands:



They responded by pointing to the value of YouTube as a force that can sometimes stimulate a positive response from radio and venues:



By this point Twitter discussions about this Twitter discussion were taking off. In response more to tweets by Nick Mango and Michele Catalano than by Grizzly Bear, I cut through all the thoughtful banter with one deft stroke (sarcasm alert):



Hopefully I can be forgiven since it seems most discussions of Spotify quickly degenerate into polarized camps. However the camp with which I'm most aligned is the one that tends toward making one's music available as widely as possible to reach listeners where they are listening. That will result in a combination of revenue streams, some quite tiny for many bands, from album sales to streaming plays to YouTube ads.

Making appropriate merch available and feeding superfans will then add to those revenue streams as will performing live, licensing music and any other possibility that fits the band's music and their approach to business.

That said, if you don't ask for what you want, then you're a lot less likely to get it.

So Grizzly Bear did a smart thing by educating their fans and letting them know what forms of support they prefer. And they did it without rancor or drama even making it clear that they weren't on the attack:



It's a nice example of using Twitter for respectful communication with fans that moves things forward.

Grizzly Bear's new album "Shields" is due September 18.  Check their site for preorder options as well as their current world tour schedule.

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. This is a COMPLETELY subjective argument depending on the nature of each artists’ creative process, business model, lifestyle, fanbase, locale, style, career arc etc.
    Apparently, for grizzly bear, all things considered this is the best way for them to make money. We have no real insight into the nature of their business/lives that can tell us why this is.
    I’m sure they meant well, but should probably know that a sweeping generalization like that(via 140 characters) is gonna muddy the waters and perhaps do more damage via misinformation/lack of information when considering the breadth of the argument.

  2. the thing is though spotify does NOT help out bands. They pay pennies. Youtube views are more valuable because radio stations /publications etc look to them for view counts more than FB or Spot b/c it’s completely public (ie: no need to sign up to view), thusly they help get a band on the elusive commercial radio. Also, remember buying an album also helps the independent label, and if you buy it from an indie shop, it helps them too. There’s no way to argue a streaming service is a better model for artists, labels or indie shops.

  3. the anti-spotify camp would benefit from reading hypebot’s wonderful interview of Spotify’s artist in residence the other day.
    itunes and any other digital/physical sales are “front-loaded”, in that there is one transaction, and you own the music forever. Spotify pays out in small increments over a long period of time – between $.001 and $.005 per stream to artists.
    I don’t know about you, but i listen to my favorite songs/albums hundreds, if not thousands of times.
    so in that sense, spotify can be a good deal for artists (100+ streams at the conservative $.001/stream, =$1+)
    Classic “long tail” scenario. we need to re-adjust our perception of payout. and yeah, spotify should introduce better (do they have any?) analytics, which im sure they will.

  4. When it comes to payout to artists, bands, labels and stores CD/LP retails for $8-16+ under a good distro deal qualified suppliers get over 50 % of wholesale and stores are making 20-50%. So it’s a win win win win.
    BTW Ask any full service distributor what they sell more of and make more money on~ CD’s or digital music. In the words of Bill Clinton ‘It’s Arithmetic.’

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