Grizzly 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:
Mog and Spotify do not help bands or labels or indie stores. Not shaming you, just stating the facts since someone asked— Grizzly Bear (@grizzlybear) August 31, 2012
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:
Buying an album helps a band ten fold over buying a t-shirt, no matter what format. Again, answering questions— Grizzly Bear (@grizzlybear) August 31, 2012
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:
grizzly bear whining about spotify! awesome! i will be sure to listen to them on youtube instead!— Greg Katz, Esq. (@gkla) August 31, 2012
They responded by pointing to the value of YouTube as a force that can sometimes stimulate a positive response from radio and venues:
Not saying spotify doesn't spread the word, but at least radio and venues look at YouTube counts. With spotify, it's nothing— Grizzly Bear (@grizzlybear) August 31, 2012
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:
Sorry if I pissed anyone off but I think it's an interesting conversation to have #endtwitterrant— Grizzly Bear (@grizzlybear) August 31, 2012
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.