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Grizzly Bear and the Music Biz

El Fug

Member
Messages
1,923
Fascinating article. I remember reading an article about Wilco several years ago, right when YHF was coming out, and I was surprised to learn that those guys were making roughly 30 grand during lean years and about 70 in a good year. Tweedy always made slightly more due to publishing. Obviously, things have changed for them (they just headlined the Hollywood Bowl), but they were already quite big at that point, at least by my reckoning, and I'd been of the mind that they must just be rolling in it.
 

Neill

Member
Messages
2,510
good read.

to be honest i'm not into grizzly bear, but the article is just as interesting nonetheless.
 

wundergussy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
I read it this morning - very interesting, especially Droste's point about how buying an album helps with more than just money: it gets a band noticed by radio outlets. I buy all my music anyway, but this is a good point to bring up when people tell me I'm crazy for doing so.
 

thedroid

Member
Messages
3,071
I agree.

GB is good, but it's not a stretch to understand why they aren't super famous/rich....

I don't really like the band, myself, but what I take away from the article is that, without radio airplay, there's a ceiling bands can't break through.

I don't think pop music is a meritocracy, personally.
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,312
I read the article and looked thru the comments - the unmentioned fact was that the leader (Droste?) apparently had family wealth/trust fund money, which allowed him to spend the time to get the band off the ground.
 

teleking36

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,984
first off: i like grizzly bear a lot. i thoroughly enjoy Yellow House and Veckitamest, which are top indie albums for me over the past 6-7 years. Shields is growing on me, albeit in a different way.

as an indie musician in an indie band who also supports and does studio work for indie artists, you primarily do it because you love it. my band has WAY more money into our debut album than we ever anticipated, but we wanted to do it right, on our own accord, and be happy with the result. it's been less about trying to win fans over with a certain sound or try and get on the radio. i feel like a lot of that should come after the fact and not directly motivate you to make your art.

do i feel crazy at times for literally PAYING to be in an original band? yes! but my motivation is the art and the creativity first, and the money later. thankfully i'm in a position where i can work a flexible job that pays well to support me and help me pay bills and rent and afford my gear. i would absolutely LOVE to be able to fully support myself playing music, but i don't necessarily dwell on it. it's not healthy.

the article was a good read, but proved to be a bit conflicting in my personal opinion. i feel that the band probably does fairly well. i understand the point of there being volatility in financial musical success, but the idea of the band struggling and "not having health insurance" just seems a bit forced to me.
 

thedroid

Member
Messages
3,071
I read the article and looked thru the comments - the unmentioned fact was that the leader (Droste?) apparently had family wealth/trust fund money, which allowed him to spend the time to get the band off the ground.
A lot of people commenting seemed to think that the band was presenting itself as poorer than it is. I would expect that the people making those comments are musicians who would like to be in GB's place. I don't think the band is responsible for the angle of the article, myself. That's the editors and the writers.

Whatever inheritance the band leader may have makes no difference in regards to how much money he makes from the band itself. GB sells out Radio City and performs on national TV and sells songs to commercials and soundtracks, and they make at best a middle-class living from it. I guess the magazine's editors felt that would surprise readers. I just found it informative.
 

wundergussy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
The thesis wasn't "Grizzly Bear is poor" it was "'Successful' no longer equals 'getting paid the big bucks' in music, especially indie rock."
 

2HBStrat

Senior Member
Messages
41,223
I don't really like the band, myself, but what I take away from the article is that, without radio airplay, there's a ceiling bands can't break through.

I don't think pop music is a meritocracy, personally.
Is this your way of saying that Katy Perry and Lady Gaga are making more money than Grizzly Bear but that Grizzly Bear's music has more merit?
 
Messages
1,387
Is this your way of saying that Katy Perry and Lady Gaga are making more money than Grizzly Bear but that Grizzly Bear's music has more merit?
I think you are reading too much into his comment. I took it as, simply, that the quality of music is not correlated with whether it's on the radio or not (so you can be on the radio like Gaga and be good).

Of course, how one can define 'quality' in music is an entirely different question.
 

halcyon85

Member
Messages
575
I read the article and looked thru the comments - the unmentioned fact was that the leader (Droste?) apparently had family wealth/trust fund money, which allowed him to spend the time to get the band off the ground.
His cousin is the founder of Hooters.

His bandmate Daniel Rossen is the grandson of the director of The Hustler.

They're all trust fund babies and Ed Droste makes it very difficult to be a Grizzly Bear fan. I understand his side of the story and I sympathize but he is sometimes rather crass in getting his point across. I realize he's angry and has a right to be and might have a difficult time controlling his tact.

I don't know. I just don't agree with how he presents his arguments sometimes, especially on the band's twitter feed. If he's going to behave the way he does sometimes he should make his own account. It reflects poorly on the band as a whole. I doubt any of them give a crap about it and would just as soon tell me to piss off.

Their new album is f*cking amazing.
 

thedroid

Member
Messages
3,071
Is this your way of saying that Katy Perry and Lady Gaga are making more money than Grizzly Bear but that Grizzly Bear's music has more merit?
I'm saying that the reason they are a thousand times more successful -- or whatever -- is not because their music is a thousand times better.
 

2HBStrat

Senior Member
Messages
41,223
I'm saying that the reason they are a thousand times more successful -- or whatever -- is not because their music is a thousand times better.
I can't argue that. Maybe Katy Perry and Lady Gaga write (or pick) songs to record that resonate with 1000x the people that Grizzly Bear does?
 

thedroid

Member
Messages
3,071
I can't argue that. Maybe Katy Perry and Lady Gaga write (or pick) songs to record that resonate with 1000x the people that Grizzly Bear does?
One of the things the article touched on is that an artist can only get so big without radio airplay. Until GB gets the similar radio airplay to Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, your thesis can't be tested.

R.E.M. was in about the same place as GB when MTV first started playing them. Now they've sold 85 million records. I saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers in a small club in 1988, and if you'd bet me they would go on to sell 70 million records, I would have laughed.

Lady Gaga will probably beat them both in the long run, but Katy Perry is lagging pretty far behind. The public's tastes are hard to predict.
 

VicAjax

Male Supermodel
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,560
One of the things the article touched on is that an artist can only get so big without radio airplay. Until GB gets the similar radio airplay to Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, your thesis can't be tested.

R.E.M. was in about the same place as GB when MTV first started playing them. Now they've sold 85 million records. I saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers in a small club in 1988, and if you'd bet me they would go on to sell 70 million records, I would have laughed.

Lady Gaga will probably beat them both in the long run, but Katy Perry is lagging pretty far behind. The public's tastes are hard to predict.
it's worth adding that both R.E.M. and RHCP altered their sounds significantly before making it big.
 

thedroid

Member
Messages
3,071
it's worth adding that both R.E.M. and RHCP altered their sounds significantly before making it big.
I don't think either band made typical pop music or followed an established formula for selling records.

My point is that a band needs radio airplay to progress beyond a certain point, and it's hard to predict what will happen when an outside-the-box band gets that airplay.
 






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