It has been a long week with long hours at work, school, and blogging, but we press on. Today I will take a look into indie bands who ARE heard on popular radio. Does radio play equal more likes? I have always wondered if radio actually leads to a larger following or if it just pisses off fans who relish the anonymity of their favorite bands. Everyone enjoys finding new talent and knowing the unknown. You feel a part of a select group. When an indie band makes its way onto popular radio most people cry “sellout.” Is it worth it? Most likely, but it has broken some bands apart and album sales have dipped in performance. So again, does radio time bring Facebook more likes? Just how popular are these bands? Are Facebook likes a good indication of that?
I have chosen to focus on these five bands: Grouplove, The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters and Men, and Young the Giant.
The baby of this collection is Grouplove of Los Angeles. Despite having “Tongue Tied (seen below),” and “Itchin’ On a Photograph” see an abundance of radio time they only have 179,187 likes. There isn’t a day that goes by when Grouplove isn’t heard on popular radio in Bemidji, so what gives? They only have one album, which was released in 2011, so they are new to the scene. Their version of alternative rock appeals to many demographics, and they hail from L.A. This statistic is shocking to me. Everyone I know has heard of them. Perhaps pop radio doesn’t automatically result in more likes after all. Hmmm. They do post a lot–in the area of 4-5 times a week, and they are active both online and on tour with fans. This result is staggering.
Denver’s The Lumineers beloved “Ho Hey” has spent many weeks number one on numerous popular radio countdowns. They have been liked 481,576 times. Makes sense. Their debut album, which was released in April, hasn’t been out all that long. “Ho Hey (watch below)” does get a TON of airtime but the rest of their material is lesser known, despite the fact that “Stubborn Love” has made its way onto commercials and television series’. This is where I thought Grouplove would be sitting at. The big difference here though is that The Luminners post nearly EVERY, SINGLE day. They had three posts on Wednesday alone. Clearly, the star power of “Ho Hey” outweighs Grouplove’s two often-heard singles. Also, it’s apparent that one song can grab the attention of almost 500,000 people.
London’s Mumford & Sons is, and will always be, the exception to the rule. 2010’s Sigh No More brought in a HUGE fan-base with massive singles like “The Cave” and especially “Little Lion Man.” That was just the tip of the iceberg. Their 2012 effort, Babel, brought home the Grammy for Best Album. That is a big time award and a big time spotlight. Their first single off Babel is “I Will Wait (below),” which finds loads of radio play. “Lover of the Light” pales in comparison, but solidifies their radio presence. Mumford & Sons currently has been liked a staggering 3,886,369 times. Now this isn’t on par with popular artists like Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, and Nicki Minaj, but their genre is folk rock after all. No other folk rock band has ever found such an audience. Now that I am taking time to focus on better known indie bands I am noticing a trend: these bands post A LOT. Coming into this research I actually expected lesser known bands to post MORE. I thought they would recognize the need to garner more attention and a wider audience by posting and sharing links and videos. This has not been the case. These popular artists obviously realize they have larger audiences who need attention and substance.
Of Monsters and Men, who reign from Iceland, have a European following that has helped their like-count climb to 675,259. The only single I have heard on the radio is “Little Talks (seen below),” which sums up their sound beautifully. A lot has changed in the course of a year. At this time last year I heard a couple of their songs and relished what I was hearing. No one had any idea who these folks were though. About eight months later they were finding radio plays at an overwhelming amount. Their other singles “From Finner” and “King and Lionheart” have failed to find radio time thus far. They do post daily, and have been touring like crazy since their debut album dropped last April. Their sound appeals to indie, pop, and rock fans alike, which helps their cause.
Young the Giant, a California indie rock band, has seen their popularity rise thanks to three radio friendly hits in “My Body,” “Cough Syrup,” and “Apartment (below).” “My Body” is still seen as their crowning achievement, despite being their weakest song on their terrific self-titled debut album (my opinion). Nothing new here, but they post seemingly every other day. Their popularity peaked early last year, but word is that they are working on a new album. Young the Giant is holding at 404,824 likes. It seems 400 thousand is a good number to be at.
Here are a couple things I have discovered in my research: 1) Popular bands post more often, period. They obviously feel they must feed their fans information, ideas, images, videos, links, and tour dates. It definitely, for the most part, seems to be working. 2) Radio air-time leads to more likes, but not as many as you might assume. Grouplove is sitting below 200 thousand, which is kind of amazing. Other vastly popular bands are barely above 400 thousand. Again, very surprising. This research certainly brought some enlightenment and curiosity. More to come tomorrow as I finish up this week on Facebook.