Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Sleep Thieves get big buzz from online but little else

There are many acts out there who will nod their heads in recognition when they read Wayne Fahy from Dublin band Sleep Thieves’ latest blog post. In December, the band discovered that their debut album “Heart Waves” had been illegally …

Fri, Jan 13, 2012, 09:30

   

There are many acts out there who will nod their heads in recognition when they read Wayne Fahy from Dublin band Sleep Thieves’ latest blog post.

In December, the band discovered that their debut album “Heart Waves” had been illegally uploaded onto some file-sharing sites. Instead of reaching for a legal eagle to issue huffy cease and desist letters, the band watched the stats as their online profile surged.

Per Fahy, Sleep Thieves saw a huge increase in “search results, recommendations on regular folks’ blogs, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages as well as far more views of our Youtube videos…our Soundcloud plays have shot up, plays on Bandcamp have increased, but the best barometer is LastFM”.

But the online buzz didn’t lead to loads of sales and they recorded just two sales on Bandcamp after the album went rogue. “Even with all these listens, and our music now getting out there internationally on a scale we’ve not seen before”, writes Fahy, “we’re still in the proverbial band poor house.”

The new music ecosystem may mean acts gets traction from tweets, likes, recommends and streams, but the big issue is how does a band turn these attributes into cash. Increased buzz and profile may lead to lucrative offers and tours down the road – look at the success of The Weeknd in 2011, for instance – but as the Sleep Thieves have discovered, it doesn’t necessarily see people turning listens into purchases.

Many will argue that this shows that fans now don’t want to pay for recorded music. Yet bands’ merchandise stalls and recent sales figures from industry bodies indicate that this is not necessarily the case. The state of flux continues and you can expect many more bands to do some pondering like Sleep Thieves before this one is resolved.