Ghost Beach, self-described as “tropical grit-pop”, is an absolutely awesome group, made up of Josh Ocean and Eric “Doc” Mendelsohn. Not only are they making great music, but the recent launch of their “Artists vs Artists” campaign, which asked people to declare if they were for or against piracy, is a fantastic example of transparent fan connection, as well as a beautiful demonstration in the power of sparking conversation within your community.
The band was recently approached by American Eagle about a licensing opportunity, and, in addition to a licensing fee, was granted access to the American Eagle 15,000 square-foot video billboard in Times Square. Now here’s where courage comes into play. Without a doubt, most artists would (understandably) look at this as an opportunity to promote an album or tour. But Ghost Beach did just the opposite. They did what took courage. Rather than using the billboard as an outlet for one-way advertising, they turned it into a platform to support a two-way conversation between themselves and the entire music industry.
The ad directs people to the Artists vs Artists website, which is designed very intuitively and hosts social features like share buttons, hashtags, and twitter feeds throughout (again, conversation is the focus). At the top of the site is a tracker, updated in real-time, showing which side of the debate people are supporting, as well as a Twitter feed displaying everyone using both the #artistsforpiracy and #artistsagainstpiracy hashtags. Finally, the bottom of the website offers you the option of downloading the band’s EP for free, or buying it on iTunes.
The day this was launched, I had 10+ friends send me a link asking if I’d checked it out and what I thought. We got into long talks about piracy and the future of the industry, and I have no doubt every one of them went home that night and listened to Ghost Beach, just like I did. Not only did this project position the group as one with a conscience, but it undoubtedly sparked countless conversations about the industry as a whole, each of which blossomed from Ghost Beach, and their desire to be part of something larger and more powerful than themselves.
(The results? 2,491 for piracy. 205 against it.)