Crystal Castles’ producer/sole remaining member received a stark lesson in the economy of the Internet over the last couple weeks. By now we all know that he and former vocalist/frontwoman Alice Glass have been embroiled in a minor Twitter battle that began when Kath passive-aggressively suggested that Glass’ contributions to the CC catalogue were minor and cosmetic at best. Glass struck back quickly, and the Crystal Castles’ social accounts—especially Soundcloud—went for a bit of a ride.
It began with Kath releasing a new track on Soundcloud called “Frail”, sung by a new singer only credited as Edith. The description in this post also included the since-deleted digs at his former vocalist, claiming that she “was not on Crystal Castles’ best known songs”, before going on to list well over a dozen tracks. Initially, the release of the song led to a flurry of new Soundcloud followers (3,331), as well as some modest gains in Twitter followers as well.
The next day, Glass responded on her Twitter account, defiantly claiming an equal contribution to the vision of the band, stating that “for the record, i wrote almost all of the lyrics in my former band and the vast majority of the vocal melodies.” Initially, this led to a 2,000+ spike in visits to the Crystal Castles Wikipedia page—an indicator of curious rubberneckers simply wanting a refresher on who these people were.
Slowly but surely though, as various think pieces and the Twittersphere in general began to weigh in on the spat, Kath came out the loser. Only four days later, he lost more Soundcloud followers (3,415) than he had gained the previous Thursday.
To be fair, Crystal Castles still have an enormous following on the platform—the loss of 3500 people when your total audience is well over 2 million is a drop in the bucket. But as an instance of the democracy of the internet in action, it’s a fascinating little study of losses equalling the gains of a “bad press” moment.
As for Glass—an artist at work on, but still yet to release anything, from her nascent solo career—her dignified response gave her a massive boost in online support. It’s still unclear how much Kath meant to hurt his ex-partner in song. (He has since said that he’ll “always love her and sincerely want(s) her to do well and be happy.”) And who knows how long it will take Glass to produce music. But she could not has asked for a much better springboard than this.