Sometimes It Takes the Dead to See the Future …

Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Photo courtesy of: 99U

Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead. Photo courtesy of: 99U

Not zombies, just hippies. Specifically, the Grateful Dead. Scott McDowell wrote a great piece on 99U recently reminding me of what I’ve long believed. The Grateful Dead were decades ahead of the rest of the live entertainment business in a number of ways.

You should read the whole article, so I won’t distract too much from that, but I want to point out a couple things that I think are of particular interest across all genres. He highlights “building a scene” and “never standing in the way of your fans,” and I just think these are so deep and so profound as sources of value for any kind of live entertainment, arts or sports organization that they can’t be emphasized too much.

He says, “The Grateful Dead pioneered community-building in a lot of ways but mostly by thinking of their fans … as part of the band, not separate from it.”

The payoff from this mindset? Despite never really having a hit song (and just one Top 10 album), they had a 30-year run of stunning, huge, highly lucrative success.

Read it all!

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