No, I am not going to depress you with talk about burying the happy dead. That is, also a big business, but not something I want to spend my time blogging about, especially at my age.
I am talking about the Grateful “Management Secrets of the Grateful Dead”, a feature article in the March 2010 issue of the Atlantic Monthly. Read it, gratis, online. Can you believe that the Grateful Dead are being studied as a highly successful business model? We are not talking about Elvis or the Beatles here. It is the Grateful Dead. On March 5th, the New York Historical Society openned the first ever large-scale exhibit of the Grateful Dead Archive. The entire archive will then be moved to its permanent home at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
In addition to the article, The Atlantic Monthly offers up a sweet, free, little Greatful Dead Memorabilia Video . It is just a taste of the archive.
From reading the article I came to find out that The Grateful dead have been studied in academic circles for decades. Engineers examined the band’s sophisticated sound system. Medical scholars compared the emergency room reports of Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin fans and found that most Deadheads favored LSD and, believe it or not, Zeppies preferred alcohol. Ethnomusicologists (how is that for an academic word) have offered courses to study in the band’s “vernacular music.” Barristers have presented evidence that being Deadheads, die hard fans (sorry I couldn’t resist that), could be a sign of mental illness.
The topic of this article, and the realm of the band’s influence that has garnered the most academic interest, is their business brains. The article claims that the Grateful Dead are one of the most profitable bands of all times, and the achieved that by treating customers and fans fairly, charging prices for concerts that allowed less well to do Deadhead to attend. They also gave away a lot of souvenirs that are now worth a fortune, just check out their stuff on Ebay. Customer satisfaction was their motto long before retailers picked it up.
Grateful Dead, customer satisfaction, and Atlantic Monthly…I never thought I would write about all these in one 60s Folks In Their 60s article, but our generation has shined the light on a lot of odd undertakings (there I go again).