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Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History by Bill Halligan, Brian Halligan, David Meerman Scott

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Chapter 8. Encourage Eccentricity

If you'd been to a Grateful Dead concert before, you would understand the unusual experience. The casual approach, beginning the show without fanfare. The lack of a Billboard hit song. The warm community vibe. The thick smoke from a thousand joints. A live Grateful Dead show was unlike anything else in the music world. The eccentricity of the whole thing seemed oddly comfortable and satisfying.

But to a newbie, the scene, and the concert itself, prompted many questions and comments: "Why don't they tune up before they come onto the stage?" "The guitarist is wearing shorts." "Two drummers?" "Really? They take a half-hour break in the middle of the show?" "That song lasted 17 minutes!" And then, of course, there was the sheer wonder at what went down at the park across from the arena all afternoon: "Look, tie-dyed socks!" "Why don't the cops arrest all these people smoking dope?" "Everyone is smiling (even the cops); this is such a happy crowd!"

The Grateful Dead tribe was made up of eccentrics who used the live shows as an outlet to express themselves in a supportive atmosphere. To be sure, some diehard fans wore "hippie clothes" year-round, drove a VW bus, and lived on a commune. But the ...

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