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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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Introduction

"There is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert"

First used in the liner notes of the Grateful Dead album Europe '72.

Picture a summer evening, and imagine that you are in a sold-out arena. The audience members have been partying all afternoon in the hot sunshine, hanging with old friends, meeting new ones, drinking, laughing, smoking. . . .

The collective anticipation in the arena feels positively electric, enhanced by the sounds from the stage, which hums with tens of thousands of watts of pure power ready to rock. The house lights go down and a cheer goes up. Hundreds of tiny red lights on the band's onstage equipment are visible, blinking on and off like firefl ies as the musicians shuffl e onto the stage.

Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, and Jerry Garcia plug in and noodle around a bit on their guitars, their backs to the audience. The two drummers settle in behind their kits. One sends out a cosmic boom from a bass drum, and we in the audience feel it as much as we hear it. A cheer for the boom! Some people try to discern what song the band will open with, based on the quasi-riff s now being played. Set-list savants predict the opener to their friends, based on the algorithms they used that morning to query databases of every song ever played by the band. Then quietly, slowly at first, the band coalesces around a familiar tune. They turn to face the crowd. The lights come up. The volume is cranked. And 20,000 people collectively begin to boogie. Another Grateful ...

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