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Jerry Garcia is famous for saying "And as far as I'm concerned, it's like I say, drugs are not the problem. Other stuff is the problem." As the lawyers at the RIAA claim that copyright law "isn't working" for them, wanting to use guns to impose their will, the most successful touring band of all time - the Grateful Dead - proves again that copyright law is not required to create value or to be successful. Property rights are based on the economic concept of scarcity - something that is finite is, by definition, scarce (e.g., think of the space where you are sitting). Only one person can have control over it and, therefore, there is the potential for conflict. Contrast this with something that is infinite - multiple people can control it without impacting the other (e.g., think of an idea or a song). No amount of copying will ever cause a conflict in ownership. The Grateful Dead are a textbook example of how refusing to rely on the copyright crutch to "protect" your content actually helps you sell more of it, and even get rich from it. People who work with open source software have known this for a long time. When your ideas (e.g., music, art, stories) are valuable, you don't need to initiate force to make money - they will sell on their own.


By no means the best instrumentally or vocally, the band built its success on an approach to the music business that was 180 degrees from their competitors. While other bands posted signs at the entrances to concert venues saying, "Recording and photography of tonight's performance is strictly prohibited," the Grateful Dead encouraged fans to record their concerts and shoot pictures of the show...

Did this taping hurt album sales? No. It served as free marketing for the band. And as David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan point out in their new book, Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn From the Most Iconic Band in History, the band went as far as to set up special sections for tapers in 1984. These sections were behind the band's mixing board and would form a "forest of professional-grade microphones rising to the sky."

So if there were all these bootleg tapes floating around, has anyone been buying Dead albums? I guess so: the band has had 19 gold albums, 6 platinum albums, and 4 albums that have gone multiplatinum...

Committed Deadheads have followed the band around to see hundreds of shows. In some cases these fans support their Dead habit by selling merchandise or food items in the parking lot, and this activity is endorsed by the band. Like Amazon with its affiliate program, the Dead supports anyone who sells band merchandise.

Secrets of the Most Successful Touring Band of All Time


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Aug 28, 2010 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=307

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