Why did everybody GO?
The more I think about it, the longer this story stays in the news, the more I think the promoters were geniuses. I mean how in the hell did they get everybody to pay so much, to travel, to go to an untested event put on by nobodies?
By now you've probably read Nick Bilton's "Vanity Fair" piece on the Fyre pitch deck. No, I did not watch the video. Why does everybody who can write think that they can talk? Why does everybody who publishes want their writers to become talking heads? The worst are the ones on the "New York Times," who sound like they're giving a presentation in high school social studies class. But that's all a disclaimer, as in if anything I say below was covered by Bilton in his clip, I didn't see it, so don't accuse me of plagiarizing him.
But I do give Bilton credit for amplifying the key to Fyre's success. The 400 "Fyre Starters" who spread the word.
Think about that, major corporations, Fortune 500 entities, can't get the word out.
Talk to a traditional concert promoter, they'll tell you the number one problem is awareness, making people know the show is happening.
And then this wanker from nowhere, a veritable crook, sees the obvious and capitalizes on it. Call it a Napster moment. Where the ignorant turn tradition on its head. Who would want lousy sounding MP3s? Who would listen to nobody influencers?
THE PEOPLE WHO PAID TO GO TO THIS SHOW!
There's a shadow economy. A shadow mainstream. And it's not in the newspaper and it's not on the news sites, but on Instagram, all the social networks pooh-poohed by the mainstream. That's where the people hang out.
You wonder why people still believe all the fees go to Ticketmaster? Because they live in an echo chamber where reality never intrudes.
Kinda like going to a newbie festival. They know the new tech device works right out of the box, why shouldn't the festival? It's only the oldsters who've been burned before who know otherwise.
And the oldsters believe the draw is the talent.
It hasn't been that way for a long long time. Quick, scan the acts at Coachella, if you know more than half of them you work for Goldenvoice. But nobody cares, as long as there are a few well-known headliners and I can go and shoot selfies and say I was there.
This is contrary to everything we've always known. Shows have been sold on talent. People will show up in a barn to be treated like cattle if the right act is on stage. And that still might be true, but even more true is if you treat people with respect, deliver luxury, make them feel like they belong, they'll spend a whole hell of a lot more than the nobodies showing up in the cattle car.
We've got it upside down. We keep listening to people bitch that they cannot get a ticket at face value, they want to sit right up front for fifty bucks. But that is the vocal minority. Turns out most people have no problem shelling out dough for a good seat and a good experience, that's why StubHub, the entire secondary market, has triumphed!
Instead of castigating Fyre, we should be looking for lessons.
One, the barrier to entry is not that high. The acts all agreed to appear, it's only when the checks were not forthcoming that they balked. If you're expecting talent to take a stand, you're wrong. This is the same talent that salivates for privates, will show up to play for third world dictators.
So if Fyre just had deeper pockets and had hired someone who'd done it before…
It would have been genius.
Kinda like Burning Man in the beginning.
They call this disruption.
Yes, millennials like experiences. But they like to be INVOLVED in the experience. That was the selling point of Fyre, you were INCLUDED! And the music business has been based on exclusion from day one. And although the acts may be too big to deign to hang, turns out these social-influencer nobodies are not. But the truth is they are not nobodies, they might have no talent, but they're stars to the fans. They post more and are more accessible than real talent. And you believe you too can make it, just like them, get free gear from Old Navy, drive a Ford Fusion for a week, nothing makes you feel like a star more than getting free stuff.
And the advertisers love it. That's Bilton's point and I'm with him on that. Regular ads don't work, no matter how much money is spent. But if you can get real live human beings to use your product… We're all complicit, we love brands more than bands. Hell, if I write negative stuff about Apple my inbox goes berserk, with vitriol from fans who know more about the company than they do of any band. But if I excoriate an act, I'll just hear from a couple of people. The acts are not universal, the brands are, they're the ones with the power. And if you can find one social-influencer, one successful "artist" who will say no to the brands…
That's their income right there. That's who they're working for.
And, of course, under the law the social influencers should say they're getting paid to promote Fyre. But why don't they do that after they declare the perks as income on their taxes, worried that an IRS hobbled by the Republicans is gonna catch them, are you kidding me?
He who colors inside the lines is now a chump. We've got an uneducated nitwit for a President who does nothing but lie yet the rank and file should play by the rules?
You're dreaming if you think that's gonna happen.
Now there are some promoters making bank doing events featuring influencers/YouTube stars.
But the truly savvy oldsters will now utilize influencers to sell their shows. And those shows will be less band on stage and more events for the attendees to participate and feel good about themselves. It's kind of like the EDM ethos. WE'RE THE PARTY! The guy on stage is literally only the deejay.
And the oldsters can't understand that either.