First is to be responsive to customers. †The Dead were nearly always responsive to fans from their earliest days in 1965 till the end of the road in 1995.† Fans grew to love their live performances and the Dead became a touring band so fans could see them play frequently rather than simply when a new album was released.† Deadheads have been wishing for the complete European tour since it happened because the band was in rare form throughout the 42-day tour.† Although the Dead released ìEurope í72î a 3-record set in 1973 and several other CDs from the tour have been released more recently, nothing came close to granting the wish and being responsive until this new, complete package.
The second lesson is to embrace technology, something else the Dead always did whether it was in their sound system, lighting or instruments.† Dead.net and Rhino have really followed this lesson by going back to the original 24-track master recordings, carefully digitally remastering them, and then using new technology (plangentprocesses.com) to insure the finest possible listening experience.† Iím a pretty serious audiophile, and these new recordings are spectacular just like the incomparable audio experience I always found at a Dead show where the Dead used technology to insure that everyone in the audience had the best possible listening experience.
The third lesson I recognized providing value to customers.† The Dead intentionally kept their ticket prices low throughout their history to allow fans to afford to see them play.† While the price of this boxed set is very high at $450, it works out to only $6 per CD including shipping.† Thatís less expensive than the Dicks Picks series or the current Road Trips series now being offered.† So the boxed set provides tremendous value despite the high price tag.
The final lesson I observed is to take risks and follow the advice in ìPlaying in the Bandî where Bobby sings, ìSome folks trust to reason, others trust to might.† I donít trust to nothing, but I know it come out right.î† When the boxed set was announced in January 2011, it was a big gamble for Dead.net and Rhino.† With such a high price tag, no one could really predict the demand, and 3,000 copies needed to be sold to break even.† Yet the limited edition of 7,200 copies sold out immediately and many more fans were disappointed to have their orders rejected.† So Dead.net and Rhino took the risk and it paid off showing that sometimes, things do ìcome out right.î
To see all 10 of the lessons I learned from the Grateful Deadís business practices and how your business or organization can benefit from them, you can pre-order my book on Amazon.† It hits the bookstores November 2.