Full disclosure, I was never a fan of the Grateful Dead. The music never appealed to me, but it doesn't mean I never appreciated what they stood for.
Today they would have a very hard time existing considering monopolous ticketing systems, strong worded contracts, copyright protections and boatloads of cash. It's the very seam reason I think Jerry Garcia would be turning in his grave this weekend.
At the outset, he and the rest of the band embraced their fans. They embraced the technology that allowed sharing. For them it wasn't about getting paid but about being heard. It's the debate that's raging music today, what is more important?
The Dead as it seemed were pirate pioneers. Enabling a generation of youth in the 60s and 70s to share the music freely, and it placed an immense value on those recordings, it also ensured a dedicated and loyal fan base, they were connected to the band they loved so much, and the band was rewarded with sold out concerts for the next four decades.
This weekend however is a complete money grab. The remaining members ceding to corporate interests. Selling extra concerts, exclusive pay-per-view, and limiting concert goer's ability to make the recordings that helped keep the bands fans loyal.
Jerry was never a sell-out. To the end he remained true to his ideals of artistry, performance and the bands fans.
Even though I've never been a fan, I can't help but comment as it's a reflection on the industry today. A band having a final concert not for a send off to their fans, or a tribute to their band-leader, but as a way to make one quick final buck.
In my experience the way that usually turns out is a realization that the fans are willing to be milked for more, and it explains why so many bands have multiple retirement tours.