“The band was also guided a spirit of inclusion and mutual respect toward their audience — values the members adopted during the “peace and love” hippie era of 1960s San Francisco. “The Grateful Dead treated their audience as partners, not as cows with wallets,” he says.
That partnership was nourished by a few key decisions along the way. The Grateful Dead famously encouraged fans to tape their live shows, and those tapes were then traded among fans and served as a pre-Internet form of viral marketing. The more the tapes circulated, the more people wanted to go see them live.
“But that’s not at all why they did it,” McNally says. “They did it because they were terrible cops and recognized that if they stopped taping, they would have to ruin the ambiance of their own shows.”
To get those fans to actually attend the shows, they created their own in-house, mail-order ticketing agency, and in the process created a massive database of devotees. The end result was twofold: They eliminated the middleman, thereby putting more money into their pockets, while gaining a reputation for superior customer service.”