I feel conflicted about this, but my band, The Blissters, is participating in one of those band-contests where people go to a website and vote, and the bands with the most votes get to play a show at a good venue. (To vote for us, click here.)
This sort of thing is basically just free advertising for whoever organizes it. In this case, a beer company owned by Jimmy Buffett is running things.
Has any musician ever monetized the content of his lyrics into revenue-streams like Buffett has? Let’s do the list. He’s got:
- Land Shark Lager Beer
- Margaritaville Tequila
- Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurants
- And apparently, he will soon operate Jimmy Buffett-themed casinos
Seriously, I can’t think of another A-List musician who franchises his work like this. It would be like if Sting launched a “King of Pain” menthol muscle-cream, or if Elton John licensed a “Crocodile Rock”-brand jungle safari tour.
Funny story about Buffett: One time I was chatting with a security guard at Deer Creek Ampitheater in Indianapolis, and I asked him: “Of all the acts that play here every year, which have the fans that give you the most trouble? Like, which fan base has the most drunk-and-disorderly arrests and fights, and so forth?”
I was expecting him to name some heavy-metal act, or maybe Phish or the Grateful Dead (for drug offenses). Instead, he instantly answered: “Jimmy Buffett. By a lot.”
And I was like: “Really? I picture Buffett’s fan-base as a bunch of 50+, white-collar workers who don’t party all that hard.”
The guard went on to explain that that was exactly the issue. The reason it’s so out of control at Buffett concerts, said the guard, is that they’re attended by 15,000 people who usually don’t party, but who are suddenly placed in an environment where every song is about drinking, and having 10 beers feels normal. (It’s amateur night, the guard was basically saying. These are people who can’t drink very much anymore, but nonetheless try to do exactly that. [Accordingly, I guess, they get hammered and start a bunch of fights.])