The Grateful Dead Target Younger Generations With New Merchandise Plan
We thought that the Grateful Dead had already done a pretty good job of maximizing their merchandising opportunities, but apparently, they've got a new plan to ensure their popularity doesn't wane among future generations of music fans.
According to a new story in the Los Angeles Times, The Dead are ramping up their efforts to get their name out there through a variety of products, both big and small....you heard about that 73 CD box set, didn't you?
Working to make an impression with younger music fans, the Dead have carefully been searching for new and creative ways to expand their brand, without copping to the obvious options.
There will be no Grateful Dead rolling papers, for example. Drummer Mickey Hart says that they want to avoid “projecting our image as the stoner band.” It's a familiar association with the group's past history, but as he says, “God, that was just a part of it all, and not necessarily the life and soul.”
You can also cross the potential Dead casket off of the list, as they're focusing their energies on items that “promote life,” and the community spirit that was enjoyed by the fans. (In other words, a Dead skateboard with the skull and roses symbolism on it = totally cool.)
They're not looking to flood the market a la Kiss, but instead will seek to introduce 15 new items a year, approved by the four surviving members and the late Jerry Garcia's estate.
Music licensing is another topic that is being approached cautiously, with a preference for projects that don't promote drug use or violence. While they're open to discussions regarding the previous, one topic that is seemingly off the table relates to Grateful Dead music being used in commercials. So far, all requests for the band's songs for that purpose have been rejected.
Some of the most consistent merchandising activity in recent years has been via recordings of their live shows, issued as standalone titles and also as ongoing volumes, such as the popular 'Dick's Picks' and 'Road Trips' series.
Further volumes will likely be released and impressively, Rhino Entertainment representative Mark Pinkus reveals that as many as 2000 of the 2300+ Dead shows are in the vaults.
At the end of the day, it's all about the music (although the cash is probably nice too!). Hart says "what we've generated — this energy, this music — is never supposed to end with the last note. We hope our legacy goes on with that power intact."