Grateful Dead – “Billboard” reports their farewell concerts were the largest Pay-Per-View musical event ever. The 5-night live broadcast set a new record, with over 400,000 cable/satellite purchases and online streams. The concerts themselves grossed $55.2 million.
Apparently enamored of the idea that they could support their favorite band/religion/way of life from the comfort of their homes, instead of living in their vans for months on end with a bunch of strangers and a cross-eyed acid dealer named “Skunky Jim,” Grateful Dead fans came out in virtual droves for the band’s latest stab at a farewell tour, setting new records for Pay Per View subscriptions for a live musical event.
The subscription package, set up to support the “Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead” tour, contained footage from five different concerts, including those held at California’s Levi Stadium and Chicago’s Soldier Field. More than 400,000 people have purchased the package so far, translating to roughly $32 million being spent to see Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart play together one last time. (The shows also featured performances from Bruce Hornsby and Trey Anastasio, guitarist and frontman for the Dead’s noodle-y jam band successor, Phish.)
The previous record for PPV success was held by The Backstreet Boys, at a paltry 160,000 subscriptions. The Grateful Dead and their fans blew that number out of the water, proving once again that, when it comes to tossing disposable income at convenient nostalgia, no one can come even close to matching the Deadhead generation on their own home turf.