This exhibition, opened in June 2018, features selections from the business records component of the Grateful Dead Archive at UCSC Special Collections & Archives. The records on display are full of tales of fostering direct and longstanding connections with Dead Heads while also navigating the complex nature of their concert tours with their huge free-wheeling audiences. Merchandise samples and paperwork from the Dead’s publishing firm and their record company, alongside materials related to a flourishing free tape exchange community, reveal efforts to marry free music exchange with a keen understanding of the value of licensing. Objects and equipment document the band’s abiding interest in technology’s role in their work, while thousands of news clippings reveal their longstanding attention to print media. Benefit concert files and papers detailing their philanthropy illustrate their commitment to sharing their own good fortune and to inspiring others to do the same.
"The Grateful Dead is one huge case study in contrarian marketing," David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan write in Marketing Lessons From The Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn From the Most Iconic Band in History. The Grateful Dead’s archive offers a gold mine of stories of how the band pioneered new ways of thinking about work and about being in business, and about the importance of relationships between creators and their communities.
Exhibit curated by Jessica Pigza, Alix Norton, and Gabriel Mindel.
Virtual tour created by Kristy Golubiewski-Davis, Alix Norton, Rasika Kale, and Nirupama Chandrasekhar.
Special thanks to Ryan Dzialo and Marcus Thayer in Library Operations, Eric Arvizu, Thomas Bergan, Sean Concannon, and Andy Smith. The University Library thanks the Scott Brittingham Family Foundation for its generous support of this exhibition.
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