So, this Threatin thing. It’s been dominating headlines, even for normies. That’s a really big deal for any sort of heavy band to pull off, regardless of if they are on the more pop metal side of the spectrum or not. It’s led to a really interesting series of conundrums that leave me full of questions and very curious about what the next few steps are going to be. I’ve record a couple podcasts about this which you can hear here and here but I also want to pick apart the story and then dig in a little bit to some of the theorizing that I have seen around this as well as what it means for bands in the industry going forward. This is a truly bizarre and fascinating situation with the two prevailing theories being either that this guy Forrest Gumped his way to success, or that this is one of the most brilliant metal marketing stunts ever pulled. Let’s dig in to the why and how of it.
So for the uninitiated this is the story as it stands at the time of writing: Jered Threatin (Presumably to his real name) has put together a European tour that hasn’t been attended by… well… anyone. He did this by posing as a promoter and approaching a huge variety of venues and paying all the fees up front. Then his fake promotion company lied to the venues about how many ticket sales he had leaving them in shock when a mere two or three people would turn up each night. He also built a fake management company and a fake label to go with it. Think about that. He essentially faked his way to the holy grail of US bands, a European tour. Around this time the madness of this story started to get picked up around the globe. This all being said, now after these bum shows, every band member has quit, one has flown home and the others are presently waiting for their flights. The bands drummer and guitarist have given separate interviews full of details that don’t quite add up, or that require a level of ignorance that borders on insanity.
As mentioned before there are now two competing theories as to what exactly went down here. The one a lot of people seem to be committing to is that Jered Threatin is a narcissistic Forrest Gump type figure who has no business touring but had a ton of money to pour into this and now has lucked into a ridiculous amount of PR. This would explain a lot of the lack of professionalism, insane amounts of preparation (Remember, Jered set up countless fake websites to make this seem ‘legit’) and the completely deluded view that European shows would somehow be packed despite no PR or anyone actually caring about his band. His history of doctored videos and bizarro content was all his way of doing it since (in this narrative) he has no clue how huge chunks of the music industry work. Instead, he fund a hack that took advantage of his apparently huge funds and went from there. This narrative is appealing because it feeds into the ‘spoiled kid’ imagery and general cheesiness of his pop metal approach. I get it, but I feel like this goes too deep for that to be the case. Could any narcissist be this deluded?
There is also the (In my opinion much stronger) theory that this is all some sort of promotional campaign, for what we don’t know. As I said, a lot about this doesn’t add up and has led some to wonder if this is a sort of conspiracy by the venues as part of a promotional campaign. We don’t have a lot of first hand accounts on all this and a lot of it seems like it’s pointing towards something more dramatic. At this point this is a global story, shouldn’t a neighbor or someone who knows Jered in real life have popped up with a testimony for their fifteen minutes of fame at this point? He’s got every big site writing about him and asking questions, there is supposed to be a statement tomorrow, but that just might mean the insanity continues. This could just be a huge piece of performance art too. The point is, a lot of people are into this hook, line and sinker. My personal pet theory is that this is some sort of Borat-esque promotion garnering the eye of the world before the big reveal.
As for what this means for independent bands. Well there’s a lot to unpack here. The first is that, if this guy is just a spoiled Forrest Gump then it just is a glaring example of how money talks and can be super effective at growing a campaign or getting you what you want. Meanwhile, no matter what the outcome, mastermind or not, this is proof that if you really fucking work then you are going to get some sort of traction and people talking about you. No matter how this thing got set up, it’s obvious that Jered put a huge amount of work and money into this whole thing. If he really is masterminding this to promote an album release, then just think about how crazy and huge that is. Think about how many bands are going to turn around and then try to do stupid and over the top stunts like this going forward in order to get the attention they want towards their records? It is going to be completely insane.
At the end of the day, this is world breaking and game changing. The fact that this guy could come out of apparently nowhere and get on the BBC is insane. The fact that he was able to get more articles written about him in a few days in major publications than major bands get in their entire careers speaks to the way that this whole thing is being handled and how well Jered has captured the media’s attention. Regardless of outcome, this is one of the biggest happenings in metal from an independent act that we have ever seen and should have people taking notes. This is a huge and weird situation that goes deep. Watching it unfold is going to be a trip.