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Get Even. Get Gigs. “United Breaks Guitars”

Written by Gary North on November 7, 2015

In 2008, Dave Carroll, a little-known Canadian singer, flew on United Airlines. United’s baggage crew broke his guitar, and then the corporate suits stonewalled him for nine months on giving him $1,200 in travel vouchers. Vouchers are “soft money.” They cost the airline almost nothing.

So, he wrote a song and recorded it for almost no money, with the help of his musicians, who volunteered their time. He, too, used “soft money.”

People used to say, “Never get in an argument with an outfit that orders ink by the barrel.” That was in the days of newspapers. (Remember newspapers?)

Now they say, “”Never get into an argument with a guy who makes YouTube music videos.”

The Wikipedia entry, “United Breaks Guitars,” describes what happened next. The video went viral.

The YouTube video was posted on July 6, 2009. It amassed 150,000 views within one day, prompting United to contact Carroll saying it hoped to right the wrong. The video garnered over half a million hits by July 9, 5 million by mid-August 2009, 10 million by February 2011, and 15 million by August 2015.

They guy’s career took off. (Sorry. I could not resist.)

He did try to make amends. He flew United to one of his performances.

United lost his luggage.

Fool me once . . .

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