In the sixties, when iTunes was still just a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye, the Grateful Dead figured out something very important. Back then the music industry put all of their effort into selling records. Concerts were just an advertising campaign to drive record sales. The Dead turned that model on its head, and gave their music away for free in order to engine ticket and merchandise sales. In other words, they realized that the product wasn’t the album, but the experience. This allowed the Grateful Dead to become enormously successful while only hitting the charts once, and their legacy brand has survived to this day, despite the enormous disruption the music industry has undergone. Kids that were born twenty years after the death of Jerry Garcia are following the band around to have the Dead Experience and buy a T-shirt on the way out. The fashion industry is currently going through much the same disruption that the music industry is still struggling with today. With online shopping commanding such an enormous and ever increasing market share, and with most products now available everywhere at a discount and at any time of year, retail stores are no longer portals of distribution for products and therefore have to find a new reason for being. Many of the more successful retail innovators are taking a tip from the Grateful Dead and going directly to the consumer with one of a kind experiences that inspire brand loyalty and a new version of retail relevance. Read more at Forbes.