The era of “Truckin’” is now conjoined with the age of TikTok-in’. Although the Grateful Dead has been defunct as an actual band since the mid-’90s, the group now officially has a presence on the social platform TikTok. Coincidentally, or perhaps strategically, the band joined on the fan-favorite stoner holiday 4/20.
The first post from the group’s new account (@gratefuldead) has, as its soundtrack, a remastered 1969 live version of “St. Stephen,” recorded at San Francisco’s Fillmore West. The 30-second clip is an amalgam of archival footage and handmade artwork, among other elements.
Although today marks the first day of the Dead having an official account, the group’s music became available for other TikTokkers to use in their own short videos in March.
An announcement from Rhino Entertainment, which now handles the Dead’s catalog, said that “the channel will serve as an outlet to celebrate the decades of music, generations of community, and endless array of creativity that has woven the band and its fans into every new era of the world’s counterculture and consciousness.”
Although TikTok has been seen as a platform most utilized by emerging artists (and/or one-hit wonders), legacy artists have seen huge success via the app, whether it’s just monetizing vintage music via memes or actually having songs re-enter the charts, as Fleetwood Mac did after “Dreams” was used as the soundtrack for a viral video.
In recent times, other classic rock bands have made headlines just by joining the platform, as the Rolling Stones did. A few, like Elton John, with his 2 million followers, are active presences on TikTok. Others are more passive, and death is no barrier to establishing a presence there for a catalog, as the accounts for Prince, John Lennon and George Michael would attest.
The ramping-up of the Dead on social media continues even as a spinoff group, Dead and Company, prepares to play its final shows this year.
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