A mystery tour with fake websites, fake audiences, fake interviews, fake music label, fake management, fake video production company and at least one really good musician.
As Jered Threatin (if that’s his real name) says… “What is Fake News? I turned an empty room into an international headline. If you are reading this, you are part of the illusion.”
The Story of Threatin, a Most Puzzling Hoax Even for 2018
by Jonah Engel Bromwich
The New York Times
November 16, 2018
A rock band went on tour in the U.K. and nobody came. Then it got weird.
In April, Jered Threatin began to hold auditions for a backing band. He chose three musicians and told them they would embark on an all-expenses paid European tour with his band, Threatin.
The first stop was The Underworld in London. Someone representing Threatin had paid £780 (roughly $1,010) to book it for the night of Nov. 1 and told Patrice Lovelace, an in-house promoter at the club, that the band had sold 291 tickets for the show.
But when the band went on, there were only three people in the audience.
“It was only on show day when no customer list for the 291 customers was produced that we realized we’d been duped,” Ms. Lovelace said. “The show went ahead with only the supports, staff and crew in attendance. The bar made almost zero money, and it was all extremely bizarre. And empty, obviously.”
The next few gigs were similarly barren. After a show at The Exchange in Bristol on Nov. 5, for which a promoter claimed to have sold 182 tickets, staff at the venue decided to investigate the band. After all, someone had paid more than $500 to book the venue.
Nearly everything associated with Threatin, it would turn out, was an illusion. Iwan Best, a venue manager at The Exchange, said they found that each of the websites associated with Threatin — the band’s “label” Superlative Music Recordings; its management company, Aligned Artist Management; and the video production company that directed the band’s video — were all registered to the same GoDaddy account. (The pages were built under a parent site seemingly associated with Superlative Music, the fake label.)
Then there was the question of his fan base. Many of Mr. Threatin’s hundreds of Facebook friends were apparently from Brazil, and YouTube videos of his concerts never show the band and the crowds at the same time. Other videos from his channel, some of which have since been removed, included clips of interviews of him in which the questioner was not shown, and it seemed possible he was interviewing himself.
Much of this tale was rigorously documented by the unflagging writers at MetalSucks.net. They found that music sites that had conducted interviews with Mr. Threatin (and one that gave him an award) had been cooked up on WordPress or Wix, and padded out with content stolen from other outlets.