The sweet music of revenge: Singer pens YouTube hit after United Airlines breaks his guitar… and shares plunge by $180 million
Date: July 24, 2009
By: Eddie Wrenn
Link: Online Story
The sweet music of revenge: Singer pens YouTube hit after United Airlines breaks his guitar… and shares plunge 10%
When airlines damage or lose their passenger’s luggage, they normally – perhaps grudgingly – end up paying back compensation of a few hundred pounds.
But United Airlines are much more out of pocket in this case.
The company has lost 10per cent of their share value – a massive $180million – after being blamed for damaging a musician’s guitar.
See the video below:
Canadian singer Dave Carroll composed United Breaks Guitars after his Taylor acoustic was damaged at Chicago’s O’Hare airport.
His song has become a YouTube hit with nearly four million views in 10 days.
In the music video, Carroll relates his story, of how in spring 2008 he was travelling to Nebraska when other passengers exclaimed: ‘They’re [the baggage handlers] are throwing guitars down there!’
Sure enough, his Taylor guitar had been smashed.
He went through a year of trying to gain compensation from the airline before being flatly told by an employee only known as Ms Irlweg: ‘No’.
So he took revenge – and, to his astonishment, soared to fame.
The catchy United Breaks Guitars – which cost just £90 to make – became a viral hit, and Carroll found himself appearing on U.S. breakfast shows, with his group Sons of Maxwell’s album flying off the shelves for the first time ever.
And as shares of United plummeted, horrified executives quickly offered Carroll money for the repair costs and flight vouchers worth £700.
He told the airline to donate the sum to charity instead. The guitar would have cost about £1,000 to fix.
Dave, wrapped in a blanket and cradling a coffee cup, pats the chalk outline of his shattered guitar in the video
The video, using homemade props, was made for a mere £90 – but its fallout cost United $180million
And it’s not over yet.
Carroll has composed another two songs about the incident, and the next one – about his dealings with customer relations, Ms Irlweg in particular – will be online soon.
United must be bracing itself for the onslaught, though Carroll has promised that the song will ‘not be unkind’ to the unfortunate Ms Irlweg.
Carroll told the BBC today: ‘I asked myself: “if Michael Moore was a singer-songwriter, what would he do?” and I gathered my tools together and said I would write three songs about the airline, make videos about the airline and share them with the world.’
He said he was amazed to get so many hits – he had hoped to receive a million over the course of the year.
His song has helped him financially though – it is currently the 20th best-selling track on the Itunes music sale website in Canada.
Taylor Guitars has offered him a new guitar to use in upcoming music videos.
United Airlines said they would like to the video use for training purposes to ensure all customers receive better service from the company in future.