When I say “Jimmy Buffet” what comes to mind?
A. I kinda know who that is…?
B. Oh I don’t like his music FOR SURE.
C. Pretty sure my parents love his music….
D. All of the above.
Chances are you picked ANY OTHER OPTION than E. I know I would have until about a month ago. That’s before I was led down the rabbit hole that is the Jimmy Buffet Empire.
Jimmy Buffet starting playing music in the late 60s, but started rising in popularity through the 70s, and in 1977 released his breakthrough beachy hit, “Margaritaville.” Through the 1980s, Buffet toured all over, and his shows became famous for basically being giant tailgate parties.
Now, here’s where the Jimmy Buffet Empire starts. Jimmy has a keen understanding of the people that come to his shows. He knows what they want, so he decided to give it to them.
Fast forward to today and Jimmy Buffet isn’t just an artist. He’s a way of life. You can eat at one of Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville restaurants. There’s 29 of them, not counting the other 8 Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurants (named after another Jimmy Buffet song).
Feeling lucky? How about rolling the dice at one of 8 Margaritaville casinos?
What will you read while you’re relaxing at a Margaritaville resort? How about one of Jimmy Buffet’s seven books, three of which are New York Times Bestsellers.
Need a snack? How about some Margaritaville brand chips and salsa and bake-yourself coconut shrimp? You can wash it down with either some Margaritaville brand tequila, or an ice cold Land Shark Lager, brewed by Anheuser Busch, in partnership with Jimmy Buffet.
You know what’s worse than getting those invitations to play Farmville on Facebook? Getting an invitation to play Margaritaville on Facebook, because yes, that’s a thing too.
Jimmy Buffet knows who his fans are: middle aged white people on vacation. So he’s spent the last 40 years giving them what they want: literally anything that makes them feel like they’re on vacation. Oh, and he’s also released over 30 albums, but he didn’t top the billboard pop charts until 2004.
While some artists have a wider appeal and have more fans, Jimmy Buffet has taken a different approach: Having less fans but going super deep with them. Jimmy Buffet’s music represents a lifestyle. He makes music and sells products and experiences around that lifestyle.
To top off the Jimmy Buffet lifestyle, they’re now opening Latitude Margaritaville, which is a Jimmy Buffet brand retirement home. You can’t make this stuff up.
Jimmy Buffet is proof that you don’t need millions and millions of fans if you can go deep with the ones you have. It’s an alternative strategy that works: Jimmy Buffet’s net worth is $430 million.
Okay, I know you look at this whole thing and think, “but the music is terrible and Margaritaville everything is corny” but you know that Vulfpeck announced a 1612 branded combination lock, or Back Pocket branded Jeans, you’d order them immediately. Hungry? How about eating at one of Snarky Puppy’s Family Dinner chain of restaurants?
Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case. Jimmy Buffet is a genius.