'It makes it a Parrothead world now, not just a nation,' he tells Billboard.
Jimmy Buffett has found a new way to feed the Parrotheads this year: Margaritaville TV.
The new online channel streams select Buffett concerts live and, Buffett tells Billboard, has netted about 10,000 viewers for each of its seven broadcasts so far, with the next due Friday (July 25) from Detroit. "The feedback from that has been unbelievable," says Buffett. "There was one element of my inner circle that thought we'd be cannibalizing ourselves by going on television. But I played my instincts, and I haven't had one person say they'll watch it instead of going to the show. They do both. They watch the (online) shows and get charged up to go see it in person. And there are other people that can't get to a show that absolutely love the fact we're doing it. My friends in Bora Bora now can punch (the shows) up on the screen and watch it while they're having dinner. It makes it a Parrothead world now, not just a nation." And, Buffett adds, "I think it's the way you're going to get to see us in the future. The number of shows is going down. We're taking off a little more time every year. We're not going anywhere, but this way people can make it to any show, even if we're not playing around where they are."
Streaming concerts isn't all Buffett has in mind for Margaritaville TV heading forward. He predicts that other programming, including special events and archived shows that weren't presented live, will be part of the offerings, and it may also serve as a vehicle for releasing new music. "We can go into the (recording) studio and let people in there and watch us while we're doing it," Buffett notes. "We've got a lot of great variables we can do with it. We just have to figure out how we're going to pay for it -- subscription? Advertising? Both? So that's coming. The good thing is we're not out there looking for an audience. We've got one. We've got a million and a half, 2 million on Facebook. I know at Pandora, 200 people a day sign up for the Jimmy Buffett station there. So we can forget about trying to get on radio, 'cause that's not going to happen, and just use our own radio station and TV station to get to those people."