Monday, December 29, 2008

Jimmy Buffett story

I've been working for months on a story about singer Jimmy Buffett. I'm a big fan. The story finally moved to the national wires on Monday. Here it is for those dont see it elsewhere

¶ Associated Press Writer
¶ LAS VEGAS (AP) _ It's like the world's biggest beach party, hosted by the world's richest beach bum.
¶ The 15,000 fans packing the sold-out MGM Grand arena were enjoying the final concert of the season by Jimmy Buffett, the singer whose popularity and fortune grow greater even as his hair grows grayer.
¶ Buffett, who turned 62 on Christmas Day, long ago became an icon of certain baby boomers _ perhaps the least-hip demographic in the country _ by offering the dream of throwing off their responsibilities for his tropical party vibe.
¶ But in the past decade, this chronicler of Margaritaville has really cashed in on his image.
¶ How big is Buffett?
¶ With an estimated annual income of more than $40 million, you might mistake his portfolio for that of Warren Buffett (not a relative). And he's done it by sailing beyond most musicians' ticket, T-shirt and poster revenue stream.
¶ The title of his most popular song is showing up on restaurants, clothing, booze and casinos. Among the products he's involved with are Landshark Lager, the Margaritaville and Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant chains, clothing and footwear, household items and drink blenders. The Margaritaville cafe on the Las Vegas strip is said to be the top grossing restaurant in the nation.
¶ Buffett writes best-selling novels. There's Radio Margaritaville on Sirius. Even his recording career is booming as the music industry tanks: His recent album, "License to Chill," was the first No. 1 album of his career.
¶ In October, Buffett was chosen by Vanity Fair as No. 97 on a list of the 100 most influential people. In the world. He's nestled between Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris and anti-poverty crusader Jeffrey Sachs.
¶ But the exact scope of the Parrot Head empire is secret. Buffett's privately held Margaritaville Holdings LLC does not publicly disclose its finances, and his publicists declined numerous requests for interviews with the singer or anyone connected with Miami-based Margaritaville Holdings.
¶ "He wants to be known as an artist and musician, but he's an extremely savvy businessman," said Brian Hiatt, an associate editor for Rolling Stone who covers the concert industry.
¶ Buffett is somewhat unique among aging crooners in that his fan base is broad, and is not tied solely to a string of past hit songs. For most of his career, Buffett had only one Billboard Top 10 hit, "Margaritaville," in 1977.
¶ What he offers his fans is an accessible fantasy.
¶ "Anyone of any age could imagine retiring to a tropical paradise and drinking margaritas," Haitt said. "There is something extra-musical about the whole thing."
¶ You don't have to go to a concert to buy his stuff. Margaritaville boat shoes and flip flops are found in shopping malls. Margaritaville Foods sells salsa, hummus, tortillas and dips in Wal-Mart and other stores. Landshark is sold in grocery stores, and Margaritaville tequila is in liquor stores.
¶ And concert tickets sell out in short order, despite prices that run well over $100. The Buffett brand is on a growth spurt, usually as a result of marketing deals.
¶ The Cheeseburger in Paradise chain was founded in 2002 and owned by OSI Restaurant Partners, owners of Outback Steakhouse, among others, under a license from Buffett. Landshark Lager, made by Anheuser-Busch, and Margaritaville Tequila, made by Seagram, are sponsors of his concerts.
¶ Last May, the Trump Marina Hotel Casino in Atlantic City was purchased by Coastal Marina, LLC, which will convert it into a destination resort under the "Margaritaville" label.
¶ "Jimmy Buffett and his team at Margaritaville have created an extraordinary brand that is instantly recognizable to an enormously large and dedicated fan base," said Richard Fields, CEO of Coastal Development. "The brand implies quality, value and good times."
¶ Meanwhile, Harrah's Entertainment, Inc., has teamed up with Buffett to develop the $700 million Margaritaville Casino & Resort in Biloxi, Miss., near where Buffett was raised. That project has been delayed by the downturn in the nation's economy. But Harrah's and Buffett already have a profitable relationship.
¶ According to Buffett's Web site, the first Margaritaville opened in Key West, Fla., in 1987. The chain has since grown to 16 outlets, including a new one at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut.
¶ Margaritaville at the Flamingo Las Vegas takes in more than $43 million a year, said casino president Don Marrandino.
¶ "It's been pretty consistent for five years," Marrandino said. "It speaks to the Buffett lifestyle."
¶ ___
¶ On the Net:


Aviva said...

Wow -- who knew Jimmy Buffett was still alive?! Nicely done, but I'd expect that from you. :)

Ildane said...

I enjoyed your post very much, and I wish you much success with your endeavor.

As for for Mr. B, he fell from grace in my eyes when he sued a mom'n'pop burger and ice cream stand in Frederick, MD. to change the business name ( It was called "Cheeseburgers 'N Paradise." Note: cheeseburger is plural, and 'N is not "in." Frenis and Faye Hoffman, the Pop'n'Mom, could have won the lawsuit, but it would have cleaned them out in the process. If Jimmy were the laid-back guy his songs would lead you to believe, he would not have strong armed these good people. Now, I'm just sort of bummed when I hear his music, but at the time, I was so irked that I wrote a Buffett-esque lyric to tell the tale:

All You Can Eat, Buffett!

Let me tell you ‘bout Frenis and Faye
Opened up a shop, down Frederick way
flipping burgers and mixing shakes
good happy service is what it takes
so Frenis and Faye gave their shop a name
an appropriate name, despite Jimmy’s shame
they called it Cheeseburger’s ‘N Paradise
and their chili fries became my vice
but not just that, the burgers were great
so a weekly trip there became my fate.
But now, JB’s lawyers have played their hand
demanding a name change, the beloved burger stand
it’s silly, it’s stupid, in this country “so free”
that I’ve got to say, Jimmy Buffett “EAT ME!”

Why don’t you eat a burger in paradise?
Why don’t you leave these people be?
Are you opening a stand in Frederick’s eyes?
Well then I’ll say it again, eat me!

Jimmy’s limo, never took him so far
living in shame, in a bottled up jar
never tasting a burger so swell
Jimmy’s paradise, a licensing hell
So Jimmy I dare you to do what’s right
and drive out to Frederick some Saturday night
‘cause Beef 'n Buns 'n Paradise is where I’ll be
yelling for your sorry butt to come and eat me.

Why don’t you eat a burger in paradise?
Why don’t you leave these people be?
Are you opening a stand in Frederick’s eyes?
Well then I’ll say it again, eat me!
Well then I’ll say it again, eat me!
Then I’ll say it again,
uh, Jimmy Buffett eat me!
(Cha cha cha!)

-Ildane Angstromr 2004