Jered Threatin is a metalhead from Los Angeles who sings and plays every instrument in the one-mand hard-rock band Threatin. Despite the project’s thousands of Facebook likes and YouTube views, you probably haven’t heard of it. That’s because Threatin faked his entire online fanbase in order to book a tour of the UK and Europe. A tour that, unsurprisingly, no one is showing up to.
Bands exaggerating numbers or buying Facebook likes is hardly a new phenomenon. But MetalSucks reports that Threatin took things a bit further — lying about ticket sales, buying Facebook likes, event RSVPs, and YouTube views, faking live footage of “packed” shows in LA, and posing as a nonexistent promoter to con venues into booking him to play. It worked. He hired a backing band and set off on tour.
But when the tour kicked in London last week, it quickly became clear that things weren’t exactly on the up and up. According to the Underworld, the first venue where Threatin played, only three people showed up to the show despite the band’s agent claiming that they had sold nearly 300 tickets in advance. The same thing happened in Bristol a few days later, with only three people from the opening band’s guest list attending despite 180 tickets supposedly being sold in advance.
This story about what is essentially a fake band, is absolutely fascinating. Conned themselves a tour without any fans, using fake live videos and bought Facebook likes.
I implore you to go down the rabbit hole and check some of their videos! pic.twitter.com/IqiVc2z27R
— Dan (@buzzingbugs) November 8, 2018
When people from the Bristol venue the Exchange did some digging, the whole scheme unraveled. Everyone listed as attending the shows on Facebook was based in Brazil. All the comments on Threatin’s YouTube videos were from phony bot accounts. And to complete the illusion, Threatin apparently filmed interviews with himself and uploaded live clips from more fake accounts showing the band playing to a room packed with fans — with the band and the crowd never in the same shot, of course.
MetalSucks caught up with Adam Gostick of the Unresolved, the band that opened for Threatin at the Asylum in Birmingham last night. This is what he had to say about the experience:
So my band The Unresolved played last night at Asylum 2 in Birmingham. The day before (7th Nov) we got a message from Ghost Of Machines explaining there was nobody at their Bristol show with Threatin. They thought he’d been ripped of by band booking. We spoke with Asylum who told us they’s been told it was sell out but they checked ticket sales and were at zero. Asylum made it free entry.
We got the gig from an email titled ‘Show Offer’ from somebody called Casey from StageRight Bookings. He offered the show and bigged up Threatin massively. I just thought they were flexing from overseas and thought nothing of it.
From what we can tell Threatin is the guy not the band. His name is Jered Threatin and he says he’s a solo artist with a hired band. They were sound checking when we got there. Throughout the whole night Threatin didn’t approach anybody or talk to anyone but his own people. I heard him speak twice. Once when Robannas Studios showed up because Threatin hadn’t payed backline hire. And once again was a quiet ‘thanks’ cos I held a door open for him. Overall everyone involved with him are very rude and ignorant.
There were 13 people in the room when we played. The sound engineer, bartender, 10 people we brought and 1 who actually got a ticket.
NME also got in touch with Billy Bingham, the singer for Ghost Of Machines, who supported Threatin at their recent show in Bristol:
After our soundcheck at 6pm everything seemed normal like any other show. We were told 180 tickets had been sold in advance and we anticipated a great evening. Just before we were about to go onstage at around 8.45pm (with only a handful of people through the door who were on our guest list), I was told to postpone as the owner of the Exchange had pulled aside Threatin’s Tour manager to explain why noone had entered the venue with advance tickets. It turned out that the promoter had lied about tickets sales and all of the confirmed attendees on FB were fake accounts based in Brazil. Threatin was asked to cover the venue costs or the show would be cancelled. In the end he agreed to pay and due to our later stage time, reduced our set by 15 minutes.
At the time, we all felt a little bit stunned with the whole situation as it all unfolded.We didn’t really know what to think as we waited to hear if the venue would close or the show would go ahead. I believed, from what I had heard that evening, that it was the promoter who had duped Threatin and I did feel sorry for him (hence why we watched his set). It wasn’t until the hours and days after that I realised everything about his online presence is a lie and that he probably knew about everything beforehand – even before booking the tour. I feel angry that acts like this exist – who buy likes, comments and YouTube plays and then book reputable venues and lie about ticket sales. It damages the music scene and venues end up out of pocket because of an empty room. It also makes it harder for genuine bands like mine, who work hard, to gain live exposure due to the fact that no tickets were actually sold. We ended up out of pocket due to expenses, van hire etc. as we expected to sell merch at the show. It doesn’t put us off playing live, the owners of the Exchange were amazing throughout — just like many of the venues across the country. You learn from these experiences and we’ll just be more wary in future.
Threatin’s tour is still scheduled to continue, with a show in Belfast on Sunday coming up next followed by dates in France, Italy, and Germany. But the jig might be up — the band’s Facebook page has been deleted and Threatin’s Twitter account is now private. We’ll see what happens, but in the meantime, please enjoy the sweet, sweet stylings of Threatin below.