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How one Toronto musician fooled Starbucks into shilling his songs

Struggling musicians have traditionally had to endure a lot of hardships: working at a coffee shop (Starbucks, for example) to make rent, living skint until that big break that may or may not ever happen, and as we learned in Josie in the Pussycats, stretching one pack of ramen pretty far. But the resourceful—and super-smart—Toronto indie musician Gavin Slate has decided to take his singing career into his own hands by scamming Starbucks consumers. Slate printed fake—yet very convincing—single download Starbucks Song of the Week cards and put them in front of legit cards from, we assume, Norah Jones and Hawksley Workman. Then, in a vain and brilliant marketing strategy, he recorded the entire process, complete with pointing out MuchMusic for not playing his songs and, of course, a lot of free Starbucks advertising. Slate printed 1,000 cards and he has already received close to 200 downloads.

  • Edward

    Only 200 downloads? That doesn’t seem like that many after paying to get all those cards printed and then paying for gas to drive to every Starbucks he went to. Not to mention how much time he spent doing all this.

  • Gavin

    Thanks for the post guys, I’m a big fan of Toronto Life!

    Just to clear a few things up, the 200 downloads were actually just over the course of the weekend and do not include any iTunes downloads or streams (those numbers haven’t come in yet). The numbers are continuing to grow!

    As for gas, we did do a substantial amount of driving, but the faithful TTC was our best friend for getting around the downtown core.

    Hope that helps. Thanks guys!


  • David

    Is there not a risk of reprimand via iTunes?