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Dave Carroll, the man behind the United Breaks Guitars viral video phenomenon

In today’s fast-paced, digital world, we’ve all heard stories of people going viral, making waves on social media, and influencing public opinion in the blink of an eye. There are endless examples of individuals starting with nothing more than a camera and an internet connection, creating something memorable for millions to experience. One such success story that hit the right note (literally and figuratively) is that of Dave Carroll – the artist, musician, and entrepreneur behind the United Breaks Guitars viral video phenomenon. In this blog post, we will journey through Dave’s personal story of songwriting activism and how he leveraged the power of the internet to make his voice heard.

The Incident That Started It All

It all began on March 31, 2008, when Canadian musician Dave Carroll undertook a routine journey with his band from Halifax to Omaha via Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Upon reaching Chicago, Carroll witnessed in disbelief as United Airlines baggage handlers tossed their instruments around carelessly. This particular round of baggage “tag” resulted in his $3,500 Taylor guitar suffering severe damage.

Despite his outrage and frustration, Carroll found himself lost amid a labyrinthine claims process before being told he was ineligible for compensation. Rather than enduring this bureaucratic nightmare in quiet resignation, the musician decided to share his experience with others – creatively.

United Breaks Guitars: A Series Of Music Videos

Carroll channeled all that frustration into not just one but three satirical songs called “United Breaks Guitars.” These songs not only captured his plight but also resonated with travelers worldwide – amplifying their collective anxiety over cringe-worthy customer service experiences.

Within hours after uploading the first music video on July 6, 2009, “United Breaks Guitars” became an overnight YouTube sensation. The video garnered more than 150,000 views in just one day and has now surpassed 20 million views!

This catchy tune caught the attention of traditional media channels worldwide – from CNN to BBC – spreading its reach even further. According to, the incident may have led to a 10% drop in United’s share price within four weeks post-incident.

Turning Adversity Into Opportunity

While Dave had simply intended to bring attention to poor customer service through a lighthearted approach with these videos, their success opened up new paths for him. Post-incident, he became a sought-after speaker and business consultant on customer service awareness.

Carroll demonstrated how something as prevalent yet widely ignored as poor customer service could be transformed into a conversation-starter through creativity and storytelling. Understanding the potential social impact of one well-timed wave on an infinite digital ocean came naturally to him.

In 2016, he co-founded GripeVine – a platform that empowers consumers to address complaints publicly and seek resolutions directly with businesses. He went beyond personal gain & armed other aggrieved parties with tools to hold companies accountable.

The Aftermath & Legacy

Dave Carroll’s “United Breaks Guitars” saga remains a cautionary tale both for artists looking to build meaningful relationships with their audience and brands seeking authentic ways to engage customers in the age of social media dominance & scrutiny.

Looking back upon the various reactions evolving throughout this episode (from United Airline’s initial dismissal to an eventual apology), we can’t ignore the critical lessons it holds for all involved parties: businesses must pay attention to customer grievances & engage transparently; consumers wield incredible power via their digital platforms; and lastly – bad PR can hit painfully fast when we least expect it!

As Carroll continues utilizing his songwriting prowess for both activism and personal expression – even chronicling his rollercoaster journey through another song titled ‘Way Beyond The Blue’ – one thing is evident: technology has changed the ways we connect and communicate; giving everyone an equal opportunity at making their mark on the world stage.

Dave Carroll’s story demonstrates how an average person can harness creativity and social media presence for influential change. While “United Breaks Guitars” brought him instant fame & kickstarted new entrepreneurial endeavors in its wake; fundamentally, Dave reminded us about our innate power as individuals to genuinely impact global conversations using these digital megaphones simply within our reach — a powerful lesson that will resonate far beyond 2009 or even 2021!

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