Each April Fools Day, Amplify has come up with a fairly elaborate April 1 prank to play on our readers. In 2015 we published a phony article that Tim Leiweke was teaming up with Jay-Z to buy Paciolan and launch Tidal Tickets. We followed that up in 2016 with a fake email from Bob Sillerman telling readers that the embattled SFX founder was just hired as their company’s new CEO and wanted to meet at lunch to discuss the person’s career.
This year, we sent readers a phony letter from Fyre Fest founder Billy McFarland asking for an internship, and to make it look real, we used personalized tag codes to include the person’s name and company in the text. At the end of the letter, we note it’s an April Fools Day prank and we even include our company name in tiny type at the bottom, but people still fell for it. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to read it)
Maybe it’s because they only scan the email or perhaps they don’t read all the way down to the bottom, but this year we received over 100 responses from people that were either mortified, shocked or strangely curious. Below is a sampling of responses we received to this year’s prank, both from those who were in on the joke and those who had no idea they were being pranked. Names and companies have been removed from some of the emails to protect the innocent.
From those who thought it was real:
FROM A PUBLICIST
Billy, I wish you well. We handle about 40 concerts and festivals annually. And I’ve been in the music biz more than 40 years, thus feel somewhat qualified to address the market segment.
Please understand I mean my comments to you as helpful. That you stayed with Fyre Fest even once it was determined a scam and massive failure, and that you continue to use a reference in your email, means you wouldn’t fit in with our shop.
We’d have dropped Fyre Fest soon as apparent that things were sideways and people getting ripped off. The media success you cite is based on a disaster that harmed many people; news loves a big screw-up! From our perspective, handling this account is contrary to our mission to do good.
Ours is “Helping you to understand public perception and helping others to understand your business.”
As your career moves ahead, I suggest it’s usually best focusing on the quality and integrity of the account being represented.
Perhaps we’ll cross paths someday in the crazy world of music biz PR.
Wishing you best of luck, I am
Yrs. in communicating good things
FROM A BOOKING AGENT
There really is no open spot at (REDACTED) at this time…
I have my hands full with what I have, now, without even vaguely contemplating someone new.
But I sure to thank you for your interest here…
And when things calm down in the next month or so, I’ll pull my head out of the sand, and begin
to consider the future.
Best to you.
FROM A BOOKING AGENT
Thank you Billy for your email, however, we have no intern program at our Company.
Sorry Billy we don’t have internships at our box office. All hiring is filtered through (REDACTED). I am pretty sure we don’t have unpaid options in the state of CA anymore but I may be wrong. Here is the link for (REDACTED) for the career opportunities.
FROM A PROMOTER
No. I Googled the event and it was a disaster. Why aren’t you in jail?
FROM A VENUE DIRECTOR
Back to you Billy……….I’m no fan of attempting to have a productive conversation by email………please call me.
FROM THIS LONELY AGENT
Hello Billy, I am afraid I do not do intern programs…..I am just a small solo agent that does mostly traditional Celtic artists and do not wish to expand more than I already do.
AND FINALLY FROM THIS POOR PERSON
Unfortunately, I was laid off from(REDACTED) in 2010. Still unemployed – but did obtain an IT degree.
Definitely miss the industry like I never thought possible. As much as I’d love to get my feet back in the business, I’m sure there’s nothing I could do to help you. I do apologize.
And from those who figured out it was fake:
Hey Billy, thanks so much for reaching out! I definitely agree, we can make big moves. I think you would be a great asset at Prater Day. Where are you located? California? Please let me know if I can send you a money order to help pay for your flight to Knoxville to begin your internship tomorrow morning. You can stay with me in my apartment, I’ll send the address soon. I’ll leave it unlocked, so feel free to just walk in and make yourself at home!
Chris Rusk, Crossover Touring
Billy, I’m willing to negotiate lowering the fee I charge interns. The downside is the risk of becoming the next Craig Hankenson :o)
Craig Hankerson, Producers Inc.
Hey it’s Billy McFarland from Fyre Fest. WHAT’S UP! I’m looking for an internship this summer and heard you’re the person at Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy Camp that I need to speak with about non-paid opportunities for someone with my level of experience in the music game — or paid if you got it, I don’t dance no more, I make money moves (haha, I love that song).
I’m really feeling the Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy Camp brand and think I could learn a lot from you Fishof as I prepare for the next chapter in my life. Sure Fyre Fest had some issues, but the media exposure we generated was estimated to be worth $766 million and we were trending on Twitter for weeks!
If you’re not the person I should speak with, then I would appreciate a recommendation or even an introductory email. I have a year of college credits from Bucknell and while I was there I helped my frat raise $3500 during a Turtle racing tournament to spread awareness for Restless Leg Syndrome. After college I created Magnises (which is kind of like a Diners Club card for millennials that got you discounts on medical pot) and then I built the Fyre Media app using the computer skills I learned (I took two quarters of C++ and Photoshop) to hire a Bulgarian to do most of the coding.
Everyone ofcourse knows me for Fyre Fest, which to be honest, is kind of a bummer cause I’m like “Did I peak at 26?” Like what’s next for me?
At first I was like, “How do I become the next David Fishof?” and then my buddy Grant said something that made me think. He was like “How do you get Fishof to be the next Billy McFarland?” And then I was like “BRO! We’re gonna be freaking legends! ”
I’m also a killer negotiator — recently I’ve come to an agreement with the U.S. Attorney that there was some minor misrepresentations tied to my event, but only the bad parts. Also, if you do decide to give me this internship, you’ll have to sign a waiver acknowledging that I’m not allowed to have a Venmo account or go with 500 feet of Ja Rule. You can sign the letter today and make sure to note the date, April 1, which also happens to be April Fools Day.
Thanks again David — would love to grab a cheese sandwich if you’re free or take you for a ride in the Lambo. I got you!
William McFarland II
Quote of the Day: All the crazy shit I did last night will one day be my best memory — David Guetta, Fucking Legend.