Jered Threatin is finally cashing in on all the negative publicity of his promotional stunt. Now, he's trying to claim he was behind the exposé all along!
If you somehow missed this story, Threatin, a completely unknown power metal band, kicked off their European tour playing to empty venues, and the venues realized they'd been duped by a fake promoter (that was actually Jered) and that Jered created an entirely made up online presence. The whole con kept unraveling and what's even crazier is his own bandmates didn't realize it until the story broke. Jered Threatin's real identity was exposed and the story kind of took a dark turn.
Before the weekend, the first profile hit where Jered finally admitted to the hoax to Rolling Stone. But overall, the interview focused more on Jered's backstory and less on the marketing plot. This weekend, a second profile surfaced on the BBC, and this one was far more in-depth, with the writer, Jessica Lussenhop, traveling to Los Angeles to actually meet Jered, get to know him and try to understand what he was trying to do with his marketing ploy.
Most of the interview covers Jered's past but then towards the end of the piece, they finally get to how Jered created this whole online world – fake record labels, fake metal zines, fake awards and reviews for his band, fake Youtube views and Facebook fans. Turns out Jered had quite the operation going:
Tapping away on his laptop, Jered tried – and repeatedly failed – to log in to one of the hundreds of fake Facebook profiles he’d started over the past year, since the launch of the album he’d written and recorded, playing all the instruments himself, in the huge studio space on the east side of the house. Although he made a few unsuccessful attempts to promote Breaking the World through traditional means, he quickly decided to go a different route.
“Why do I need some gatekeeper to tell me that it’s what they want it to be, or it’s good enough for them?” he remembered thinking. “I’m going to find my own way to do things.”
Earlier in our meeting, he’d reached under his bed and fished out five notebooks. He flipped one open on a random page and showed me that line after line was filled in with email addresses, their passwords, and a little lock symbol to denote that they’d been locked down or flagged as spam, and were now defunct. In the early days, these accounts had been used in the comment sections of YouTube and on Facebook to sing Threatin’s praises.
He kept the names of his fake Facebook accounts in an app on his phone as well: Mark Jaime. Sarina Goodman. Laura Wales. Ann Corbi. Casey Johnston. Jessica Rice. Josephine Gossan. James Grundy. Alicia Tanlor.
Jered had also gone through the house pulling burner phones out of various drawers, all of which he said were used as a means to create the fake accounts, which require a unique phone number.
“There should be more,” Kelsey had muttered as she looked down at a pile of eight phones.
In my conversation with the couple, they quickly admitted the hoax. Indeed, all the likes and the views and the comments were paid for, made by bots or Jered himself. Casey Marshall, Joe Abrams, and Lisa Golding were also all Jered (Kelsey had provided Golding’s voice over the phone).
None of the companies tied to Threatin really existed. He created the label first, to release his debut album online in August of 2017, and the universe of phoney companies and contacts had expanded from there.
When he tried to generate press, he invented a publicist. When he needed to book some gigs, he created a booking agent. He viewed the entire ecosystem of the music industry – the managers, booking agents, promoters, even photographers and videographers – as just a series of roles he can fill himself.
“If a band approaches a venue and says: ‘Hey, we wanna play this venue,’ you’re going to get ignored,” he says. “All it has to do is look like it’s coming from a booking agency – doesn’t even matter what booking agency, even a fake one – and then you’ll get talked to and you can get things booked. Simple as that.”
Jered, ever the marketer is still trying to advance the narrative of his overpriced marketing stunt. Then, he goes for the kill by trying to imply he was the one who leaked to the press that his tour was all faked. He claims he used a Gmail alias of “E. Evieknowsit” and sent the following message to media outlets:
“URGENT: News tip,” the subject line read.
“The musician going by the name Threatin is a total fake. He faked a record label, booking agent, facebook likes, and an online fanbase to book a European tour. ZERO people are coming to the shows and it is clear that his entire operation is fake,” he wrote, including links to all his phoney websites.
“Please don’t let this man fake his way to fame… Please Expose him.”
The BBC writer noted that the emails Jered showed her pre-dated articles about the fake tour by a week, and then Jered claimed " when the bandmates weren’t looking or in another room, Eames claimed he was on his phone on Facebook under his various aliases, stoking the controversy."
“I manufactured my own destruction,” he said proudly. “My idea was, how am I going to fill these empty rooms? I’m going to fill them with eyes from the digital world. That was the objective from the beginning.”
Were the things I’d taken as signs of humiliation – the closing of his social media accounts, the disappearance of the obviously fake YouTube interviews – actually Jered herding eyeballs towards his music, which he left up? As of writing, Threatin’s single Living is Dying has been viewed more than 1.2 million times.
Ignoring interview requests was another form of stoking the fire.
“As soon as the questions are answered, the story’s less interesting,” he said.
It seems that the BBC writer was momentarily caught up in all the fairy tales as she later wrote "As of writing, Threatin’s single Living is Dying has been viewed more than 1.2 million times," not taking into account that the majority of those views were likely paid for.
As we previously noted, it's hard to see any positive effect Threatin's publicity stunt caused. He claims "literally and thousands and thousands of CD sales," but how could anybody believe anything he says when he's saying in the same interview that he is creating this character. What we can trust are numbers that are a bit harder to fake – for example his Instagram following was at 17k when the story broke and it looks like he gained no more than three hundred followers since then. His Spotify streaming numbers are only at a few thousand. His social media has barely grown despite getting publicity and major profiles in huge publications.
Jered claims in this same interview that he's been approached by multiple producers and writers to sign off on fictionalized versions of his story, and that he and his wife, Kelsey, are working on a documentary about the entire experience.
It seems to me that Jered is on his fourteenth minute of fame, and the time is ticking.