Canadian guitarist's anti-airline hit takes off

12th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Dave Carroll composed "United Breaks Guitars" and posted it on YouTube after he said the airline damaged his treasured Taylor acoustic at Chicago's O'Hare airport last year.

Montreal -- An irked Canadian musician who accused United Airlines of breaking his prized guitar has taken his revenge, writing a song that has become an Internet hit and a public relations disaster for the airline.

Dave Carroll composed "United Breaks Guitars" and posted it on YouTube after he said the airline damaged his treasured Taylor acoustic at Chicago's O'Hare airport last year.

"We were sitting at the back of the plane with the band, and a woman who didn't know we were musicians yells out, 'Oh, my God they're throwing guitars outside'," Carroll told local media.

After months of trying to get the airline to pay compensation and help repair the instrument, worth 3500 Canadian dollars (3000 US dollars), Carroll changed tack.

"I had this sort of epiphany," he told CBC, "I'm going to write... songs about your airlines and I'm going to put them on YouTube and talk about my experience."

On Thursday, "United Breaks Guitars" had nearly half a million views on YouTube and had been covered by major news networks in Canada and the United States.

The video features the folk-rockers looking on in horror as United ground staff clumsily play catch with a guitar case and pound it with mallets.

A United Airlines spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that "his video is excellent, and we plan to use it internally as a unique learning and training opportunity to ensure that all our customers receive better service."

The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) said that Carroll's story was "not unlike the classic David and Goliath story," and highlighted a common problem for musicians.

"With this one song David has remarkably been able to accomplish something that lobbyists have been trying to resolve for 10 years," said Bill Skolnik, an AFM vice president.

AFP/Expatica

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