Van Halen used Brown M&M's as a KPI for technical spec's
Let's take a trip in the Wayback machine.
Remembering back to my High School days
(yes I'm part of the over 40 crowd)
...rock stars would ask for all sorts of outlandish accommodations just because they could.
Little did I realize until years later that this one really had a purpose and it's a great story about how anything can be used as a KPI if you're creative enough.
Snopes does a great job of clarifying this rumor and it has a little lean lesson in it as well.
Explained by David Lee Roth in his autobiography (excerpt found on Snopes)
Van Halen was the first band to take huge productions into tertiary, third-level markets. We'd pull up with nine eighteen wheeler trucks, full of gear there the standard was three trucks, max. And there were many, many technical errors- whether it was the girders couldn't support the weight, or the flooring would sink in, or the doors weren't big enough to move the gear through.
The contract rider read like a version of the Chinese Yellow Pages because there was so much equipment, and so many human beings to make it function. So just as a little test, in the technical aspect of the rider, it would say "Article 148: There will be fifteen amperage voltage sockets at twenty-foot spaces, evenly, providing nineteen amperes..." This kind of thing. And article number 126, in the middle of nowhere, was: "There will be no brown M&M's in the backstage area, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation."
So, when i would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl...well, line-check the entire production. Guaranteed you're going to arrive at a technical error. They didn't read the contract. Guaranteed you'd run into a problem. Sometimes it would threaten to just destroy the whole show. Something like, literally , life-threatening.
This is a great reminder that your KPI's don't have to be complex or even related to the the actual job being done. They just need to work.