As the new year begins we see the plans coming together for tours in the Spring, and of course the rise of the ‘meet and greet package’. With bands such as Pvris, All Time Low and Mayday Parade all selling VIP packages this year in the UK, it is becoming the new normal to make fans pay more to meet the band with added privileges.
My question really is it right? Rou Reynolds, the lead singer of Enter Shikari, puts it succinctly in a recent article on Alternative Press, ‘If someone is charging to meet them, do they deserve to be met?’ – removing the hero worship from music aside, it is an important question to answer, particularly when lesser bands with smaller budgets and profit can meet fans in the cold at difficult hours, I’ve seen bands such as The Maine do this many times, The Maine recently did a whole free tour to thank fans and bands such as Man Overboard put together free samplers alot in connection with their tours.
Maybe the question that needs to be answered then is, is it neccesary? It is still a recovering economy and the cost of playing arenas is of course much larger, however much of the cost for venues must be covered by the price of tickets, in fact the cost of tickets should cover the cost of hire of a venue like the O2 Arena, ten times over according to some sources, for example with some basic maths you can calculate All Time Low if the O2 sells out next year will make over £700000 on their London show alone, (that’s around a million dollars) from ticket sales, is that a band who then have to make fans pay a further amount to eat pizza with them? I think not.
That’s not to say these experiences aren’t worthwhile, it is an amazing thing to meet your favourite band and there some bands who do free shows when they come to the UK, Banquet Records are known for their free shows with many bands including Neck Deep, so if this is possible for bands to play and meet fans for free why not make this consistent throughout their tours? Why not for example allow people who arrived early just watch soundcheck considering how desperate they are to see you already? It seems the very human aspect of music is being sucked out by the manipulation of fans by musicians.
The cost of being a fan of a band is high, merchandise, CD’s or vinyl, gig tickets, transport, fan clubs and magazines should cover the cost of any kind of meet and greet a band organise for their fans, and it seems absurd to then charge the people who put you in the position you are, to meet you, the very people who created your success. Like Reynold says, is it right to for a human to pay loads of money to be closer to another human? I think there has to be a better way of creating an ethical connection with fans than this.