Someone raised a point on a singer’s fan club forum recently. (I won’t tell you the singer’s name because I’ve banged on about her long enough now.) Why aren’t fans allowed to meet their music heroes backstage?
There are several possible answers:
- the backstage area won’t accommodate 40 000 fans
- the singer doesn’t have a fortnight after every show to meet 40 000 fans
- security risk
- heat build-up and risk of spontaneous combustion
- exposure to weirdos
However, the person on the forum pointed out that on (name omitted)’s recent stadium tour the world and his dog were being allowed backstage every night, but the fans could only gain access at one show. Is that fair?
The management company might say that it’s part of the deal with the sponsors. They pay money for exposure and brand enhancement, they want some perks in return. But I sat down with a calculator and came up with the following figures.
15 stadium concerts x 40 000 (average crowd per show) x 75 euros (average ticket price) = 45 000 000
Take note of that figure: forty-five million euros. And that’s only the ticket prices. Consider the fans as a single entity, let’s call it Fans Gmbh. As a group fans are the single biggest investor in this enterprise, not the sponsors, not the banks, not even the record label. And the money is paid up front, the tickets going on sale long before the concerts take place.
No one would expect an open door policy, but some parity is not too much to ask. None of the sponsors’ representatives back stage have paid money, and yet they’re there. Fans turning up for the show could be selected via official fanclubs, 5-10 per show; produce your ticket and some ID, get thrown out (after a good kicking) if you misbehave.
It would acknowledge the loyalty, recognise the committment and still be in line with the management’s principles: those who invest get a return. There would be nothing exceptional or extraordinary about this arrangement.
- Sponsors pay money for brand exposure and get perks
- Fans pay money for a show and get perks
Looking around the forum you’ll see lots of photos with fans next to (name omitted) and they’re all taken early in her career. There are none taken in the last two years. And that’s common for all big stars. Fans become customers then units and ultimately cash cows.
I always find it amusing when I read about how social media allows artists to get closer to their fans. Really? Take a look at their following patterns on Instagram:
Arch Enemy – 346 000 followers, Arch Enemy follow 4
Metallica – 4.4 million followers, Metallica follow 42
Taylor Swift – 110 million followers, Taylor Swift follows 0
There’s no interaction, no communication. Social media is just another promotion and sales channel, not a way of reaching out to fans or, god forbid, communicating with them.
The only option is to accept that we are the followers, they are the followed and never the twain shall meet unless they need another cash injection. But when you consider that fans are the biggest sponsors/investors of their business enterprise don’t you think it’s odd that we are at the back of the queue when it comes to meeting and greeting? How many other sponsors would accept that kind of arrangement?
Equal treatment. Nothing more than that. It’s not too much to ask for.