Have you ever paid cold, hard cash to simply say hello to your favourite rock stars? It’s not a new thing – huge bands have been offering paid-for meet-and-greet packages to their fans for years now, but more recently, smaller bands are starting to get in on the act.
One argument for this money-spinner is that it provides fans with a unique personal experience. For a premium, fans can often see the band soundcheck – cheque, cheque – and then hang out for a while before the venue swings open its doors. In reality, this can often mean a quick handshake, an even quicker photo and a hastily scribbled autograph. Thanks very much and off you trot. It’s a process that’s often over in a matter of moments, but hell, for the bands in question, it’s a smart way to cleverly offset the cost of touring and lost revenue from declining physical album sales.
Not all musicians are into this idea, though. This week’s guest blogger, Dani Winter-Bates, vocalist for Southampton metalcore quintet Bury Tomorrow says why he’s dead against the pay-to-say-hey culture…
“I think our generation has seen the rise in mid-level bands starting to do [paid-for] meet-and-greets,” writes Dani. “I’ve always thought it was money-grabbing and out of order. The most memorable shows I went to when I was younger were the ones where the bands came out to the merch area to meet the fans.
“Bury Tomorrow will not do meet and greets. Our relationship with our fans is sort of like a friendship. We know that without them, we wouldn’t exist, so it’s our job to show them our appreciation. Everyone is welcome in Team BT.
“Obviously being in a band can be super-tough, money-wise, so there’s always that thought process of charging for menial services. But honestly, it’s just something that Bury Tomorrow will not compromise on.
“There was some pressure from our old label to do meet-and-greets, but our outlook has always been the same. I suppose that, back in the day, we never thought we were or would be big enough to justify doing anything like that.
“So why do bigger bands do it? They just do it to get more money. There isn’t any other reason. There’s no excuse. If they do it out of concern for their safety, then they should bring a security team out with them. I wouldn’t even say bigger bands do it these days – it seems that everyone under the sun is offering VIP packages. The huge bands and artists who do this are the ones I don’t understand. They’ve enough money, so surely they could set something up in a controlled environment. That way, the bands can safely meet the people who’ve put them where they are.
“I’ve said it a thousand times and I’ll say it more, I’m sure – fans are everything to us. They’re the reason we’re still a band. They’ve shared in our greatest moments and pulled us through our darkest times, so we owe them the chance to come meet us.
“Personally, I love meeting new people. I love hearing how Bury Tomorrow has influenced people and what our band means to them. It’s usually when I post online about meet-and-greets being bullshit that fans stand up and share their experiences.
“It’s nice to see some bands at the moment making a real stand against meet-and-greets, too. It gives fans the message that paying for these experiences is simply wrong…”
What do you think? Do you agree with Dani, or is it worth shelling out to get closer to your favourite bands? Let us know in the comments below.