FEATURE: Are Bands Exploiting Fans?

Meet and greets are a nice idea, and it might make it seem like a band cares, but that might not always be the case…

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Fancy meeting your favourite band? Well, how much money do you have? Sleeping With Sirens vocalist Kellin Quinn has recently come under attack for charging $80 for a meet and greet package, mainly involving him, and simply a signing with his band.

Both music fans and artists alike have mocked him on Twitter for the price of his ‘Polaroid Package’. However, if we look at this in context, is it really that bad a price? Sleeping With Sirens aren’t playing small underground venues, on their most recent UK tour they played Brixton academy, which is one of the largest non-arena venues in the capital.

A band on this level would struggle to casually meet fans after the show and $80 (approx. £50) is not an excessive amount to meet your favourite band.

Now, let’s take a slightly larger rock band. 30 Seconds To Mars, who are touring next month, have done their days at Brixton, and are now playing the O2 Arena. But can this justify a $405 (approx. £251) package? It includes very similar experiences to Kellin’s Polaroid Package, the only real difference being that Mars offer more merchandise. Of course there is the argument that Mars are a bigger band and that therefore they are justified in asking more money but a whole £200 more seems a little excessive. These are dedicated fans that have no doubt already spent money on the bands albums, merchandise and concert tickets, so is it fair to charge them this much just to meet the guys they look up to?

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The ‘Echelon’, as 30 Seconds To Mars dubbed their fans when they first started out, are one of the most dedicated rock fanbases. The band have always claimed to be as dedicated to the fans as they are in return and truly try to involve them, going so far as to feature their vocals on the ‘This Is War’ album and ‘welcoming them to the family’ at live shows. But charging $405 in order to get a picture with the band and early access makes me wonder where their true interests lie. “I personally think it’s way too expensive. Especially when other bands do M&G for free… and these bands earn way less than 30STM do,” says one of the fans on Facebook.  It’s no secret that front man Jared Leto is now a business man too, owning his own production company, and perhaps this side of him has won, over the side that truly cares about the fans.

How could it be that Kellin Quinn can be mocked by his fellow musicians for charging an affordable amount for his fans to meet him and his band, while Leto, probably a much richer man, given the acting career he juggles, can charge just over £250 for essentially the same package and get away with it? Maybe it’s time that bands sort their priorities, or at least stop with the façade that the fans mean more to them than the money when charging hundreds of pounds for a simple meet and greet.

Words By Jenna Young

Photo Courtesy Of Susan Potter

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