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Feature | Paid Meet and Greets

The days of standing by the tour bus after a show often in the freezing cold and pouring rain, then dashing to the station clutching my signed ticket in hand are long gone. Bands often hanging around the merch stands or in the crowd watching other bands seem few and far between, instead now the culture of ‘V.I.P Packages’ seems to be the only way for fans to meet the bands they admire. Some of these come at a real inflated price on top of standard ticket prices and include anything from a signed item, a photo, watching sound checks or a collectable lanyard can be included to sell these packages. However, it’s rarely more than a few minutes while they sign your CD and take a photo you get to spend with the band.

I understand being a band doesn’t come cheap and there are so many sacrifices and costs that come into being a successful band and getting yourselves on the road, but what happened to the it being about the fans? These people that attend the shows, buy and wear the merch and even some that follow your band to every show possible they can get to. As ‘free’ music is more accessible with the internet and streaming such as Apple Music and Spotify, making money as a touring band gets harder. Therefore, the ideas of charging fans for these packages is often the next step.

Have these bands forgot that without a loyal fan base touring is impossible. Is it worth forking out more money for five minutes, a picture and a little conversation? In my opinion, no. The bands who take their time to speak to people that approach them at shows do not get enough recognition. In the words of Bury Tomorrow’s frontman, Daniel Winter-Bates, “fuck these paid meet and greets, I’ll be at the merch table, come say hi, take a selfie, grope me – not literally but you get me – because that is what matters and what means the most to us”.

More bands need to adopt this attitude, without your fans attending your shows and listening to your music and buying your merch, you wouldn’t be on that stage.  – Lauren Stead

 

I can both understand and loathe the reasons why paid meet & greets exist. First of all, I understand why smaller bands do this, as nowadays, bands don’t make a lot of money. From both album sales and touring, paid meet and greets allow the band to make so much more money to help keep them going and cover costs, or so they can put money back into the band for future tours or making an album. However, larger bands who charge obscene amounts of money to meet them for only 30 seconds of their time takes the authenticity and genuineness out of a band and their music all together, making them seem untouchable and ‘important’. Music is supposed to be intimate, authentic and genuine, not run like propaganda. I have never paid for a meet & greet and never will, I’ve always met bands before or after shows, and that’s how it’s going to remain for me. – Greig Robertson

 

Whilst I understand the need for meet and greets, they are something I tend to disagree with. I believe a true fan/musician interaction is developed in a natural element such as a queue. Rather than a fabricated environment. I also believe musicians and artists get a better feeling from meeting someone in a natural element as it stays with them for a long period of time leaving a greater impact. – Jamie Simms

 

Personally, I’ve never paid for a meet and greet. I’ve always felt that as a band or artist, you shouldn’t have to charge to meet your fans. My experience with meeting bands has always been through either waiting after a concert or through HMV. Bands like Bring Me The Horizon and You Me at Six, and many others like them are my favourite, because no matter what their plans are for the day they always make time to hug, talk and selfie with every one of their fans who waits out in the cold.

Last year my favourite childhood band came to London for the first time, Tokio Hotel, and I was heartbroken when they were asking for £1000+ for a meet and greet ticket. I find that it’s ludicrous to spend that amount of money and it is unfair to those who dream about meeting their idols.

So here’s a picture of me, back in 2013 when I was waiting 8hrs+ outside BBC Radio One to meet You Me At Six, I hope we don’t give anyone nightmares. – Andrea Cutts

 

Why should you have to pay to meet a band, and more importantly your favourite band? Chances are you’ve already spent loads of money on merchandise with intentions to buy more at the show; you’ll have bought the album (probably on vinyl as they’re on the increase) and you’ve spent money buying a ticket for the show which has to be bought separately from the VIP/meet and greet. A dedicated fan should be able to meet their favourite bands free of charge, I mean after all – they’re only normal people? They just sing and play a few instruments and to then charge just to say hello and grab a photo? Absolutely ridiculous, what happened to waiting around after the show or hanging by the merch table to meet your fans? Now you have to pay anything up to £500 just to say hello, get an ‘exclusive tshirt’ and a photo. Just a money grabbing scheme from bands management, the bands are only people after all – just total bullshit. – Daniel Curzon

 

In my experiences, paid meet and greets are never better than meeting and artist before or after a show outside the venue. The time is much shorter and more impersonal when you have 30+ other people behind you waiting to meet them, sometimes for less than a minute.

Almost every time that I have met an artist has been because I waited outside the venue after a show and gotten to talk to them usually for more than five minutes. I personally think that paid meet and greets are not worth the amount that you pay when you could easily get it for free. – Victoria Schmidt

 

Paid meet and greets are a bit of a weird one. Whilst it’s completely obvious as to why they exist, with our scene and indeed many others featuring influential artists that several would pay through the nose to meet. However, despite this, they are a polarising feature of the music industry and once again, it’s very clear why, especially within the alternative scene. Being built on a foundation of DIY ethics and a strong relationship between the fan-base and the bands, it’s a travesty that our scene has simply degenerated into charging people for a handshake and a photo op, which can all be done if the band simply take the time to walk the line before the gig. It’s a shame and a trend that needs to be stopped soon for fear of it being considered a normal thing for bands to do, because when/if this trend becomes a norm within our music scene, we’ve lost. – Edward Sims

 

Whilst enjoyable though it is to meet the artist that made the music you have come to enjoy, the amount of money that some charge is ridiculous. I have previously been to one meet and greet – We Are the in Crowd’s pizza party in Portsmouth – and in all honesty that was enjoyable and it wasn’t an outrageous price. I was able to chat to artists I greatly admire and I got pizza, seriously it was a good day. I’ve also been to a signing tent at Reading Festival, you have to wait a long time, but it’s free, you get to chat to artists and get an item signed, not bad at all!

I’m a realist and I understand that to organize things, money is involved, however I think the prices that some charge is just shy of robbery and the fan receives very little for what they pay for. I believe that there should be another option; fans can opt for an opportunity to chat to their idol(s) as part of a meet and greet group, or 15 minutes or so is set aside at the end or before a show in which those that cannot afford the previous luxury can still enjoy meeting the artist. Obviously there would be perks to the meet and greet to make it worthwhile but those who can’t afford it shouldn’t be alienated. – Jade Falconer

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Taylor Jardine (We Are the in Crowd) and Jade

 

As far as paid meet and greets go, the idea and notion is simply ridiculous. To understand why bands do it, is to fully grasp why or why not the notion maybe realistic or not. To a smaller or newer band the idea of a paid meet and greet makes sense, to make some extra money to fund their tour or what not. For a big band however, such as Guns N Roses selling a VIP Experience for $2,500, is simply ridiculous. It makes them look money driven and can even make the way fans respond to the artist hurt as well, the casual listener gets turned off by this notion and can make the band give off the appearance of being elitist pricks. All in all the notion whilst making sense for smaller bands to get some extra money, is not used for that and instead used by money grabbing chart successors, to instead boost their own egos. – Bradley Cassidy

 

It’s sad to see bands slowly slip into this notion that it is ok to charge people to spend time with them before or after a show. Without fans, the bands wouldn’t be in the situation they’re in, being able to tour countries playing their music. The least a band can do is meet the people that fund their careers for 1 hour after a show. Meeting a band member you look up to and aspire to be like shouldn’t come at a cost, no matter how small or big the band are. No band in the world are more important than their fans. – Nathan Heffernan

 

Rou Reynolds of Enter Shikari really did sum it up best in his piece for Alternative Press:

“Yes, band members have mouths to feed but they don’t need to wave their integrity goodbye to do that. Bands charge for meet and greets because of greed or ignorance. And remember, the root word of ignorance is ignore… Fans shouldn’t be ignored.”

From my experiences (attending one paid meet and greet and meeting many other band members casually after shows), I would argue that some of these people are definitely still worth meeting. However, like Rou, I very much agree that there shouldn’t be a price tag attached to meeting anyone. This is especially true of those who often hold power over those who love their music and by extension, love them. I’m sure paid meet and greets are hard work, but they’re almost certainly not a labour of love. If they were, they’d find a way to do it for free. For the fans.

Right now, those who offer paid meet and greets aren’t doing it for the fans. They’re doing it for themselves. – Joe Medforth

 

I think paid meet and greets are completely ridiculous. No-one should ever have to pay to meet another person, never mind to meet someone they look up to and support by purchasing their music, merch and attending their shows. Bands should feel lucky that their music is doing what they intend it to by giving other people enjoyment and should show their appreciation for their support by taking the time to meet them before and after shows. If a fan is willing to stand in the freezing cold for who knows how long to have a chat and a photo with their favourite artists, then the band should be willing to give back the same. When I went to an As It Is show in Leeds, the band were in the audience, at the merch table and stuck around after the show and had a lot of time for the fans. They were so grateful to be doing what they love – the way it should be. – Sam Preece

Patty Walters (As It Is) and Sam
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