Earlier this year I finally got to meet my favourite band, Blink 182, because I purchased a meet and greet package at one of their shows.
It was an incredible day that I’ll probably always remember. For that reason alone I would say it was worth the money. However, there’s always a tiny voice at the back of my mind screaming “WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE YOU PAY TO MEET FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS?” and part of me can’t help but agree.
Blink 182 aren’t the first band to offer a meet and greet at an extra cost on top of the already pretty expensive gig tickets; they certainly won’t be the last. The thing is, bands’ labels know that people will pay, no matter how unreasonable it is. And as long as there are people out there (like me) happy to fork out for these experiences, they will continue to happen. Unfortunately, my undying love for Mark Hoppus is greater than my sense of morality. I know it’s wrong to play into the hands of such extortion, but I have no self-control, apparently.
Music is a business at the end of the day and artists need to make money too. It’s just a shame their management choose to take advantage of fans’ dedication in this way, making everything about profit rather than passion. Even bands like Neck Deep, who once tweeted that they would never charge for meet and greets, are currently offering a meet and greet package on their new tour. It’ll only set you back £35, which is cheap compared to many, but the same principle remains.
Busted opened a pop-up shop in Camden Market, London for three days to celebrate the 15th anniversary of ‘What I Go To School For’, their debut single. Advertised as a free event, it was too good to be true. A few days before it opened they announced that they would be offering meet and greets for £100. Considering the cheapest item in the shop was about £15. Perhaps would have been nice for them to meet fans who bought merch; instead, they expected people to fork out even more for a couple of minutes with the band.
However, one look at twitter showed just how many people did buy them proclaimed it was the best day of their lives. If such an experience makes someone that happy, does it matter how much they had to pay for it? They do say you can’t put a price on happiness and getting to meet your favourite band can be filed under this category.
I certainly don’t regret buying my Blink 182 meet and greet; no matter how many people rolled their eyes at me when I told them how much I paid. There’s also a huge chance that I’ll do it again at some point. If you can afford it, then why not? But what about people who can’t meet their idols because they don’t have the funds? Hanging outside hotels and stage doors is still the only option for many.
The subject of charging for a meet and greet will always be one that divides opinion. If someone asked me whether I agree with it, I would say no; yet I’m quick to part with my money when the opportunity arises. I think it’s the same for many people. It feels like a necessary evil for those intending on meeting their favourite musicians.
With album sales declining and tours becoming more and more expensive, can we blame bands and their management for finding alternative ways to make money out of fans? Not really, but is it morally right? It certainly doesn’t feel like it.