How much would you pay to meet your favorite actor or band? For most people, realistically not more than $500. Companies now are offering “exclusive” experiences for you to interact with your favorite artists. The concept isn’t new, but some of the pricing is. For instance to be able to watch a concert from the side of the stage and take a picture with a certain female singer (let’s call her X) is thousands. Yes, over 5,000 to be exact. WITHOUT a ticket, which you have to buy separately.
Being a part of the music industry now and growing up a gigantic fan and supporter of music, I have paid for some of these meet & greets and experiences. Some are well worth the money giving you a ticket, parking, merchandise, meet and greet, soundcheck etc. For instance the Jonas Brothers for $200 offered a full day of a soundcheck, Q&A, exclusive merchandise, meet and greet, drinks, parking, and amazing seats. Paying for a ticket, parking, drink, and shirt would have been for about the same amount.
I first met artist X when she was an opening act and I was 16, she was nothing but kind and actually talked to me. I found myself so excited to meet singer X again, years later when she’s selling out stadiums, only to be shoved by security after going into a hug she initiated and only being able to get out a hello before she went to the next fan. I paid $400 for that three second moment and picture, not including the ticket I had to buy separately.
Ed Sheeran makes a great point of saying “I didn’t want people to pay $170 and get front row tickets and a meet and greet. I hate that shit. The moment you allow a kid with a rich father to have more things than a kid with a poor father, I think that’s shit.” I understand being a larger band you can’t meet everyone, take Taylor Swift for instance. But Taylor has meet and greets with contest winners and a T Party for the biggest fans in each city that are selected by her team during the show, so Taylor can hang out and get to know her fans on a more personal level. I really respect artists meeting their fans for free before or after shows for the dedicated fans waiting. I understand wanting to meet your favorite artist but after being disappointed by singer x, you might want to hold off on learning the sometimes harsh realities of the people behind the golden voices.
I’m not sure where I fall on paying for these “exclusive” and “incredible” experiences. It can go really good or really awful and for paying thousands of dollars, I would expect a diamond ring with it. You’re paying to be in the same room as another human, how much is those seconds with them really worth? Can we all appreciate the music and worry about enjoying the concert more than meeting the band?