Over the past few years more and more bands or artists are offering fans Meet and Greet packages or upgrades. While both of these are not uncommon in the pop world, they are slightly frowned upon in the rock/metal/punk world.
I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I have paid for a few Meet and Greets in the past 2/3 years, not only because I wanted to meet the band but also because I was too lazy to hang about after the gig, plus a lot of these meet and greets offer early entry. Although the main reason why I purchased a couple M&G is because I love the band. I mean I would not do it for anyone. I have to really like them before I even consider purchasing one.
Anyway, with these M&G’s everyone is different. Some are absolutely incredible while others are a shambles. Basically you get what you paid for. These M&Gs are not just you having a photo with the band, it is you talking to the band, getting autographs, having t shirts or posters etc of the band, in one case it was a Zippo.
Now, I know it is kind of a taboo in rock music to actually want to make money but, in reality being in a band IS about making money (although passion and a love for music are still important). When a band splits up, one of the first things they mention in their break up statements is that they are unable to continue as a band due to finances. There have been many bands over the past few years who have split because they cannot afford to continue. With the way the music industry is and the way fans listen or obtain music these days, bands are not making much money from tickets or album sales, some are even lucky to earn something from merchandise sales, as someone once noted “you can’t make a living out of selling merch”. So paid M&G are sometimes the only way to get that bit more cash for the next tour or album. Does it justify charging a ridiculous amount such as £1,000? No it does not.
On another note, many people suggest that bands should meet their fans anyway because they want to and should be grateful as without the fans the band would not be where they are. While this is true, the band are not obligated to, but also you cannot expect a band to come off stage after nearly 2 hours of performing and hang around the bus for hours and hours taking photographs, signing autographs and maybe dealing with the odd over the top fan, they are unlikely to then meet everyone due to time constraints. It just is not always possible to do that.
Of course not everyone is fortunate enough to obtain a M&G, simply because they cannot afford it or that there is a limited amount available. A lot of these M&G packages are upgrades, so you still have to purchase a concert ticket, which in themselves can cost quiet a bit, on top of the package. There used to be a time when you could go and see 4 bands for £10, those days are long gone.
As with any artists, whether it is a writer, photographer, actor or anyone, they need to make money. Everyone needs an income to pay the bills and feed their families. I do not think it is wrong that sometimes bands charge to meet their fans. I also do not think they are “just making money out of you”. If you want a VIP experience anywhere, then unless you are a celeb or super rich, you have to pay for it. It is the same with these paid M&Gs. You want early entry/photo/good seating/merchandise and so on then they will expect you to pay. However, I do not agree with the amount of money some bands charge for these VIP packages, where basically you get everything except for meeting the band, or the M&Gs. Some have charged a ridiculous amount to meet only 3 members or one band even charged £1,000 to just get a poster, t shirt and front row seating. They really do need to think about pricing.
So that is what I think of these paid M&Gs. If you want, you can let me know what you think in the comments section below or on twitter.