Words by Sam Taylor
It is becoming increasingly common for artists to charge hundreds and even in some cases thousands of pounds for meet and greets and VIP Packages, with Pierce The Veil, Sleeping With Sirens and Neck Deep to name a few all cashing in on this exploitation . A VIP package usually consists of being able to watch a sound check or acoustic set, a meet and greet, a photo, a poster and early entry to the show. With the printed photograph, the shirt and the tiny little extras probably costing no more than £20 per person to create, the rest of these offensive price tags are making pure, unnecessary profit.
Of course, musicians have to make money and with things such as piracy cutting the flow of income they will naturally look for alternative means to make money. However it’s often the artists who do not need the money who charge extortionate prices for fans to simply be in the same fucking room as them. Take Justin Bieber for example: he does not need the extra fucking money but will still charge $2000 for a meet and greet – why the fuck does he charge that much? Does he fancy a solid gold toilet now or something equally as preposterous?
Most bands who struggle to make money don’t charge to meet their fans. If an individual has dedicated their time to queue and pay for tickets, why should they pay extra to fucking meet them too? Enter Shikari manage to offer the exact same opportunity one would get by paying a lot of money for free to fans who queue throughout the day at their shows, thus proving there is next to no need to charge for VIP packages other than to exploit fans and fuel egos. By charging hideous amounts for someone to be in your presence it is implying you are above them which is wrong, you may be a talented musician but we are all equal human beings and your time is not “worth” more than anyone else’s.
Not all fans can afford to pay for these packages, which could potentially make them feel like less of a fan due their lack of money and nobody should have to go through that. It creates tension among fans by starting the whole “who is the bigger fan” argument dictated by who could afford to meet the band, I’ve lost track of the amount of petty arguments I’ve seen on Twitter over this exact reason. Gigs are supposed to be a place where everyone is equal, regardless of their social/economic situations and by charging for special treatment bands and record labels are making these boundaries wider.
Many people say these packages offer opportunities to build a rapport with the band and have a more intimate experience with them. You shouldn’t have to pay to build a relationship with another human being, and in all honesty these sorts of things aren’t as intimate as the fans are led to believe. The band you are paying hundreds of pounds to meet has done this every day for the whole tour, regurgitating the same old bile day after day: giving them a hug, taking a photo where they awkwardly put their arm around you and having a brief chat about how good their music is. I mean, look at the painfully awkward meet and greet photographs with artists such as Avril Lavigne: she is stood a solid meter from the fan who’s probably forked a fair bit of cash out to have that displeasure. How can anyone say that is an intimate experience where you build a relationship with them?
It’s just fucking ridiculous to charge a person to be in your presence. Fair enough charge for the show itself – but by actually charging people to meet you just makes you look like a pretentious, egotistical cunt.