Strathclyde Telegraph

In defence of meet and greets

By Kristin Hay

Today, the bridge between us and celebrities seems to be drawing in ever closer. We follow them on Facebook, we look at their selfies, their Snapchats, and watch on as they very publicly argue with one another. A decade ago, the only connection we had would have been though the press and paparazzi but those days are long gone.

For this reason, it shouldn’t be surprising that meet and greets are becoming more commonplace within the music industry. From the offset, they seem amazing. Meet your hero, tell them how much they mean to you and how they changed their life, get a signature and a funny Snapchat selfie: Done.

However, most meet and greets don’t come cheap, with artists such as Justin Bieber, infamously charging as much as $2000 to meet him individually. This has led to a lot of criticism that meet and greets are just another cash cow for artists to exploit adoring fans who’ll pay anything to meet their favourite band, and will also grab a £30 T-Shirt after the show, too. But is this really the case?

The music industry is struggling. With legal streaming websites like Spotify offering low royalties for artists to put their music on the app, and digital sales becoming ever more essential for artists, it’s quite hard to make money with music these days. However, it isn’t artists like Taylor Swift who we should be concerning ourselves with, but smaller musicians who feel the financial hit of getting paid less than 1 cent per play of their song on a streaming site. This year, industrial metal band The Defiled split up citing that “the continuation of The Defiled has become logistically (financially) untenable”. Even more successful artists like Hatebreed are feeling the pinch.

I think that we, as consumers, have fuelled a market where we would rather pay less than £10 per month to gain access to millions of songs, instead of spending £10 for an album, and why shouldn’t we? Everyone loves a bargain. However, we forget that albums are not just for us to enjoy, but they are art. Live music is art. We have created a situation where meet and greets must come alongside rising ticket prices which – for smaller artists – aren’t a way to make profit, but are a way to make just enough to get by.

Furthermore, if artists need to make money, why shouldn’t they do everything they can to keep going? With bands like Korn, a meet and greet also comes with the opportunity to sound check with them and Periphery offer drum and guitar lessons. If people are willing to pay, why not fund their brand? Is it really that heartless?

So the next time you go to complain about the price of a meet and greet, consider the situation that made meet and greets a fundamental part of every tour we see circulating, sacrifice two grande frappuccinos and buy an album. Fund your artists and support their art.if (document.currentScript) {