I’ve been to dozens of meet-and-greets with artists, those fast encounters between fans and performers conducted backstage before or after a show. I’ve also been to plenty of autograph sessions where people wait in line to get a book, album or some other piece of merchandise signed. All the ones I’ve been to have either been free (a book signing at a store) or something staged for contest winners.
Today, though, many artists sell these personal audiences for big dollars. VIP packages, some costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars. With revenue from music sales continuing to slip, paid meet-and-greets are becoming increasingly important to the bottom line. Now, though, there are new concerns about security, especially after the senseless killing of former The Voice contestant, Christina Grimmie. Billboard reports:
Though largely over-shadowed by the massacre at the Pulse in Orlando the same weekend, the shooting death ofThe Voice finalist Christina Grimmie by a stalker while signing autographs in the same city the same weekend has forced the live music industry to take a hard look at close engagement with fans at a time when accessibility to artists has become an accepted — and, some would say, necessary — part of fan culture.
These close interactions have become common, particularly for developing acts trying to build connections with music fans. For more established artists, autograph signings and/or private performances and access to sound checks have become a revenue producer on the road, either through sponsorships, ticket bundle upsells, or VIP programs orchestrated by promoters, venues, or private entities like CID Entertainment and SLO Tickets. For artists at all levels, minimal effort and time spent closely interacting with a limited number of fans can bring in revenue of as much to 50 percent to 100 percent higher than the face value of a ticket, and sometimes, when these programs are tied to a sponsorship deal, significantly more.