Do we need fan clubs anymore? Before you answer, read this.

Official fan clubs go back as far as the birth of rock’n’roll with Elvis and The Beatles. This a cool way to get a little closer to the acts you really, really love. You might get some cool free stuff from time to time, too–not to mention first crack at things like concert tickets.

But is the idea of a fan club outmoded in the 21st century? Music Business Worldwide takes a look at the situation.

In a fan-centric universe it’s all about “me”.

Fans want “stuff” and they want to feel listened to. They are increasingly subscribing to platforms and apps that grant the best access to the artist.

Simultaneously though, the music industry has not made it easy for fans to spend their hard- earned cash in one place.  Within this digital landscape the traditional notion of a ‘fan club’ can deliver solutions – but the model is nothing more than a reluctant survivor of the past and due for a serious reboot.

Historically, the fan club’s rise in popularity came at a time when our overall experience of culture was a much more linear affair. Think fan letters sent to a PO box, think Top of the Pops, think tour announcements in the music press and tickets delivered through the post.

Fan clubs presented a mutually beneficial transaction that was transparent. Loyal fans were given priority on all the artist’s offerings and this in turn drove sales of tickets, albums and merchandise.

Everyone was a winner.

Then along came the internet.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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