Just what is a fan owed? If they buy a CD they should get a CD in which the artist gave their all to put it together. If they buy a concert ticket they should get a kick ass performance. If they buy a VIP pass they should get a little more time and attention from their favorites. If they are devoting their hard earned money and precious time by being a fan, they should get at least a decent effort put forth from their favorite artist in return.
I do think that fans in the following case are owed at least an explanation, but you may not. (And you’re probably the type of person who thinks it is ok to just ignore your girlfriend/boyfriend to break up with her/him.) I’m not going to name any names, but if you read the blog regularly or know me you may be able to figure out who I am talking about.
Back in May 2014 a band put together a crowd funding campaign in order to fund their new record. I love these types of things because it allows a lot of bands and artists to release albums they otherwise wouldn’t be able to without a label backing them. They often offer fun “rewards” to the fans as a thank you for backing the project and allows for a lot of different ways for fans and bands to interact.
In this case – the band promised a full length album recorded in thirds. They toured to promote the first third. They released the first third. And then they seemed to go into hiding. While some fans did get their rewards, others forked over large sums of money to be “VIP for life” and other such experiences that needed to happen when the band toured – and then the band opened for another group on a limited run and that was it. $400 for ‘VIP for Life’ that ended up working itself out to maybe one ticket? Assuming any of the shows on this run were even close enough for you to attend?
When fans started getting up in arms about the band seemingly disappearing off the face of the earth, and their rewards not being fulfilled, the second part of the album was released – with one song not even having lyrics, making it seem like it was half-assed just to release something to get the fans to back down.
It seems apparent that the band is no longer – each of them are clearly doing their own thing. Emails asking about refunds are ignored. The crowd funding site is simply asking them to post an update and tells fans that they have to take legal action in order to get their money back. Many fans are wondering “are you even still a band?” Shouldn’t we at least be told if it is over? Be allowed to get some closure? Some of these fans have invested a lot of money and time and effort into this band over the years. Some of them invested a lot of money into this crowd funding project and came up empty handed. Shouldn’t they at least be given an explanation of what their money went towards if not the album and touring to support it? Offered a compromise if the money was spent and they can’t give them a refund? Right now it seems like the money went towards trips to Disney World or helping to manage another artist – certainly not an album or a tour like they were promised.
This is a case of “buyer beware” and also a warning not to get too invested in bands because they will inevitably end up breaking your heart. (A lesson I will never seem to learn.)