How NOT To Treat Fans
I have been an entertainment writer for over 15 years. I've been backstage, at the bar, in the dressing room, recording studio, and homes of some pretty interesting characters in this time. I'm not saying this to boast... it's to prove a point.
I've often told people that I get a viewpoint that not many people get. I get to see the "people" behind the musicians. It is an honor. I take it very seriously. There are some really wonderful performers out there that you probably own a CD or two (or have downloaded a song) from that I know for a fact that they are complete tools.
There's an Austin band that is adored by fans that mentioned in a marketing meeting "I don't give a @$#@ about the fans, they'll love what I give them."
There's a national artist that was a headliner of a music festival in the Hill Country that refused to answer a simple question (that about 30 other performers had already answered for me with no problem or hesitation) and called me an idiot and scoffed.
There's a drummer for a well known rock band that was so cocky you'd think the band was named after him and didn't give anyone else credit for anything (it's not the one you're thinking BTW).
Now... these we all done in "private" and I respect that. I'll never tell you their name, because the important thing is... they do their job well. They make beautiful music that means something to a great number of people.
Here's where I have a problem. Last week on Facebook... I happened to see a performer's posting of a banner he had created to promote his website. He'd posted up an image and mentioned "I just OK'd the proof of this banner..." and gave the printing company some love.
I saw he'd just posted it... and it looked like the mission of the banner was to make his Webite URL as big as possible, so I posted a suggestion. I suggested that he drop the "www" off the sign and blow up the letters even bigger, as when people see ".com" at the end of something they know it's a Website.
Here's where I'm guilty. I assumed he'd want this advice. I foolishly posted it as a comment under the photo instead of sending it to him in a private message. I deleted the comment when I saw his completely off-putting response.
Now.. I made a screen capture of the exchange (sadly I'd deleted my original comment..which was the first comment that he's replying to initially) and deleted the names... Here it is:
|"I'm not forgetting that the audience is made up of MOSTLY idiots..."|
|Click image to read the whole thing.... via my Flickr|
Now.. Dean took me to task for the unsolicited advice. I can take that. It must have rubbed him the wrong way...which is fine. I'll take MY lumps. I was out of turn in giving the advice. But he takes it a step further and says:
"I'm not forgetting that the audience is made up of MOSTLY idiots and everything has to be spelled out for them."
THEN.. he picks everyone else who posted off by telling them they aren't fans because they haven't bought a CD from him (including fellow performers)... and explains his definition of a fan as "Bought a CD or went to a show to see a performance and tipped money in the jar."
Fan = someone who has put $$ directly into his pocket... oh... and most of them are idiots. Or it could be the vast majority of the people who attend a show DON'T put $$ in his tip jar or buy a CD and therefore are idiots. Not sure. Well.. he lost a fan, cheerleader, and a supporter in me... as well as a Facebook friend (which is NOT the definition of a fan according to him).
Anyhow.... here's the lesson:
If you're a performer who is a tool (you may prefer to call yourself ecletic, serious, or driven... but if you treat people like dirt... to me, you're a tool), do me a favor and don't let the fans know about it. It ruins your great gift.
And when you see people with the media... don't assume they are all bad and want to destroy you. There's a lot of us who are trying to elevate your career because we believe in your song, mission, and dream.
Oh.. and if you are a performer that is boasting the fact that you're a Christian (as Dean does very nicely via his Website)... this is NOT the Christian way to respond to anyone... much less your fans.
Hope this helps.
Sean Claes is the owner of Austin's INsite Magazine and has been a freelance entertainment writer since 1996. For an introduction to his "52 Weeks of DIY Music Advice" visit this link - http://www.tinyurl.com/Claes52DIY. If you like what you read... please share. To visit Claes' homepage, go here - http://www.seanclaes.com/.