We Have More Playtime than Money

One issue that seems to come up a lot in fandom, in one way, shape or form is money.  Let’s face, fandom tends to cost money, no matter what you are a fan of.  If you are a fan of a TV show, you have to make sure you have a TV.  Maybe, you need cable to watch the particular show you are a fan of or you opt to go the way of hulu to watch your favorite program.  If you are a fan of a book series, you need to be able to buy the books unless you borrow from friends or the library, but that might mean that you won’t get the books for awhile.  If you are a fan of a rock band or other musical artist, you have to buy the music and/or something to listen to it on.  If you are a fan of a sport teams, you have to find a means of watching the sport, either on TV or at the game itself.  Movie fans need the money to go see the film.  All of these examples are the very basic viewing, too.  Fans typically want to own the books, the movies, the TV shows, the albums of whatever they are a fan of.  Now, the cost has increased.  What about attending events like those sports games or concerts or conventions?  More money.  Of course, some of those events might not be close to where you live.  Then, you need transportation and all that comes with that.  Many fans like to buy other merchandise related to their fandom as well.  More cash needed.  What happens when you can pay to meet the idol(s)?  What happens when you can pay for that precious autograph or that picture?  Clearly, fandom costs money.  This makes sense, on one hand, since that is sort of the deal.  The idol(s) make or do whatever you are a fan of then you buy the product.  It is a financial exchange.  On the other hand, some fans can afford more than other fans.  This puts a whole other spin to it and a ton of questions.

The first question that can pop up is whether or not this is fair.  Is it fair that the fans with more money get more things?  More experiences connected to their fandom?  This, of course, is a dicey topic.  I think it is safe to say that many of us, most of us have to choose what we can and cannot do, what we can and cannot buy.  For some fans, buying things connected to one’s fandom is of a higher priority than others.  I admit that is a true statement for myself.  I have chosen to put my fandom as a higher priority in my own personal budget.  I would love a new dining room table, which is really my family’s old kitchen table from when I was a kid.  Yet, I would rather spend the money on a VIP concert ticket than buy the table.  It is a choice I make.  Therefore, the argument could be made that it is fair in this way.  Everyone can choose where they put their fandom in terms of financial priority.  Yet, we all know that for many fans, they can only put fandom so high due to other more significant costs like paying for shelter or food on the table or items that are needed by their family.  This means that for those fans, they simply miss out on the opportunities or products, which isn’t really fair.  What I do think is important for all of us to recognize and be clear, ourselves, that, for some, it is about making a choice between fandom and other things and, for others, it isn’t a choice at all.  So, if it isn’t fair to those fans who really can’t choose to put fandom higher, what should be done about it, if anything?  I already see the sides lining up.  Those who have the money to choose fandom might argue, “It’s my money.  If I have the money, I should be able to buy what I want.  While I’m sorry not everyone does have that choice, those options shouldn’t be taken away from me.  I like that I am able to buy more stuff and more experiences.”  Those who don’t have the choices might say, “I wish that I had the money to afford the items and experiences but I don’t.  I am just as good of a fan as the next person.  Fandom means just as much to me as those who have more money.  I should be able to experience and get some of it.”  One solution, of course, could be more contests but then again…fans who have more money could and should be allowed to participate, right?  Truly, I have no solution.

The second set of questions that come up with this issue is what the celebrity(s) should or should not do regarding money.  While I think we all recognize that there is a financial transaction that takes place with fandom, it isn’t all there is to it.  Fandom is also emotional.  The celebrity(s) should know that and understand, right?  Perhaps, then, there is the question of whether or not the idol(s) should then, in understanding, make sure that their products and experiences are fairly priced so that a large number of fans could possibly afford it.  Should, for example, Duran Duran lower the prices to VIP seats so that more people could afford them?  Of course, from a business standpoint, if people buy them at the prices they are on, there is no reason for them to lower them.  After all, they want to make the most profit they can and we can’t blame them for that.  Recently, someone pointed out to me, during the big Comic Con convention, that the stars of the X-Files charged $200 to have fans get their pictures taken with them.  Is this price outrageous?  Is it a matter of taken advantage of their fans?  Obviously, we could all decide this ourselves and their fans could decide whether or not that price was reasonable.  If they thought it wasn’t, they could choose not to buy, right?

Like I said, I don’t have good answers for this issue.  I do think it is important to acknowledge that it is an issue within fandom.  I don’t know what the celebrity(s) should do or not do.  I know this.  I feel lucky that I can make some choices with my fandom and I recognize that others can’t as much or at all.  I definitely don’t think that makes me a bigger or better fan than them.  It just makes me fortunate.  Some could argue that if I felt strongly about the costs and how it might exclude some people, then I could choose not to pay myself and that if everyone stopped paying, the costs would lower.  That is very true.  Yet, I hesitate to do that because I do see the idol(s) purpose of making money.  I also recognize that I really don’t know what, in turn, they have to buy themselves in order to do their jobs.  For example, a lot of people work in the Duran machine.  They all need to be paid.  Studio time needs to be paid.  Producers need to be paid.  I don’t know how much money they really take in.  Yes, I’m sure they take in WAY more money than I do.  The other reason I hesitate to stop buying is because I should have that choice to do things that I enjoy.  I like going to concerts.  I like buying music.  I like going on tour.  Clearly, this is one of those issues in fandom that don’t have any good answers, but one that I suspect everyone has an opinion about.

-A

3 thoughts on “We Have More Playtime than Money”

  1. Quick points I wanted to make in response:

    There will always be the “haves” and “have nots” in this world…and that division exists within DD fandom whether we want to admit it or not. I don't think anyone should be apologetic for having the financial means to spend on leisurely pursuits nor should anyone be feeling like chopped liver because they wisely reserve funds for other priorities. It's a matter of difference in life circumstances.

    I think the actual underlying issue is not money but ACCESS. Every Duranie dreams of owning a DD album/DVD, going to a live concert, having a piece of memorabilia (e.g. tourbook, Tshirt) and ultimately meeting at least one member of the band. We all desire that same direct connection with them. However, when the size of one's pocketbook becomes the determining factor of which level of access one can achieve, I can see how feelings of jealousy/resentment/hurt can develop. Nobody likes to feel left out but, in effect, that is sorta what happens. It would appear that a certain group of people get all the breaks while the majority have to settle for crumbs, if any. I have known and felt that isolation before and it's not fun.

    The solution? Well, for starters, I wish the band would allow open access to Katy Kafe sessions instead of reserving it strictly for DDM members. I mean, really…I have to PAY a membership just to hear the guys talk at length? I find that to be a ripoff. ALL FANS would love to listen in (if not live then as a recorded podcast) so why the unnecessary restrictions? Second idea…and it requires a personal judgment call…I think Duranies should consider SHARING more. It may mean having a local gathering of fans pitching in some dollars to enable a cash-strapped person to finally attend a show. Maybe it would mean surprising a friend with some VIP/meet-n-greet tix. Maybe it would mean acquiring a band member's signature FOR SOMEONE ELSE ahead of yourself (I myself have done this for another fan who couldn't make it out to meet the guys for health reasons). I have personally benefited from the thoughtful, sacrificial acts granted to me by other Duranies when they could've easily said, “No, I earned this. This opportunity is all for me. I deserve to see Duran Duran 30 times in front row”.

    Just some food for thought.

  2. Access is a good way to say it. Yes, I can see how frustrating/upsetting it is for those fans who aren't afford to have access to see others have all the access in the world. Yet, I can also see how nice it is for those fans who do have the money to have the access. Since we know that the band is limited, is there a better way to make it fair?

    There is not much of a reason to be a DDM member besides the presales and the Katy Kafes, which is why I can understand them not giving access to everyone. They want to make profit over it.

    As for people sharing and helping others, I would love if people did that. I can't see it happening much but I love the idea.

    -A

  3. I will say that the whole “sharing” thing happens a lot more in other music fandoms than it does here. One example I can give is Bruce Springsteen. I know of people who have chipped in and bought tickets, or gotten things from Bruce in order to give to another fan who was cash-strapped or just needed help. The thing is, Bruce himself is very charitable and I kind of think he sets the tone for his diehard fans. I am in no way saying that Duran Duran isn't charitable – but I do think this band does it a little differently than Bruce, and that's OK.

    That said, I personally know people who have gone out of their way to do things for other fans. I don't think it happens often, and when it does – I am certain it's not really spoken about because the people involved aren't looking for recognition or a heroes welcome for doing so. On the other hand, I also know of many, many fans out there that are entirely too quick to show what they've gotten or they've done without any regard for anyone else…but on the same token none of us really know what is going on in someone else's head, and while it's very difficult, I'm trying not to judge those people; instead just trying to better myself and keep my own selfishness in check! 🙂 -R

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