In the digital age that we currently find ourselves in, we have unprecedented access to the ins and outs of the lives of whichever celebrity we choose to follow, whether that be on Instagram, Twitter or any other social media platform you can think of. Despite this, there’s no real substitute for meeting your favorite celebrity in the flesh and the chances of this are particularly high within the music industry, with a good deal of artists now offering fans “meet and greet” packages. As you would expect, the prices of these packages vary from artist to artist depending on the status of the band or individual in question but the fact that fans are charged money for this experience is a bone of contention in itself among some sections of the music community.
With the news that former Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne is charging fans £1502 ($2072) for the privilege of dressing room access during this year’s Download Festival, it is once again worth asking:
Just how much should fans be expected to pay to meet what is essentially just another human being?
Perhaps the most galling thing about Ozzy’s offer is that the price of the ticket isn’t even included in the £1502 – fans will have to shell out a further £200 ($275) for a weekend ticket to the festival itself. On some levels, we get it. Ozzy Osbourne is a true icon within the heavy metal industry. Aside from having sold 70 million records worldwide with Black Sabbath, Ozzy has also starred in a hit reality TV show with his family and has appeared in numerous video games, including The Osbourne’s Slot game from 32 Red, where users can take advantage of the very best offers and free spin bonuses in order to find the family’s cherished dog, Mini.
However, no matter which side of the fence you sit on with regards to artists charging fans for a face to face meet, it seems patently obvious that the amount Ozzy is charging for this privilege is extortionate at best and at the worst, bordering on greedy. After all, Ozzy is headlining the 2018 Download Festival and will undoubtedly be receiving a handsome sum of money for doing so – it’s also fair to say that he doesn’t exactly need the cash after scoring 13 UK Number 1 albums in a career spanning over four decades. Whilst we appreciate that the demand would most likely be overwhelming for the aging rock star if he was to charge a pittance for a meet and greet experience, there are ways around this, including limiting the number of slots available on any given day. We also understand that Ozzy isn’t a spring chicken anymore and his time is extremely precious. However, is anyone’s time really worth that much?
On the other hand, those who see no problem with artists charging fans whatever they want for packages of this type argue that their money is theirs to spend how they wish and this is also true. It’s also fair to say that if you can’t afford to pay such an amount or simply refuse to do so, then don’t – there will always be someone willing to take your place and meet the Prince of Darkness no matter what the cost. Enter Shikari frontman Rou Reynolds, who took to Twitter to accuse American rockers 30 Seconds To Mars of exploiting their own fans back in 2013 after the band was reportedly charging fans £575 for an extremely brief meet and greet. Reynolds went on to explain that his band has done competitions in the past and given that kind of privilege away for free on numerous occasions but at the same time, it’s hard to compare artists with such differing levels of fame.
Source: Thirty Seconds to Mars via Facebook
While there are still fans out there who will continue to fork out just over two thousand dollars for 10 minutes of someone’s time, artists will continue to charge vast amounts of money for the privilege. Of course, this is no slight on the fans who choose to do so and we hope you thoroughly enjoy the experience if you ever get the chance to speak face to face with your musical idol. In any case, the question of how much is too much when it comes to charging for meet and greets? can simply be answered with “As much as fans are willing to pay” – and to some, this a worrying development.