Wednesday, November 9, 2011

21st Century Fandom

Just a quick post this evening. When I was a kid, getting a letter from a celebrity or getting the opportunity to speak to a celebrity was a really big deal. These were people who were seemingly inaccessible to the average person. One encounter that sticks out in my mind was when I got the opportunity to speak to Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen on Westwood One's syndicated show Rocklines. I also got a copy of their latest CD as well as a special compilation disc created exclusively for callers. This was 1989, and I was over the moon. i even remember the question I asked, which was about the closing track of the album, "The Miracle". The track was titles "Was It All Worth It", and it turned out to be eerily prophetic of the band's demise.

Fast forward 22 years, and my musical tastes have expanded into indie music territory. My first post on this blog was notionally about how independent artists deserve our support far more than the arena behemoths who are seeking to drain every last penny of royalty money out of our pockets. One of those bands is Hellogoodbye, who are a fantastic live band and deserve every fan they have. On 17 September of this year. Hellogoodbye ran a promo with respect to their latest album: if their Facebook page got a certain number of likes by the 17th, they would open an offer to buy the album on CD for $1. The fan response was phenomenal, and we decided to participate. As a result, (the band's online store) got severely backlogged with orders, and CDs have only begun shipping recently. In the interim, the online store sent us a code that unlocked high bitrate downloads of the songs on the album while we were waiting for the physical copies to arrive. Given the shipping and handling costs, we decided to buy 2 CDs and a tote bag to make it more worthwhile. As it turns out, they ran out of the tote bag, but their customer service people (who I can only assume are close friends and family of the band) let us know almost immediately about the shortage and gave us other options. What really floored me was a personal email from Forrest Kline, the band's lead vocalist and guitarist, which I received this morning, further advising me on the tote bag situation, and letting me knw that he's already gone ahead and shipped the CDs, rather than waiting for new tote bags to arrive. This level of dedication to the fans is something peculiar to indie artists, and is yet another reason why they get my support. Every time I buy from an indie band, I know exactly where the money's going. In what other situation can you say that?