Should Bands Offer VIP Tickets?


Photo by: Kristen Angiletta

Kristen Angiletta, Reporter

Rock band Fall Out Boy recently announced the Boys of Zummer Tour with co-headliner Wiz Khalifa.  The group offered an array of tickets for their fan club this week during the presale period, including regular seated tickets, general admission tickets, and VIP tickets.  The VIP option included a meet and greet with the band, a premium ticket in either the first ten rows of seats or the general admission standing pit, a photo with the full band, a limited and autographed poster, a commemorative Fall Out Boy passport and lanyard, and access to the On-Site VIP Host.  However, the package came with a catch- it cost $209 per ticket.  The fee was a $74 increase from the group’s VIP ticket for their 2014 summer co-headliner with Paramore.  Both packages offered the same benefits, yet the price went up, leading to much unhappiness amongst the fans.

On the issue, Claire Foxworth, a junior, said, “Overall I’ve always thought VIP tickets are very materialistic, no matter what genre. Artists take advantage of their listeners who already spend a lot of time and money investing themselves into their work, and VIP tickets simply allow musicians to take even more income from fans and simply cover it up as a ‘reward’ to them. Not to mention many people can’t afford this, so the entire act of VIP tickets is extremely discriminatory against younger and less affluent fans.”

Foxworth is not alone in her opinion.  In a survey conducted on the rightfulness of VIP tickets, 25% of participants chose the option “I do not agree with the idea of paying for VIP”.  People, especially teens, cannot afford expensive VIP tickets.

Some artists agree with this sentiment: Gerard Way, for example, went on a headlining U.S. tour in October 2014.  Despite selling out every show, Way did not offer VIP tickets.  Instead, he made it a goal to go out after each show for nearly two hours, greeting and conversing with fans at no additional charge.

Rock band, Enter Shikari are also strongly anti-VIP. In an article for Alternative Press, frontman Rou Reynolds spoke out against the notion of fans paying artists for meet and greets.  It is his belief that, “If fans have bought tickets with their hard-earned cash, give them a little extra—if you care about them, that is. Don’t treat them like some inanimate object, like a commodity.”

However, in the same survey, 46% of participants were willing to pay $20 to $100 extra for the VIP experience.

This idea is reiterated by junior Jenna DeMicco whom said, “Obviously $400 would be ridiculous, but depending on the band, paying for VIP can be worth it.”  Fellow junior Claire Ross added, “There should be limits on how expensive they are…and if they’re worried about too many people buying them, just put a limit on the number available and do it on a first come first serve basis.”

The concept of the VIP package is a thoroughly debated one with some calling it essential- after all, bands have to make a profit in order to survive and continue making music- and others defaming it and labeling it as greedy and unnecessary.

Ross sums up the controversy from a fan’s perspective well, “I love the idea of meet and greets and VIP deals, but I think some changes need to be made so they’re more accessible to everyone.”