The Last Thing A Musician Wants These Days Is To Appear Anti-Fan
from the guns,-but-no-roses dept
Last week, when we wrote about the FBI’s decision to arrest a Guns N’ Roses fan who leaked the band’s long awaited next album, one of the common responses in the comments was that because GNR had the legal right to do this, it absolutely made sense for the band to have the FBI track down and arrest this guy. While we’ve pointed it out before, it’s worth pointing out again that just because you have the legal right to do something, it doesn’t always mean that it makes sense to actually do it.
In the case of GNR, this point is expressed quite clearly by music industry observer Bob Lefsetz, who discusses how badly this whole ordeal is reflecting on GNR:
Fans. They’re the hardest thing to acquire. You can buy publicity, you can pay off distributors. There’s mutual self-interest. You want to sell and they want to profit. Newspapers don’t do stories on acts no one cares about, and television is only interested in stars. But fans are not doing business. There’s no financial payoff for being a fan. It’s an end-user application. You don’t build up your fandom and sell it. You own it. At least until it fades away when the act does something heinous, like stand up to Napster.
That’s haunting Metallica nearly a decade out. Metallica was right, but their fans thought they were wrong. And you always want to come out on the side of your fans. Metallica has learned its lesson. But the record labels have not.
And neither, apparently, has GNR. We’ve discussed in the past how difficult it has been for Metallica to regain the fans it lost as a result of standing up to Napster, and it will be interesting if something similar happens to GNR in this case. Having your biggests fans arrested tends to make people question why they are fans in the first place. It’s basically the opposite of the concept of engaging your true fans. These types of actions push them away, and that’s never good for business.