We’re at a crossroads.
A hefty sense of fan entitlement (exhibited quintessentially during this past weekend’s so-called Daisygate) in our music community has skewed the traditional relationship between artists and their fans. But how did the paradigm shift so far from the norm? Editor-in-Chief Erik van Rheenen explores the problems of fans feeling entitled and how to fix a breaking the continuously dangerous cycle.
It’s more blessed to give than to receive — that’s an angelic old proverb someone heaven-sent like Jesse Lacey doesn’t dare forget. Maybe Brand New found themselves swept up in the spirit of the holiday season or felt like giving some shine to songs collecting dust in the back of their discography or Lacey just wanted an outlet to strut his best Tony Lewis impression out on stage, but there was enough blessedness to go around when the band announced four intimate discography shows. Two coasts. Two concerts out west in California, two concerts more homeward bound in Brand New’s native New York and New Jersey. Two albums and a fistful of B-sides per night. To fans, from Brand New, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.
But there wasn’t a heck of a lot of blessedness on the receiving end of all that giving — at least not Friday night in Long Island, when the opening strains of “Vices” didn’t make a vocal minority of fans glad to be where they were with whoever they were there with. Having demanded Deja once Brand New closed out The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me in proper — an unlikely-if-not-impossible possibility, since the band already paired Devil and Daisy once during the flurry of discography shows — some fans whipped into a storm of boos and exited, off-stage right, and from the safety of the space behind their laptop screens and smartphones, lashed out against the band on social media. Personifying the consensus as an embattled fan who made moves for the doors when the band didn’t surrender their integrity to the pressure and play “Tautou,” that fan scathed the band with a “Fuck you for not playing what we wanted to hear. We made you. You owe us.”
When did the paradigm shift? Since when have fans stolen the creative license from bands? Who decided that it was okay for individuals in an audience who snapped up tickets to a discography show, knowing full well the records they’d hear would be selected by the band, to say, “Hey, it’s cool that you want to play Daisy, but since I’m here and I don’t really like that one, think you might play Deja instead? Thanks.”
The problem here, as Jason Tate so eloquently mentioned on Chorus.fm, is that “It feels like somewhere along the moment where everyone started downloading music for free that we lost track of our own role and place in the entire food-chain.” Where artists once kept creative control close to the vest, somewhere down the line, we the fans collectively determined that what we want to listen to supersedes what our favorite artists want us to listen to, and that was okay. Some fans harbored quiet disappointment, silently bumming out when Fall Out Boy didn’t play a favorite cut off Take This To Your Grave during their comeback tour. Others flaunt their entitlement proudly — ever hear a fan scream at Dustin Kensrue to play “Deadbolt” at a Thrice show? Yeah.