In today’s Irish Mail on Sunday, the following piece appeared:
‘” ‘SINGERS’ Jedward are offering fans a selfie at a rather hefty price tag. Yes, the dynamic duo are charging a staggering €75 for a photo…and a ticket for one of three ‘intimate VIP concert packages’ this month. Granted, they also get a ‘crowd-free merchandise shopping opportunity’ and a signed concert laminate. It gives bargain a new meaning.”
I read this, and had a bit of a think. You see, I’m going to one of these. I’m flying over from London to go see John and Edward in Wexford. I’m paying €75 for this, and I’m paying a further €25 for a variety concert they’re appearing in that night. I’m paying for return travel, accommodation…everything that’s involved.
I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again. Because it’s worth it. Because they’re worth it.
Because – with John and Edward, intimate actually means intimate. They know their fans – if not by real name (although most in attendance will be on a reciprocal first name basis with the twins), then at least by twitter handle. They know details about each person they meet, they make each person feel like they’re the only person who matters to them, right then, at that very point in time. They make it very good value for money, and that is why they have fans who fly in to Ireland, from much further afield than the UK, just to see them.
Compare and contrast the experience Justin Bieber’s fans in Brazil had last year. After paying the equivalent of £800 to meet their idol, fans weren’t allowed to speak to the Canadian singer. They were pushed in roughly and shoved out as quickly by security. Granted, Bieber was not responsible for this, and fans will attest to the fact that he argues with his security about how they treat his fans, but the point is this – regardless of the relative difference in status between John and Edward, and Justin Bieber, value is value. What those fans got for £800 would still be poor value for €75. And vice versa – what John and Edward give would be considered excellent value for money, regardless of the price. Having said that, £800 is a lot to pay to see anyone.
There’s more – in 2012, fans could meet One Direction on their US tour, and pay the equivalent of £225. For that money, they were able to attend the band’s soundcheck, take home a gift and a commemorative laminated pass, meet the band and have their photograph taken with them.
Also in 2012, for £110, Jessie J fans could buy a Very Important Heartbeats package that included tickets near the stage and a chance to meet Jessie before the show and receive a signed print and a souvenir pass.
That €75 – which don’t forget, includes a concert – is looking very good value!
I can’t help but wonder what the motivation is behind the Mail item. John and Edward aren’t “SINGERS” – they ARE singers – but so much more than that. They have a proven track record as successful performing artists. They have represented their country twice at the Eurovision Song Contest, doing very well both times, in fact, doing better than any Irish competitors the decade before them, and the two years since. They are platinum-selling artists in their own country, and have had number one singles across Europe. They write and produce their own music, with their fourth album, due next year, all their own work. They make their own music videos. They run their own social media accounts. They have a close relationship with their fans (as I mentioned earlier). They give over and above what is expected of them, because they know what it’s like to be fans. They are VERY good value for money. Nobody is forcing people to buy Jedward’s Intimate VIP Packages. And yet a lot of us are. Because we know John and Edward are worth it.
John and Edward’s VIP Afternoon Intimate Concert Experience Packages are available from Ticketmaster. They’ll be performing at Lough Rynn Castle, Mohill, County Leitrim on 15 December, Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy, County Wexford, on 16 December, and at Tullamore Court Hotel, County Offaly, on December 17. For details of the night time variety concerts, contact the hotels for details on: (00353) 719632700 (Lough Rynn Castle), (00353)539237800 (Riverside Park Hotel) and the Tullamore Court Hotel on (00353) 579346666.