Fan Management

zpic3“Trifling!” is what I exclaimed while watching TV over breakfast this morning as the Today show featured a Texan winner of the Michael Jackson memorial ticket.  The joker, who has no intentions of going to LA to retrieve the tickets (because he can’t afford to travel there) admitted that he auctioned his two tickets on E-Bay for nearly $15,000.  Then, to drum up sympathy, he claims he lost his job and has a daughter needing heart surgery, so any money that is profited from this sale would be an immense help.

So, here’s my issue because I still think this man is TRIFLING.  That these tickets are free was a gesture on the part of organizers to involve Michael Jackson’s worldwide fans in a public farewell event.  Neither the family nor management had to do this at all, but this was a way to involve the fans, who were a huge part of the man’s success.  Casual fans and lame trifling non-fans should never have been given the same chance as Michael Jackson’s super fans in registering for these memorial tickets.  Such flawed management, with regards to including his fans in the event, has made me appreciate more David’s own cultivation of his relationship with the Arch Angels – from constantly accommodating fans at Meet-and-Greets to maintaining a regular online relationship with us via blogs, vlogs, twitter, text messaging, and voice mail.  It is this digital cultivation on the part of David, and even having his father maintain communique with certain leaders of David’s main fan blogs (as meddling as I’ve often viewed Jeff in his relationship with certain fan sites), that makes me reevaluate the importance of Fan Management.  And if David himself is not completely in charge of this, we should be comforted in knowing that someone on his team has paid attention to us as a fan community.

Had I been in charge of managing Michael Jackson’s international fan community, I would never have set up a lottery.  On the CBS Morning Show, the president of one of Michael Jackson’s fan clubs was not lucky enough to win a ticket, yet she has already congregated in LA.  Why are the fan club presidents not invited?  Whether or not Michael Jackson knew who these individuals were, someone in his management should have this knowledge.  I would have extended an invitation to key fan club presidents and organizers, key Michael Jackson impersonators – heck, I might even have them be apart of the service – and certain representatives of his favorite charities (for all I know, perhaps they have already been included). Not all of his billion fans would have been invited, but many of these fans would have found it satisfactory that his “super fans” got in.  

The relationship between an artist and his fans is a crucial one and not to be taken for granted.  Had these fans been respected enough by Michael Jackson’s management, we would not have such random invitations with $1.6 million registering for only 11,000 tickets.  Of those 11,000 available tickets, don’t tell me that his international fanbase could not have come up with a better way of being included.  As I said, it has definitely made me appreciate David more in starting so early in cultivating a close and communicative relationship with his fans.

Posted on July 6, 2009, in fans. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Hi HG,

    In the first days following the death of Michael Jackson I too was worried about the close parallels of the two artists. Do you remember about a week before he died I made a comment about David’s similarities to MJ regarding the situation about his father?

    Anyway, the more I think about it, the more I believe that David will prevail better because of this moment in time. Because of so much digital technology and the make-up of concerts nowadays, David has a much better and controlled ability to deal with his fans – at least right now. In a sense it remains to be seen if he will ever really crave the superstardom we want for him to achieve. I have read fan experience reports from other sites in which the day of the haircut, David asked his fans to do small group photos so that he could grab a quick shower and iron his clothes for the show. How’s that for keeping it real?

    Michael Jackson on the other hand, was already in seclusion as a young child star and so perhaps did not receive any sustainable benefit of fandom except over the top. Was he too big to avail himself of twitter, vlogs and blogs? I really believe he would have benefitted from his fan sites disseminating day to day information about him and even keeping fans updated about his children. This may have presented him as more human than freak-like. Unfortunately, the tabloids ruled his life to a large extent and it only made him retreat even more into seclusion.

  2. hell0g0rge0us

    That’s an interesting perspective, Joymus. I doubt Michael kept up with digital technology, but had he kept a twitter account and kept up with a regular blog and vlog posts, his fans would definitely get a different view of himself independent of the tabloids. Definitely “more human” than freak, that’s for sure.

  3. Hi HG,

    I agree with alot of what you’ve said here, but on one point I have to disagree. I think David’s family and inner circle should reevaluate their interaction/participation in the fan community. Some of the things Jeff has said to fans has been inappropriate, or things I’m not sure David would have wanted shared. Whoever “TG” was betrayed his trust again and again. And some of these “inner circle” people who are seeking to profit from their connection to David (such as the vocal coach with his e-book) are acting in their interests, not David’s. I don’t think there’s anything wrong per se about David’s friends and famly occasionally interacting with fans, but it should be done in a more formal way, such as in a webcast or video blog on his official site. David himself, however, seems really adept with knowing how to best use technology to interact with fans while also maintaining his privacy.

    • hell0g0rge0us

      Good points, LittleM. Which is why I think professional fan management is key. Sometimes I get the impression Jeff, “TG,” and others in his inner circle are just overwhelmed by the response to David.

  4. Hi HG,

    Just wondering how you’re doing today? I’m watching along with the rest of the world.

    Take care for now.

    • hell0g0rge0us

      Hey Joymus! It’s threatening to thunderstorm here, so I’m hoping I don’t lose electricity! Anyway, I was just watching the motorcade with the Jackson family heading to the Forest Lawn Cemetery. I’m starting to get that melancholy feeling I always get when I’m heading to the funeral.

      After all the media hoopla and circus, it’s starting to finally sink in. Sigh.

  5. Re. interaction w/fans and the media, I wonder if family and/or friends can actually be controlled. I recall Michael Jackson’s siblings (LaToya and Jermaine) leaking damaging information about him to the media.

    I believe it’s wise on David’s part not to communicate with his family via Twitter and other social networks because his fans could end up associating their comments and opinions with his. On several occasions, one of David’s siblings has made strong comments re. the artistry of individuals who have performed w/David. Can you imagine the outrage in David’s fanbase if, for example, Demi or Miley’s siblings tweeted unflattering comments about his singing and/or performances? Then again, the younger generation is so used to transparency in communication (eg, facebook, myspace, twitter) that this type of behavior may be shrugged off by them.

    Last — I’m taking a vacation day today to watch the memorial too.

  6. Hi to you also Desertrat – what a day.

    Ai-ya-yai – watching that MJ hearse driving slowly to the Staples Center is getting to me emotionally. Sigh…

  7. LittleM, interesting comments. TG is rumored to be Claudia. I can say with confidence, though, that Dean is one of the “good guys.” There’s others out there who are publicly trying to ride David’s coat tails that we should be worried about.

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