This is a long reply but...
I don't want to come across as some tight-arsed whinger here. I AM willing to pay extra for things when they are worth it, I just think that in this case it's unjustified - certainly by the amount extra that's being asked.
I can't imagine anyone sitting down in one place to sign 2,000 items at once...I could be wrong, but I know I'd have some major writer's cramp.
As I said, it probably wouldn't all be in one sitting, but it IS possible to sign a lot in one go. Anyone who has ever seen the queues which form when a celebrity has a book/album signing session will know that. Said celebrity will also leave a big pile of signed books or whatever to sell after they have left. It's all good and easy publicity for the artist, and usually ensures that they will sell more of their product. Maybe the shops themselves pay for the privilage of the artist turning up, but unless it's a megastar I doubt we're talking amounts in the thousands. And besides which, did you never have the experience of sitting two 3-hour exams per day, for several days in succession? I did this in school year after year, and came out unscathed. This involves writing furiously for hours on end, producing thousands of words (and often getting crappy marks, but that's another story...). Signing 2000 CD covers should be a doddle in comparison.
Which brings me to the point of charging for autographs. This must be a peculiarly American thing, as I've never heard of it happening here. Any time I've been to, or seen, book signings, film premieres, conventions, etc., the artists have always been happy to chat, sign things, pose for photos, all for free. To directly charge a fan in this way is, to me, biting the hand that feeds you. That this practice is widely accepted saddens me - to receive an autograph from one of your idols, when you've gone to see them at a place they're getting paid to be, should be priceless, but cost nothing. The same as a smile - or will they be charging for those next?
I think not a month ago I said something to the effect of "...I would be happy to pay extra for Thomas Dolby CDs if I knew that the money was going to him and not some record company."
I agree entirely that it always better for money to go direct to the artist. I would rather buy direct from Thomas Dolby's website than via a third party. My point, in this instance, is that these CDs and DVDs will most likely cost exactly the same to produce. Perhaps to have a run of 1000 of each with numbers printed on them will cost a few cents more per item, but the discs themselves are identical. Any more than a few cents for that and Thomas
is being ripped off! It appears to be his decision to provide these signed and numbered copies, judging by the text in his newsletter, so he shouldn't actually need
to demand much to actually cover the costs of producing them.
It's nice to have something unique, something that has passed through the hands of an artist you admire, but again, I think these are things which should be priceless, not priced. If someone wants to get something signed then sell it on at a profit, then fine, it's up to the individual buyer to decide whether it's worth it. I've paid above the odds for rare items myself. But I stand by my viewpoint that for the artist themselves to do this from the outset is simple profiteering - making the true fans pay more for something simply because you know they will. I'm a great believer in giving something back to your fans. This is just taking from them for the privilage.
paying money to subscribe doesn't make you a fan
I agree with this too, but conversely fans shouldn't be forced to pay extra. How many times have you religiously bought an album by an artist you love on the day of release, only for there to be a 'special edition' released a few weeks later. How many times is a single released in several versions, all with different 'extras' or remixes on them? Will you buy them? Of course you will, because you're a fan - but why didn't they release this 'special edition' first, to the fans who they KNOW will want it? Why didn't they just release one version of the single? Again, it's all a cynical attempt at squeezing more out of the fans. Most of the time such practices are down to the record companies, but most artists seem happy to go along with it.
I'm sorry if this has turned into a rant, but it's something I do feel strongly about. I'm well aware of the amount of time, money, and effort an artist has to pour into any creative endeavour. I know how soul-destroying it is to have all that work be turned down, compromised, destroyed, hijacked, time and time again. And when you do
finally get it all together, and actually achieve something, I know it can be irritating to say the least when someone doesn't seem to appreciate any of that, any just complains about the small details. Being any kind of creative artist can seem almost masochistic at times, and you have to be able to take a lot of knocks. But it's still a two-way thing between the artist and his audience, and it has to be fair. In this instance I feel it's not being fair to the fans, which is why I feel it's worth stressing the point as much as I have.
Anyway, I've not posted on here before, despite being signed up for months. I have to make my few posts count, don't I? ;)