Years before the pandemic, touring artists came to the realization that fans (especially super fans) were willing to shell out more money not only for a better seat but for VIP packages that offered added value items as well, ranging from exclusive merchandise to meet and greets.
With artists returning to the road, VIP packages are back with some being worth the extra costs. Others, not so much. Here's why it's important to get VIP tickets right.
Your Band is Your Brand
Like it or not, when you are a professional musician, you are your own brand. Same thing if you're a member of a group or band. Everything about your live experience is a reflection of what you think of yourself and your fans.
Do you perform on time? What effort have you put into your stage show? Do you perform like you want to be there? Any sign of disinterest in any of these facets of your show is a slap in the face to your fans. The same thing goes for a VIP ticket offering that is neither 'V' nor 'I'.
To charge several hundred dollars more per ticket for some pieces of 'exclusive' merchandise (I'm looking at you, souvenir tour laminate that gets you absolutely nowhere in the venue) that only cost a few dollars to produce is price gouging at its worst and is disrespectful to the people who have spent their time and money to come see you live.
How to Make a VIP Ticket really VIP
What consumers really want is access and the better the package (and the bigger the artist), the more they are willing to pay for it.
On his recent Got Back tour, Sir Paul McCartney offered five different levels of VIP packages with prices ranging from $500-$2,750US. The top tier offering (the Front Row Hot Sound Package) included a front row seat, pre-show vegan meal and access to Macca's soundcheck.
While some may think that for paying $2,750 they should be sitting on the piano bench next to Sir Paul while he plays "Hey Jude," those with the means were more than happy to shell out this amount to see the 80-year-old legend perform. And yes, all levels of VIP packages offered a collectible laminate 🤦.
Give the Fans What They Want - Access to the Lead Singer
Def Leppard, currently in the midst of a stadium tour with Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett, offer three levels of VIP packages that include the band (one level includes a meet and greet laminate but no access to the meet and greet) and a separate one if you want to spend some quality time with lead singer Joe Elliott.
The Joe Elliott package includes a behind-the-scenes with Elliott which includes a backstage Q&A with Joe, a personal photo with the singer, and an autograph signing in addition to sitting within the first four rows.
There is one catch - in order to purchase any of these packages, fans have to first join Def Leppard's Rock Brigade Concert Club for $45US (plus shipping and handling for the Rock Brigade merchandise you get for joining). Once you have your account and login established, only then do you have access to purchase VIP.
As long as artists are giving fans added value that actually has some value, consumers who can financially, will be more than happy to pay extra for excellent seating, exclusive access and a laminate that gets you nowhere.