Working in the music business and seeing the kinds of women male artists are attracted to, I have often felt a bit awkward as the chick that all the boys want to talk to about business and what-not, but never one they look to for a good time. I've mentioned before: I'm not svelte, I'm a little bit older than the average musician and I'm more...well....life-established than most of the men I encounter on a daily basis.
There are days when I can feel like a bit of a wallflower, awkward and alone in the back of the club while the other girls are up front making googly eyes at the lead singer.
And then I see this:
And it's all kinds of right.
As a fan from "back-in-the-day", I follow a couple of the NKOTBs on Twitter though I've not made the effort to see any of their shows since 1990. I've noted for a long time how appreciative and embracing they are of their fans - women who have followed them around for 20+ years. These women come from all walks of life, and in all shapes and sizes. And the band LOVES THEM! They put their fans up on a pedestal and invite them with open arms into their lives. They honor them at every show, in every town and with every tweet. I can't tell you how utterly refreshing that is....too often it is the other way around, with the artists allowing themselves to be idolized and deified. It's really quite shameful when you think of how the music industry model has changed, and direct interaction with fans is downright imperative to drive sales. Given that most money is made off of touring and merch sales, the last thing an artist should do is keep too much distance between them and their fans. It's easy to download a tune online, but it takes effort and desire to purchase a ticket to a show, let alone follow a band from town-to-town.
In spite of a long period of downtime, NKOTB has got it figured out. I point to them as an example for the younger artists I work with as I say honor (ALL) your fans. The dividends you receive for years to come are well worth the time. And by dividends, I don't just mean money....there is something to be said for long-term loyalty. Just ask the Blockhead next door!