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My first (though slightly hostile) post--others will be fine. :-)

TiffinyKaye's picture
on November 9, 2003 - 2:13pm

Hello fellow FoJG!

Firstly, let me say that I while I’m happy to be here and hope to share my love of Josh Groban’s music with fellow fans, my sentiments are tainted. I feel the need to express these feelings in hopes that someone ‘high up’ will read this journal entry and take it to heart. After this, there will hopefully be less complaining about the capitalist exploitation of Groban and his fans, as well as more happier talk. :-)
I believe that this fan club, while a nice gesture in trying to organize the fans of Josh Groban in to a more clearly defined unit, is a capitalist scam. In fact, the way Groban is being marketed right now seems a direct attempt at ‘milking him’ for all he’s worth, while also exploiting the fans themselves who are willing to support Groban as an artist. I buy Groban music because I think Josh has one of the most beautiful tenor voices in existence on the planet today, but I’m not the type of person who believes they need to spend extortionate amounts of money on an artist, aside from buying music. These ‘extortionate’ amounts would be spent on frivolous things such as fan clubs (or at least fan clubs that cost more than $10.00 to join) or an overpriced Josh Groban notebook (which, to my knowledge and hopefully by God’s grace, will never exist).
So, let’s examine the ‘blackmail’ type of marketing methods that have been employed by the people who are working for Groban, and unfortunately, techniques that I think he would have had to ‘okay’ for them to take effect.

POINT ONE: Three different versions of the CD?
Okay, to an extent, I would understand two versions of the CD–a normal, in-store copy that includes all the tracks, minus the DVD. This version would obviously be cheaper at $11.99 and more economically feasible for those of us who just want his music and could care less about seeing Josh in a DVD (I am not one of these people...I opted for the internet special edition).
However, here’s the crappy thing–people who can’t afford $30 for the other two types available get ‘cheated’ essentially, out of a good deal of the other tracks that have been recorded. Only 13 tracks exist on the regular edition, which doesn’t even include what I think will be one of the best tracks on the album (and a big decision maker when I was deciding between the internet version and the regular one)–a cover of Linkin Park’s ‘My December.’ Now it’s fine and appropriate that a CD/DVD combination should be more than a plain CD...but geez! I’m worried about the fans who are losing out on these additional tracks of gorgeous music simply because they’re not as economically advantaged as some of us, or shelling out student loans to offset of the cost of a Josh Groban CD instead of buying food. If you ask me, all 18 tracks available on the internet version should be available on the regular one, unless the additional ‘tracks’ are available only by performance on the DVD (something you really couldn’t change).
Okay, and here’s something else that seems really stupid to me...why have a “special edition” and an “internet special edition,” with the differentiation being about two songs, hard cover, and a couple of dollars? What’s the point? Why not just do one, or the other? Who’s going to spend $27.00 on the special edition, when they can get the internet edition for $30.00? They’re already shelling out the money–two additional dollars won’t hurt them, and they get “My December” (which I am most highly anticipating...). I just don’t see the logic...and, honestly, I think that the efforts to offset music piracy by offering the regular edition at the low price of $11.99, but offering so much more on the internet special edition will only inspire more illegal copying of music. They should have done two with, and one without the DVD–end of story.

Regular Edition CD: $11.99, which I didn’t buy
TOTAL COST (Internet Special Edition–neglecting regular Special Edition because it makes no sense): $30.00 + S&H (if you were stupid like me and hadn’t joined the fan club yet).

POINT 2: The Fan Club
I mentioned earlier that I think the creation of this fan club was a frivolous exercise. Don’t take this the wrong way, please. Fan clubs are a good idea, as they allow for networking between fans, and offer the opportunity to obtain a nifty T-shirt. However...honestly, I believe I’m supporting Groban enough by buying his music and telling everyone I know to do likewise. I don’t need the freaking T-shirt, and I shouldn’t have to join a fan club to prove that I like Groban. And, certainly, I shouldn’t need to spend $40.00 on a fan club, when $10.00 or $20.00 would have probably been a more fair amount if I decided to join the ‘fan club’ anyway.
So you may be asking yourselves...why is she complaining? It’s not like she had a gun to her head with Groban himself forcing her to join or denounce all allegiance to his music. Here’s the thing...I joined this club for one reason–the pre-sale. I believe the pre-pre-sale available to FoJG members only to be a brilliant marketing scheme we call ‘blackmail.’ A pre-sale is offered to ordinary fans who go through the website...but an earlier pre-sale is available exclusively to FoJG members.
So what options do we have? Buy tickets before they go on sale to regular people along with the other five million Grobanites who use the website, or buy tickets before they go on sale to the regular Grobanites with the one million Grobanites who were stupid enough to spend $40.00 on a fan club? All logic would tell me to simply go through the regular website as one of the sane, five million Grobanites in the world...but no, I’m not willing to risk the fact that I may have been able to get better seats (like first row) by doing the pre-pre-sale, versus the pre-sale. Therefore, we arrive at the fact that I’m an idiot, and spent $40.00 on the club, coupled with however much the best-quality seats to his concert will be–of which, I will be buying only one ticket because I don’t have the financial resources to buy two.

Fan Club: $40.00
Projected Cost of 1 Concert Ticket (based on prices for comparable artist tickets, like Sarah Brightman): $75.00 a good seat.
So...let’s tally the amount spent on Josh Groban to this point...$30.00 + $40.00 + $75.00 equaling a grand total of $145.00! Does this not seem insane to anybody else but me (and yes, I realize my insanity and have been continually kicking myself for it)? Why did I pay it? Because I love Josh Groban’s music and will not let him pass my city by without seeing him in concert, nor will I forgo owning a copy of a cover I predicted would have been perfect for his voice a year ago (“My December”). Still, this is crazy, and I’m really disappointed in the marketing team who put this plan together, and in Josh Groban if he had anything to do with ‘signing off’ on the prices for these goods (and he more than likely had at least some say). Yes...this is a brilliant marketing scheme coming from a shrewd business perspective. The people in charge knew that Grobanites would pay a sufficient amount of money for Groban paraphernalia, and they wasted no time in exploiting fans–a good portion of which are young people, some of whom should be spending their money on more important things (like college...I’m an example of this).
Do I have much room here to complain? Not really, as I succumbed to the capitalist marketing scam too. However, considering that I have invested a good deal financially into Groban, and especially on the expenditure of joining a ‘fan club,’ my $40.00 buys me the ability to at least weigh in on the monetary exploitation of Groban fans, and, also, Groban himself (he’s quickly becoming a commodity–a product of the AOL Time Warner empire who’s talent has poised perfectly him into position as a commercialized, money-making puppet).
From here on out, I will keep my disappointment on this issue to a minimum–unless, of course, something equally stupid arises (and hopefully it won’t). From here on out, I’ll discuss on this site mainly things Groban-related, etc., etc., and be the happy little Grobanite we’re all supposed to be on this site. However, I could not allow myself to ‘sell out’ to the scam without first voicing my opinions. I apologize if I’ve offended anyone, and I hope it won’t affect my relationships that I may have with any of you. If one thing here is still untainted, it’s that the business structure that goes into Josh Groban can never corrupt his amazing voice, or our support for it. In the mean least I’ll enjoy the T-shirt. :-)


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