As far as autograph collecting and music fan experiences goes, I find the range of stories I hear about various meet & greets to be pretty fascinating. I've heard of people paying modest fees (or nothing) for wonderful, fun experiences - and other stories of fans shelling out large amounts of money for a massive disappointment. And, of course, everything in between.

I thought we should have a comprehensive thread on the topic.  Have you been to a pre-show or post-show meet and greet or know someone who has? Was it a bargain or a ripoff? What was the mood - structured and hurried or casual and fun?

My favorite band does meet and greets at every headline show they perform on this tour, chosen at fandom by fans who sign up for their fanclub and enter the show-specific drawing. There is no charge, and (usually) I don't believe a show ticket is even required. They were asked about this in an interview early this tour, and the response from one of the band members, Martin, was pretty passionate about musicians who charge high prices for meet & greets. FYI: I get that this band isn't quite a household name yet, so there might be a sentiment of "Who are they to say . . ."  However they have an interesting perspective as both successful musicians with Top 10 records and huge music fans themselves).

Here's that portion of the interview:

https://youtu.be/l1da-ZW_3OA?t=6m48s

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This fan experience was regrammed on Instagram and re-Tweeted on Twitter pretty extensively. It involved what he characterizes as a unpleasant meet and greet experience with Demi Lovato.

http://www.nme.com/news/nme/89881

Hi, 

I shelled out about $671 to meet Michael J. Fox in London for a photo, autograph, talk etc. The thing is, when you pay that, you hardly get any time with him, just a few seconds for a photo and a signature. 

The whole experience was over in seconds and I said 'hello' and 'thank you' and there's no time for a conversation etc. I remember when I got his autograph when I said thank you, he gave me eye contact but that was about it. I can't remember if he said 'hello' when I said 'hello' at the photo shoot, more like a nod of the head. However, with so many photos and autographs to do, I wasn't really expecting any more and due to his condition, the man is a pro and a great humanitarian anyhow. 

With other guests, if you count a photo shoot as a meet and greet, well, Neve Campbell and Lea Thompson were bags of fun, very polite and energetic. It was a pleasure to meet them, legendary in their own right. 

Christopher Lloyd seemed to me to be perhaps a bit more reserved - there were absolutely no issues at all. I think I probably said 'hello' but I can't remember if he said it back or not but I got a great photo nonetheless. 

Robert Englund, though nice, seemed to be straight to the point when I got an autograph - he asked me my name and how to spell it, something which I will always remember and he had a smile on his face as he gave me the autograph I asked for. A nice guy. 

With Sigourney Weaver, one tall lady, I managed to get a photo with her late on Saturday. I assumed a large queue would be there at her photo shoot but to my surprise, it was a small queue and when I met her, I had my photo taken and said thank you, but as I looked at her as I said it, she was already looking at the next guest, but I don't think she was being intentionally offhand, just concentrating on all the guests she was having photos with. I heard only good things about her at LFCC and she seemed very genuine - indeed, all the stories I've heard about Sigourney have only been genuine and it was a pleasure to meet her. 

I think its a mixed bag, some celebrities may be genuinely interested in their fans and others just do it for the money it brings in, which is a shame, but that's life, I'm afraid.

I think it is the nature of the beast. It is mostly a business. I realize the musicians or celebrities are there for financial reasons. Sometimes it is going to feel impersonal, still if this is someone you admire and have the money then it can be well worth it.

I suppose we can all buy an autograph for x ammount of money from an inperson dealer. However that autograph doesn't have the same meaning as one you got yourself. However if you have a bad experience then that can ruin your perception of the artist. To myself it has always been about reasonable expectations.

I don't really collect autographs in terms of resell value and learned awhile back to appreciate the experiences in life more then just physical things like an autograph alone. Don't get me wrong, there are cases that I know or believe I will get to meet one of my idols so the only way is buying an autograph. However if I know I have a chance past just waiting outside a venue hoping I will run into them then I would be willing to just pay the fee if it was worth it to me and I had the money.

I live in the hills of Tennessee so access to celebrities are minimal. Between work, the kids, and taking care of everyday chores my time is limited to travel. What I see is that the cost of attending signings or buying from dealers is pricing the average person out of the market. I think that's why people buy so many cheap forgeries. When prices of today's stars surpass some of the past legends in their genre, that's a problem. Fewer new collectors joining the hobby hurts everyone. I think highly of, say, Harrison Ford, but is he really worth nearly the same as Walt Disney?

I agree, what is popular in the moment holds the most value. I don't think Harrison should be close to Walt, however if someone is willing to pay x ammount to know they aren't being stuck with a forgery then I understand it, especially if they don't have access to the celebrity.

I respect the good in person dealers who do go out and sell legitimate autographs. I still would rather pay more if I can get a picture with and an autograph. Obviously if you can get it all done for free then that is the most cost effective. It all boils down to fandom/means to pay/is it worth it.

Edit: What is most popular hold the most value--in the moment. Someone like Walt in the long run will be worth more then Ford. However Star Wars is more popular right now.

My issue is not the in person sellers. They actually are helping the hobby and I'm sure it's not an easy job to obtain those signatures. But, my point is two fold. I have an issue with millionaire celebrities charging exorbitant prices to sign for collectors who helped make them millionaires in the first place. Secondly, the average collector is being priced out of the hobby. 

Yeah, I agree. I have no problem with the in person dealers. Also agree about lining the pockets of celebrities.

I think in Robin's case with MJF that money was going to his foundation. That isn't always the case.I also know thre handlers at these shows are getting a cut, so the prices go up from there. I know meet & greets at concerts are used to off set other costs as well. So I do see both sides.

If it can help with finding a cure for Parkinson's Adam, I am all for it. I had no issue paying £445 whether it went to his foundation or not, but I'm glad it is going to his foundation. 

Not all celebrities charge extortionate prices to meet them and I thought that meeting some of the stars was reasonable. Even meeting MJF, the starting price was around £90, and that is very reasonable. However, I just wanted to make sure I did meet him as this was once in a lifetime and worth it, was an absolute snip at the price and for that, you a get a photo, an autograph, a seat at the cast reunion which was also a one off and some souvenirs. 

In contrast, some stars charge a lot of money like Adam said but its not going to a cause like MJF as far as I know, people like Sly and Arnold - however (all being well), I should be meeting Arnie next year and I'd pay through the roof to meet these types of stars and they know what they represent and that those prices can be demanded for their time. I wouldn't call their prices a rip off to be honest as its fairly reasonable by standards today. 

For sure, much harder to argue with anything in which the proceeds are going to a good cause.

I very well agree, it really I up to the individual and the ability to meet ones heroes.

We don't get many big names at our conventions really but last summer was the exception to the rule -

Michael J. Fox, Sigourney Weaver, to name a couple. Big hitters indeed. Was a pleasure to meet them. Memories which last forever as well and stories to tell, too.

Yep, that's exactly what Martin points out in the video above. 

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