From Lauryn Hill to Frank Ocean
Brilliant piece - such a fascinating topic. Brought to mind the Lewis Capaldi documentary and the pressure on him as an artist to create.
Artists owe their damn living to their fans. And should treat them like gold, as Willie Nelson and Taylor Swift do. It's an important factor in having a long term music career
I think there’s an important distinction to be made here between what artist’s “owe us” and artistic obligations. Clearly they reserve the right to produce their art as they see fit, using their process and they don’t owe us new material, the hits, more shows, bigger performances, crowd engagement, interviews etc. However, if they agree to play a big festival, and they’re being paid accordingly, they do have an obligation to show up, be present, sing into a microphone and perform their music. And pulling out of weekend 2 because of some critical feedback (unsure if valid or not) is unprofessional.
I think artists generally don't owe fans anything. An artist I am a fan of asked on Twitter how often he should release music and my response was whenever he wants to or can. I dislike the idea that artists have to release songs just because fans ask for them even if they are dealing with some heavy stuff. It is a little different if a fan pays for a ticket, in that case, I believe the artist has to put on a good show (obviously subjective what that means)
i’m obsessed with frank...but just his albums. otherwise, i agree with the quote about him giving pos god complex. for now it’s still possible to ignore the drama so i can remain a fan of his music. i only saw one 3 second clip of the show before this became a whole thing. it does suck that artists are all expected to be clowns for us tho (and i’m sure he’s still grieving for his brother).
Wrong superstar, wrong place wrong time. It does happen, and the industry machinations that make it happen are to blame really, not the artist or the fans. Some poor decision making.
Loved reading this Eleanor, and it's a really tricky subject to think through even your own opinions on. I think you're right that there's a line somewhere around the performances/tours that presents a different argument to just a fan's fervour for new material - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is precious and complete, I've never needed her to make an album against her will just so I could buy it! Prince probably performed some of his songs differently every night and I don't think anyone would complain for his reinterpretation of his own material. If people get mad about not being able to sing along... I feel like they've missed the point slightly, surely the potential to witness some new magic live is really exciting! But showing up late/leaving early and making it purposefully difficult for fans to see or hear sounds aggressive to me and that's not a performance that anyone can truly enjoy.