Fan: A person who is enthusiastically devoted to something or someone, such as a band, sports team, book, or entertainer.
As many working the entertainment sector of the industry, the lifeblood of every celebrity, every recording artist and every actor or actress, are the fans, for without fans, there is no success. But just how important are they? What drives a fan to be faithful to a certain artist, band, or group? How does the fan contribute to the overall successes of artists? And more importantly, how well do you as a protector understand the fan dynamic to keep your client safe?
I remember as a kid watching Elvis on T.V. in concert. I vividly remember asking my mother, “mom why are those ladies crying?” All I saw was thousands of people singing along and as the camera’s panned across the front of the stage, I saw people screaming and crying. The emotional state that they were in made me think that someone had passed away. Stranger still was that the people who were crying seemed also to be celebrating, needless to say, I was pretty confused! I’m sure that this phenomenon happened with other artists of that era also but, I don’t remember seeing it again, personally, until Michael Jackson performed. I was always curious as to why people get so overwhelmed and so lost in emotion, all over an entertainer. It literally brings them to a state of complete “emotional servitude.” However, I never realized the true motivators for fans until I became an Executive Protection Specialist.
It starts with motivation, these motivating factors are ‘liking and wanting’ and are different from person to person. Music, in particular, draws people of every background, ethnicity, age, and social status. Music above all is seen as a healer, it comforts, it’s an escape for some, and it builds confidence in many others. How does it start? It starts in the mind. Dr. Jeff Rudskic a psychologist at Mutlenburg College stated it this way. He said, “We’re built to become deeply connected to outside entities. The brains mesolimbic system functions as a reinforcement circuit between the opioidergic system (which controls liking) and the dopaminergic system (which governs wanting)”. For instance, when we like a particular donunt, we want it again, the next time it’s available. It’s the same with liking a particular artist or band, a certain song can be liked and then the person wants to hear more and see more and thus a fan is born. As I stated before, the dynamics of a fan vary by age, social status, education, and the personal psychological make-up of the person.
The personalities of music fans vary, for example, extroverts prefer heavy baselines while jazz fans or classical music fans tend to be more creative, more introverted (and incidentally, have higher IQ scores). Here’s a few more that were compiled by a study done by Dr Rudskic.
Pop Music Fans: hard working and have high self-esteem but tend to be less creative and at times uncomfortable.
Rap Music Fans: tend to have high self-esteem, are outgoing and very creative.
Indie Fans: tend to be typically introverted, intellectual, and creative.
Jazz, Blues, and Soul Music Fans: were found to be more extroverted, have high self-esteem, creative, and intelligent.
In my opinion, as a protector, you will need to know and understand the make-up of a particular genre of music to understand the fan base that goes along with it. What I mean by this is, in order to take on a musical client, you must have a firm understanding of the dynamics of their fanbase or crowd. How will you be able to do a qualified threat assessment, advance, dedicate staff, or protect a client if you don’t know the dynamics or make-up of the crowd that’s coming to see them perform? Live shows incorporate light displays, choreography, video displays, and in some instances pyrotechnics. Some of the most powerful musical experiences for the fan are delivered through concerts. They are often described as a near religious experience with pounding hearts, tears, and with no adequate words to explain their emotions. So, considering that, if a fan is feeling like that at a concert, the temporary euphoric feeling they have can often override the sense of safety they would ordinarily have for themselves or the performer. Your awareness and understanding of these components are vital to you being able to protect your client. It is equally essential that you utilize the resources available and don’t overstretch yourself. Building good working relationships with venue security will make your job far easier.
As discussed, the Fan is the lifeblood of a successful entertainer, his or her popularity, their ability to record and release new material, announce tours, and more importantly for them, take care of the ‘bottom line’ all relies on the loyal and feverish support of their fans. Put simply, without the Fans there is nothing. Therefore, managing the delicate balance of interactions between artist and fans is essential, all the while ensuring a top level of protection to your client. This balance is perfected over time as you become accustomed to your client but understanding the fan dynamic will make this a more intuitive experience.
While fans are the fuel by which the entertainment machine runs, we as protectors must have a clear understanding how to navigate the machine, allowing the fans to show their love and support while at the same time keeping our clients safe. The vital relationship between an artist and his or her fans is a special one, therefore, understanding that relationship and preserving it is vital to your success in this niche industry.
By: Mark Roche EPS