Some people are reasonably upset about fans paying good money for a Lauryn Hill show that was disappointing. That sort of thing is always upsetting. But at least two of them have turned that disappointment into an attack on Lauryn Hill. Talib Kweli weighed in with an extreme take along the lines of Lauryn Hill's given us so much that we cannot criticize. But it's a simple situation. Lauryn Hill has a history of unpredictability so buying a ticket is a roll of the dice. You already knew that so why the drama?
Stefab Schumacher says he's lost his love for Lauryn Hill cause she hasn't done anything for him lately. It just takes him a long time to say it.
Ruth Blatt points out, inspired in part by a disappointing Lauryn Hill concert, that disrespecting customers is bad for business. True enough.
Talib Kweli steps to Ms. Hill's defense and does a decent takedown of Schumacher but also makes such moves as accusing fans who lost interest of "mass abandonment of one of our heroes." Damn. And that "allowed a white, male writer" to do all sorts of bad things on Medium! Shame on you.
Two Key Concepts Are In Competition
I can't get into all that but there are two basic ideas competing here that I can discuss:
1) Buying a ticket is an implied contract between artist and ticket buyer that they will present a reasonably decent show. That's show biz.
2) Certain incredibly important musicians throughout recorded history have had wide-ranging idiosyncrasies that ultimately became part of their legend. Once such things are known, people who are intelligent deal with these individuals with the understanding that they're capable of doing a wide range of things some of which the ticket buyer might not enjoy.
Rock fans definitely know what I'm talking about. We've all seen promising up and coming bands crippled by drugs, alcohol and/or mental issues to the point where you don't know when you're going to get the perfect show or the perfect train wreck. I've seen it with people I cared about as friends. Such things have destroyed a lot of promising acts.
Lauryn Hill's in category 2 and that always trumps category 1 once that history is established and fans know about it.
Real Fans Know What To Expect and Act Accordingly
Certain acts are acts for which you buy that ticket and hope for the best. Real fans know that and act accordingly.
It is sad when people who just liked some of the songs and don't follow the news about that artist get burned by erratic behavior. Google it next time.
If you're a consumer, be a smart consumer.
If you're a fan, be a real fan.
And if you're going to see Lauryn Hill, go see Lauryn Hill, not something you've created in your imagination.
[Thumbnail image: cover of Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill]
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) recently launched DanceLand. Send news about music tech startups and services, DIY music biz and music marketing to: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.