According to Ace Showbiz, Drake has cancelled all meet and greets for his upcoming "Summer Sixteen" tour with Future, which kicks off July 20 in Austin, Texas, and many are wondering if security concerns are the reason why.
The $1000 "6 God Meet & Greet" package included a ticket in the first five rows, a photo taken with Drake, a meet and greet session and other assorted items including a scented 6 God candle (of course), Summer Sixteen car freshener (does it smell like money?) and a 6 God foam hand (is this Wrestlemania or a concert?).
Not surprisingly, fans who shelled out the pricey amount were extremely disappointed with the news and took to Twitter to voice their displeasure:
Broken hearts aside, recent events may have spurred on Drake and his team's decision to cancel the meet and greet portion of the package. An artist doesn't just cancel these packages, which drive a substantial amount of revenue versus a standard ticket and exponentially more than the music itself, on a whim.
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The shooting death of former The Voice contestant Christina Grimmie by a fan turned murderous stalker has made many in the industry rethink how close fans should be able to get to their favorite artists. In 2016, the way artists raise their profile, grow their fanbase and ultimately drive more revenue is by being accessible to fans, whether that be through social media, meet and greets, or even home visits. Gone are the days of recording artists as mythical, unreachable, inaccessible superstars a la Michael Jackson or Prince. Hell, even Elton John, an artist who was once that mythical and unreachable celebrity, is now playing performances in public train stations.
Drake cited "scheduling issues" as the reason for the cancellation, which seems odd given that these concerts are already scheduled and he'd likely already be at the venue. With artists as huge as Drake and Justin Bieber cancelling lucrative meet and greet sessions, one wonders if the music industry as a whole will follow suit. In fact, it may be an even more pressing issue for smaller artists, who depend heavily on direct fan connections and are even more accessible, factors both heavily at play in the case of Christina Grimmie.
So while Drake has yet to specifically cite safety concerns as an issue - let's be honest, no one wants to label their fans as crazy - every artist is undoubtedly at least questioning how close to their fans they want to get after recent tragic events. Maybe there will be a return to the unreachable, inaccessible stars after all.
By @brokencool, native Torontonian
Photo Credit: Instagram