Saturday, September 26, 2009

Manilow TV and Consumerism 101

Manilow TV is starting up next week. This announcement started a controversy many different places in the Manilow fan world. Once again, the cult members went on the defensive about any opinion or comment that did not go along with the thinking that Manilow TV is the greatest thing ever. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. A service is being offered and the choice to buy that service is up to each individual. Happens every day; it is basic consumerism 101.

People are faced with making decisions every day about how to spend their money. The choices made are usually based on need, budget, or a number of other factors that play into what is going on in a person’s life at that time. In most cases these decisions are not shared with other folks on the Internet. For some reason Manilow fans find it necessary to share such Manilow related choices on the Internet with mass numbers of their close friends. That’s fine. Just be prepared if all of these people don’t agree with you because they will express how they feel – in no uncertain terms.

There’s really no problem with expressing an opinion. I’m doing that very thing right now. The problem comes when an opinion isn’t allowed. Free exchange of ideas is a great thing but when no exchange is allowed then it falls back into that old cult mentality. Everyone does not consider Manilow TV to be something they are prepared to buy into for various reasons. That should be allowed to be expressed and respected as much as the idea that Manilow TV is wonderful should be expressed and respected. We don’t all purchase the same items or services during the course of our day but that doesn’t make us bad people. It makes us different. Different is not bad.

For everyone signed up for Manilow TV, I hope you enjoy it. People who are not getting it, I am sure you made the right the decision for whatever reason you chose not to get it. I will be in the latter group for right now. I’m sure if the service works very well, word of mouth may convince some consumers who are sitting on the fence which way to go. My hope is that the information will be fair and balanced. It will be if you know where to go to read it. Do you think Consumer Reports will review Manilow TV? I guess not, so fan reviews will have to do. Keep an open mind. I plan on doing just that.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Manilow Lemonade

Barry Manilow is playing the Hollywood Bowl on October 24th. Fans have known that for quite a few months but a few days ago an announcement added a charity component to the event. Barry’s Hollywood Bowl concert will now raise money to put musical instruments into the hands of public school students in the LA school district. Music programs all over the US have suffered, like all arts programs, or for that matter education in general, in the recession. California has been very hard hit. Sounds like a very good idea. Yet some fans found fault with this turn of events.

Earlier a hotline had been sent out to some west coast fans and an alert posted on Facebook with the information that seats for the Hollywood Bowl priced at $9.99 were available. This was seen as a sign that the ticket sales were doing poorly. This was all speculation. Announcing the fundraiser fueled this speculation. Just for sake of argument, and I am meaning that in the terms of a point, not fighting with anyone, the speculation is true. Barry and his management came up with the idea of trying to increase ticket sales by making this a charity project. It’s not clear how this helps out tickets sales. Donating to the music project is only done by buying packages. Maybe the thinking is a lot of people will be convinced to buy tickets because Barry is giving something to the schools, or to save face in LA for Barry’s supposed poor ticket sales? Not sure about that thinking. Would it still be a bad thing, only to rip-off fans, as the fault finders say?

One of the key sticking points about how fans are being taken advantage is the packages being offered. The charge is that fans are being asked to pay a huge amount to meet Barry. Only one person on one board pointed out that maybe these packages were aimed at corporate sponsors. This makes perfect sense when reading what is included in the packages. Fans wouldn’t care to have their name put in ads or merchandise. The packages were designed to get corporate money. Probably these sponsors have already signed up. Meeting Barry is put in only as something for the guests who attend the concert in behalf of the company who buys the packages. It was never intended for fans. The cheapest package maybe aimed at fans but that’s all. Some people are so obsessed with the idea that meeting Barry is only done for a price that they lose all common sense.

How can this not be a good thing? It will put musical instruments into the hands of students who could have missed the opportunity to learn music because of budget restrains. Personally, I like this charity above all the others. In the case of Palms Springs, the donors saw the instruments get into the hands of the students. How many charities are able to show concrete proof that what they raised money for actually reached the people it helped? This is one of the few.

The Hollywood Bowl fundraiser looks like a win-win situation to me. This could be a case of having lemons and making lemonade out of them—Manilow Lemonade. Barry gets to help put musical instruments into student’s hands. Corporate sponsors or whoever buys the packages get to help Barry put the musical instruments into students’ hands and see a concert. Most importantly, students in LA will get the chance to learn to play musical instruments because of Barry’s Hollywood Bowl concert. Anything that aids kids is a good thing in my book. Maybe the next Barry Manilow will learn to play his music on one of the donated instruments. That would be awesome.