Gaga for Fans

Gaga for Fans

 It should come as no surprise that the world’s biggest superstar has a galactic appreciation for her fans.

You get what you give. And the best relationship with audiences is based on reciprocity.

“[T]here will never be something that I put before my fans,” said Lady Gaga in September’s Vanity Fair  (always the best issue of the year, the arrival of which is bittersweet as it heralds the last of summer).  “I have a relentless pursuit in me to give everything in me to my fans to make them feel good about themselves. And if you don’t like it, well, then don’t come to the party.”

You’ve gotta love the attitude in her gratitude.

The Lady knows which side her bread is buttered on. “[Y]ou were nominated for five Grammy Awards,” she said when she thanked her little monsters (Gaga fans) on hearing the news from the music academy.

Her shout-out is refreshing at a time when the entertainment industry is still notoriously conflicted about its fans. At its worst, the corporate celebrity complex’ reactions to fandom run the gamut from lawsuits to blocking simple social network activities. The Information Society Law Project of the Yale Law School nicely sums up this profound ambivalence when it comes to fans in a recent article on copyright and Glee.

And with Glee set to rake in up to 19 Emmy Awards on August 29th, in large part because of its interplay between music and mashups, there is no question that it is time to overhaul the law when it comes to fan tributes.

Even smart animals know the real power an audience wields. Dumb bulls see the cape; smart bulls the matador, but the brainiest bovines acknowledge the spectators. This week, noted George Jonas in the National Post, a brilliant bull made this leap from spectacle to spectator. Right. Into. The. Bleachers. Somehow this bull understood the key thing that makes the bullfight tick: the fans.

True, musicians and the music industry have a better history of acknowledging fans than, say, do TV stars and the television business. But Gaga’s deep respect for her audience may mark a tipping point in the conflicted relationship between entertainment and fans.

From bankrollers to spectators to viral marketers, fans drive entertainment’s perpetual motion machine. And that’s no bull.