Why Don’t You Care About Me: The Vocal Minority, and Members vs. Non-Members

A couple weeks ago, the following message caught my eye on Twitter:

“LPUers r ‘First class fans’ cause they fuckin pay.the other fans r nothing to you,cause we dont pay,huh?PISSED OFF! @linkinpark @m_shinoda”

Quick recap: LPU is the Linkin Park fan organization. It costs $60 for a year-long membership. The details of what you get with membership are listed here. I assume the “first class fan” part was in reference to a comment the band made at some point. This person appears to be very (10 out of 10) upset.

It’s sometimes hard to read the nuances of intended emotion in a typed blog post, so I’ll be very clear that I’m not angry, nor do I feel defensive as I write this. I’m calmly sitting in a hotel room on tour, with a cup of coffee and a couple pieces of toast. And this tweet got me thinking about something that’s bigger than the “who is the best fan” question.

So, let’s answer the tweet!

Which fan is most important? Is it the one who buys the most stuff? The one who supports their “thing” the loudest? The one who cares more deeply than the rest? The one who has been loyal the longest? And specifically online, why in the world do people seem to fight over this subject so passionately?

A fan club can simultaneously be a very unifying and a distinctly divisive subject: while it offers an incredible community and amazing opportunities, it also separates people into “members” versus “non-members.” To start, a fan club is an option…unless you’re in the band (ha!).

For me, opting-in on a club means that I choose that club as important to me (at least, important enough to spend time and money on). Conversely, opting-out really means I have no right to demand the same benefits as members. The people who join are paying for products and service. Those things cost money to create, therefore the club has a cost.

(Speaking of cost, the “money” argument is always a favorite. Some will try to levy an argument that an organization like LPU gives preferential treatment to fans because the band “cares more about people who give them more money.” For us, this is a thin, baseless argument. We make no money from LPU. Every dollar of money spent on LPU goes directly back into the organization. Case closed.)

“First Class” implies that you give extra to get extra. We call LPU the “inner circle” because of it allows closer proximity to the band (our “Summit” conventions and video chats, for example). Can non-LPU members get those kinds of experiences? Yes: if Chester were to cross paths with a fan on the street, for example, he could sign an autograph and take a picture. But the LPU is an organization which helps to set those experiences up for you, so you’ll have a much higher (maybe from 10,000 to 1,000,000s+ times higher) percent chance of it happening.

“Whatever, I don’t have the money to be a member. This fan club sucks!”

In the world, sometimes we forget that there is a constant give-and-take between “what you give” in exchange for “what you get.” At a clothing store, you may give money to get something to wear. In the garden, you may give time and care to get food. In a relationship, you may give love and commitment to get a caring partner. If one side of any of these equations fails to provide their part, the whole thing falls apart (or, in one case, someone gets arrested for shoplifting).

And yet, some people want to get without having to give. Looking online, you would think it’s a large group. But it’s not. Not even close. For example: of the thirty-one million people who follow Linkin Park on Facebook, about three ten-thousandths of a percent (0.0003%) of those people belong to LPU. And only a fraction of that tiny number actually participate in this conversation.

But somehow, in comments and reviews online, that tiny group manages to make it look like a major debate. How does that work?

I was informed by management that our latest album “A Thousand Suns” was the #2 best selling rock album in the world last year (congrats to Mumford and Sons, who were #1!). But if you read the iTunes reviews of “A Thousand Suns,” you wouldn’t have guessed it: the album has a 3 out of 5 star rating, and lots of negative comments. Meanwhile, contented Linkin Park fans continue to buy the album. They cheer the band at our shows, “like” us on Facebook, and support us in a myriad other ways. But not in fan reviews. Why?

Studies such as this one, conducted by the Warsaw University of Technology, found that people are more inclined to comment online if they have negative feelings about something. Contented people will not comment, discontented people will complain. And the negative thread is likely to grow longer and more extreme if the subject: a.) is opinion-based, b.) is emotional content, and/or c.) has a large following or draw. (For us: check, check, check…) Plus, adding the separation by the computer screen, people feel emboldened to speak freely and sometimes in a more exaggerated fashion.

I’m not dismissing the vocal minority. Clearly, opinions can be useful and helpful: productive comments have helped us build a great www.linkinpark.com and the LP Underground itself. If we didn’t believe in the opinions of the few, we wouldn’t have posted this poll last week.

And at the same time, we remember that protesters make a lot more noise than anyone else. When we see negative comments and bad reviews, it’s easy to think that “lots of people” think the same way, because the complainers are sometimes the only ones talking.

In the piece here, Theodore Dalrymple writes: “The habit of not containing your rage is likely to lead you to easily provoked enragement. And, as almost everyone knows who has taken the trouble of self-examination, there is a great deal of pleasure to be had from rage, especially when it supposes itself to be in a righteous cause.” Hate begets hate. Being angry can feel good, especially when you think you’re right.

And as people write more negative comments, they actually feel more negative, more often. Scary.

I have used the term “super fan” here on my blog. When I do, I think try to make a point to include LPU members and those who have decided LPU is not for them–I’m referring to anyone who considers themselves a big fan of the band. I use this distinction to indicate that the people I’m talking to are the ones willing to put in extra work in some form or another.

And in the most general terms, when I talk about fans of Linkin Park, I mean to include anyone, whether you own everything our band has ever released + come to 100 concerts, or if you’ve never spent a dollar, and you just like one song. In other words, if you think you’re a fan, then you are a fan.

If you’ve read this post and thought, “I don’t want to feel more negative, more often,” I commend and admire you.

To the rest: your debate can continue below.

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Comment by David Harmon on June 29, 2011 at 12:38am

i dont have the money to join lpu, but i am completely ok with the fact that it costs money. mike i agree with everything you just said.


btw... just saw the 12:01 showing of Transformers at my local theatre.... SO AMAZING especially with iridescent

Comment by Ndidi Okeke on June 29, 2011 at 12:00am

lol @ Frgt-10 Monika. I'm really happy all the post are positive so far. It seems there are occasions where ppl feel pushed to post do so with positive thoughts in mind. It seems we're really all in agreement here, LPU members and non-members, that we all just really love Linkin Park (thank you, Captain Obvious). I too am not an LPU member, mostly because money has always been tight but also b/c I'm not in the position to benefit from half of the privileges anyways. It's just nice to know we can all be huge fans in other ways than being LPU members.


p.s. I envy all of you that have seen them live. I'm DYING to see them in concert but have never been able to due to life circumstances.

Comment by Frgt-10 Monika on June 28, 2011 at 11:14pm

not a LPU MEMBER but a SUPER FAN :)

simple way to check.....

if u think MIKE'S RIGHT u r a TRUE FAN....


Comment by Nathan Fraley on June 28, 2011 at 11:03pm
I would like to Be LPU but Money is hard now. I wish i could cause i wanna be more envolved with you guys. But Trust me i am a fan listen to all your songs and enjoyed them if i didnt like them i came around to them and i say if you was a true fan you'd. Probably Stuck around to read the end of the Post. Ha but anyways Im all i wish i could but money is hard to come around for the poor fans. Many loves The Fraley
Comment by Nestor San Valentin on June 28, 2011 at 10:33pm

I agree.. that's why I joined LPU in the first place.. I really like Linkin Park.. and I'm seeing them for the first time this September in HK... I never get the chance to see them because Im never in town when they go to HK or Macau :(( I really hope to meet the band!! I know living in Asia we rarely get to go to LP concerts or have no chance for the summit or anything unless they have one in Asia. I still joined only for the sole purpose of increasing my chance to meet Linkin Park in person! 


PS.. I haven't rcvd my LPU package.. its only been 2-3 wks.. but last time I checked in my acc it hasn't been shipped yet. :/

Comment by James Montagriff on June 28, 2011 at 10:27pm

Shinoda your right, I myself have been a fan for a number of years way before hybrid theory . I plan on paying to become a underground member. Just for the same reasons you posted up top. We as fans support something we like, so yes it is fair to put money into it.


You guys have to come back to the east cost more. New York almost never See's you and i missed out the last two times to get meet and greet passes. I will say one thing and you have most likely heard this over a million times from other fans. Your music has gotten me over a lot of hard times in my life. Thanks for everything you guys have done. I am looking forward to saying this in person to all of you. Good luck on the rest of the tour.


P.S - Do you guys think your going to put out a album, like "Live In Texas". For "Live at Madison Square Garden 2011".  Cause that concert was great. That one and the 2008 one at Madison Square Garden I've been to.

Comment by Taylor on June 28, 2011 at 9:50pm


Comment by Fallon Perridon-Loredo on June 28, 2011 at 9:21pm
So much has been said but in reality there are no ads on this website and like everything in this world you have to pay....sorry .....that's reality you cant go in sam's and say let me get stuff at discount without my card because I like to get stuff at discount .....I'm not a member of lpu I hope to be once I get more stabled...off my soap box
Comment by Nithya Silverajoo on June 28, 2011 at 8:41pm

i am not a LPU member but who cares bcoz to me i will always be a part of LP no matter what happens. i think LP is the most coolest band and i will always support u guys. Love u guys!!!


Comment by Hybrid Theorist on June 28, 2011 at 8:22pm
Who cares whether you are an LPU member or not, it surely doesn't mean you are a bigger fan than the next person. I consider myself a hugh fan, my family consider me as LP's biggest fan and my friends say I'm obsess with Linkin Park, but I wasn't an LPU for the full decade. When I first got the 2007 package, someone stole it. Man, did I cried a river but I forgive that person because I believe I became a more than a fan. I know whoever took it would enjoy it to the max and I'm happy. I didn't join LPU until I came to the USA and LP was going to play in NY soon. So I took advantage of LPU and joined the monthly membership to get reserved seat at the Best Buy Theatre( though standing and jumping was way more fun). I became an annual LPU member when LP announced their A Thousand Suns Tour 2010-2011. Why? because I knew there had to a meet and greet session and i just tried my luck since that would be the first LP tour I would experience, why not go all out. I did get pick and it was awe-some (Thank you random selector). But Honestly, I'm not renewing my package until the time seems right. I am not wealth neither am I a spender, I work out my possibilities and advantages, and it is what got me into college early. So I totally agree with Mike that a big fan/ super fan/first class fan is ANYONE who appreciates what Linkin Park is doing in their albums or even that one song.


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