Is trying to control fan sites a smart approach for a modern-day music artist? Bryan Adams seems to think so. The ballad adoring Canadian has brought on the "Web Sheriff" -- a business that does the dirty work of "protecting your rights on the Internet" for you -- to crack down on online fan creations.
A handful of sites -- bryanadamsfanclub.nl and bryanadams.nu, for example -- are offline as they "negotiate" with the Web Sheriff, UK-based The Register reports. Adams has asked the company to get the sites to sign a rights agreement in exchange for use of his name and image, the paper says.
"There is nothing sinister about this at all," a Web Sheriff rep states in the story. "It's just that some of the fans [running the sites] are guilty of over-exuberance about the artist. ... They're doing what fans do and being enthusiastic but they sometimes take things too far by including links to pirate sites and using unofficial material."
The process apparently also includes tribute bands. "The Bryan Adams Experience," The Register found, has also been asked to adopt the name of the "The Bryan Adams Tribute Experience" to avoid any potential confusion.
This isn't the first time an artist has taken such actions. The same Web Sheriff acted on behalf of Prince last year and ordered unofficial fan sites to shut down.
So I guess my query is two-fold: First, as I initially asked, is this really the best way for an artist to do business these days? I'd like to think someone, particularly a fading soft rock star from the 90s, should be happy to see enthusiastic people celebrating his sounds and drawing attention to his brand. That buzz could be used to drive merchandise and music sales -- or, at the very least, to keep him slightly more in the public eye.
That leads me to point two, which is just...Bryan Adams? Really? There are fan sites and a TRIBUTE BAND for Bryan Adams?!
Of all the elements of this story, I think that is the most flooring to me.