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After last night’s Grammy performance, two self-indulgent albums (RAM & Tron) and a major merchandising drive – isn’t it about time Daft Punk went back to some good old-fashioned fan service?

A snap chat filter just won’t cut it anymore

Fan service is a really important concept when it comes to cultivating a healthy relationship between an artist and his or her fans. Giving fans what they want can solidify a bond between them, and creates a relationship of trust. But if you begin to take them for granted and treat them as a cash cow you will only end up destroying your biggest asset.

In recent years, Daft Punk’s treatment of their fans – arguably the most diehard fans in music – has been a little troubling. Instead of delivering a steady stream of interesting artistic expressions (whether it’s live shows, music or videos) they’ve been pretty much dolling out expensive merchandise to the masses, without really giving anything back, apart from a Snapchat filter, of course.

The Grammys performance looked like a duo that’s out of ideas

Last night, the duo performed alongside the Weeknd, and truth be told it was really boring. They stood there like relics of an old system that simply doesn’t exist anymore, completely out of touch with the world. Having not graced a stage in four years, you’d think they’d want to do something genuinely interesting. But honestly, it was wooden, boring and just not that interesting.

Is the pop-up store a gift to their fans or a cynical cash grab?

Then there’s the pop-up store, a clever idea to let fans take a peak behind the curtain of their 20-year career. But when it’s in LA, and is selling $300 t-shirts – it’s hard to see it as a gift but rather just another cynical cash grab, preying on the passion of their fans for another dollar. Now, I’m not is saying that selling merchandise is evil – it’s not. Plenty of artists do it to keep the lights on and food in the fridge. But when you get to the point where you’re selling more merchandise than music – then the balance between the two has become worryingly skewed.

Reportedly worth $140 million dollars between them, Thomas and Guy-man aren’t poor – not by a long shot – so what’s with this drive to become this unrelenting merchandising machine? Well, the current thinking is they’re funding their next tour, or maybe their next album – and that kinda sounds like plausible situation, and is no doubt something most fans would no doubt buy into. But that’s just guess work, they could just as easily be extracting as much money out of their fans as they can, with no real desire to ever tour again. And if you remember, RAM didn’t require great swathes of merchandising to fund their lavish, self-indulgent plans, so what’s changed?

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It’s time to make Daft Punk great again

Truth be told, they’re not being honest with their fans, they’re taking them for granted. They haven’t really embarked on some pure fan service since 2007’s Alive, a tour that was born out of desire to prove everyone wrong. Their album ‘Human After All’ flopped badly, they hadn’t had a hit in 6 years, and everyone was beginning to question their ability and relevance. And they answered the call, they delivered arguably the most iconic electronic live show in living memory, and cemented their place in dance music folklore.

It’s time to make Daft Punk dance again

Now is the time to prove everyone wrong again. RAM was a beautiful record, as was the Tron soundtrack, but it wasn’t exactly what their fans wanted – but as fans should, they stood by them, knowing that their trust and excitement would be paid back tenfold. After two bouts of self-indulgence, isn’t it about time Daft Punk went back to some gold old fashioned fan service? I want Daft Punk to go back and try and make dance music again, you know the music that propelled them to this level of fame and fortune. Get the samplers out, and start making music that’s worth their considerable talents – and then tour it. Maybe they genuinely do think that dance music is dead; a soulless enterprise that’s beneath them. But isn’t doing pop tracks with The Weeknd and selling $300 t-shirts just as vacuous and out of touch?

It’s time to make Daft Punk great again.

Andrew Rafter

Andrew Rafter is the editor and founder of Harder Blogger Faster.