We probably all think of Iron Maiden and heavy metal music as something that deeply affects our lives, as an art that transcends beyond the material and in some way, the worldly. Some of us have dedicated considerable parts of our lives to this music and this form of art. There is an important social component to the world of Iron Maiden and heavy metal, and this forum itself is a testament to that. I can say for myself that I wouldn't be the person I am today if it hadn't been for the inspiration drawn from metal and the people I met thanks to it. However, is that actual reality? Does "Iron Maiden" as an entity of consequence actually exist? Is it not rather Iron Maiden Holdings Ltd.? Do they publish art or rather sell products? Are we really fans, and not simply paying customers? After all, all the people who are part of Iron Maiden - the band members, road crew, other employees - live from selling their products to us, the albums, live shows, t-shirts, golf balls, beers, whatever. My thought is that someone who defines themselves as a fan is such because they value the integrity of the artist they support, and believe the artists are what we support them for because of their own artistic decisions. But if this is so, then are we, as fans, even entitled to anything? When I think of setlist complaints, the groaning about another 8-minute epic on a new album or the demand that they should play Alexander, then aren't we behaving more like paying customers who want value for their money? Are we really putting our trust into the artists that they know what they are doing and will have made the conscious decision that, say, it would be better to play Afraid to Shoot Strangers than Infinite Dreams? Or are we feeling cheated because we spent so much money on their albums and their live shows that we have a certain idea of what their end of the deal is supposed to be? Is someone who leaves a concert after they play the last rare song and then continue to play the classics a person who is there for the art, or someone who is there because he has a product he has certain demands of? I admit the post above is a bit wordy, so I hope I'm getting my point, or rather my question, across. To put it in simple words, is there actually such a thing as a pure fan in an artistic process, or are we all just rather paying customers in an economic cycle?