Believe it or not, I try to pay attention to a few other bands/artists out there besides Duran Duran. While nothing compares to my love and dedication to Duran, I am a fan of other bands. I just don’t spend anywhere near the same amount of time and money on them. My fan status is much more casual fan as opposed to the intense fandom of Duran. One of those other bands that I’m a fan of is Depeche Mode. It has always ranked within my top five bands. I own every album of theirs and do try to see them live when I can. Right now, Depeche is preparing for a flurry of activity.
Depeche’s latest album, Spirit, is due out on March 17th but they have already released a single. “Where’s the Revolution?” came out this winter and is definitely getting fans’ attention. If that was not enough, the band has a tour planned for this summer in Europe and more dates coming up in the U.S.
Now, we all know how Duran typically does their pre-sales. A show is announced on the band’s social media and official website. That announcement includes information about how much the tickets are, what kind of VIP packages are available and a date and time for the upcoming pre-sale. Usually, that pre-sale takes place within a couple of days. At the time of the sale, fans usually have a code that they use to buy tickets. From there, it is a first come, first serve system. All fans who are part of the fan club have an equal chance of getting whatever tickets the fan club had, theoretically.
Over the history of this blog, the topic of pre-sales has come up often. Fans, including ourselves, have, at times, complained and within reason. Some of us didn’t and don’t like the use of Ticketmaster. What is or is not included in VIP packages has often been discussed along with the value of the concert tickets, in general. Many have expressed frustration over what tickets are even available to fans through these pre-sales. I could go on but you get the drift. To summarize, many Duranies are not certain about how Duran chooses to run their pre-sales. Thus, I’m always looking for how other bands do it to see if there really is an alternative.
This week, I learned about how Depeche Mode is going to run their pre-sales. According to the article on diffuser.fm, this is their plan:
In order to head off scalpers at the pass, they’ve opened what they’re referring to as a “digital waiting room” where fans can get first dibs on tickets.
“Depeche Mode are coming back to North America,” the band writes. “And this time, they’re doing something different. Before scalpers and bots, true fans would line up at the box office for days to get tickets. This is the same thing, but online. Claim your spot in line by signing up below, and the higher your spot, the better your access to tickets during the fan pre-sale. End up at the very front of the line for your city and you’ll be invited to meet the band before the show.”
When I learned about this, I followed the directions to sign up. Interestingly enough, the site asked me to confirm the location of the show I would go to. Their website goes on to say: “When we announce the tour dates, we’ll send you your exact spot in line for the city closest to your preferred location. Your spot will determine when you will get access to the fan ticket presale, but it isn’t final until signups end. By purchasing the new album, sharing on social media and generating sign-ups through your link, you can improve your spot.” Clearly then, you can move up in line based on what you do to help promote the new album and tour. Fascinating.
Apparently then, I will receive a code, which will give me access to the fan presale but the time that the code will become valid will be decided by my virtual place in line. From what I read, the line stops changing 48 hours before the pre-sale starts.
I find this system really interesting. It seems to me that they are hoping that by using this method, they will get more people to buy the new album and promote the album and tour. As someone who writes a blog each and every day about a band, I love the idea of that work being recognized and rewarded with better concert tickets. I wonder, though, if this system would even recognize something like a fan blog. Will the system only acknowledge certain fan actions and behaviors that can be easily “read” and calculated by technology?
Another element of this pre-sale system that I question is the idea of having to give a location. For me, this works for Depeche Mode. I won’t travel to see them. Thus, if I go to a Depeche concert, it is likely to be in Chicago or Minneapolis. If this was for Duran Duran, though, I would travel, if dates work out better, but the chosen location has to be determined immediately to get in line. Also, what happens if fans want to go to more than one show? Do they rely on other friends put other locations down? Does this just end up encouraging going to only one show?
All in all, I find some of this idea fascinating and potentially positive for fans. On the other hand, it limits fans to one city without knowing any of the dates. It will be interesting to see how this works in real time. What do the rest of you think?