Category Archives: downloads

Release Plan Reactions

In just two little days, Duran Duran is releasing their 13th studio album, “All You Need Is Now,” exclusively on iTunes.  This release will be followed by a physical release in February with some extra tracks.  I discovered a discussion about this plan taking place on the Duran Duran Message Board.  The discussion began from a poll about whether or not this plan is genius or stupid or something in between.  In this thread, some posters complain that the band isn’t being fair to the fans and others think the plan is fine. 

The arguments against this plan usually go something like this:  Why should I pay for the album twice?  Why is the band trying to get as much money from us as possible?  They should treat the fans better.  There are complaints about iTunes.  The quality of downloads is not the same as a cd or vinyl.  Why make it exclusively iTunes?  Why not make it available to other online music stores?  The other side of the debate points out that this is a way to get most of the album early because, otherwise, we would have to wait until February to get it.  They also point out that people can just wait until February to get the physical album, if they so choose.  As far as the band wanting as much money as possible, don’t these fans release that it is also a business for them?  Yes, making music is an art form but it is also their means of making money.  Why shouldn’t they try to get as much money as possible?  Does that make them less honorable people?  Do these same fans look at people who work for corporations to make as much money as they can as less than honorable people?  I doubt it.  Like other businesses, it is up to the consumer to make a choice.  S/he can decide to buy the product or not.  The same can be said for iTunes and downloading lesser quality music.  iTunes and Duran Duran came to some sort of deal in order to better themselves, from a business standpoint.  Would it be nice to be available in other locations?  Absolutely but what good is it going to do to complain about it?  Again, the consumer has the choice to buy or not to buy.  Simple enough. 

Obviously, this debate may continue on for months until we are actually able to buy the physical cd or vinyl.  There were many people on that thread that began to question whether or not anything Duran Duran does is good enough for some people.  I have to agree.  It seems to me that if the band was releasing the album just on iTunes, people would complain.  If they were just releasing it, physically, people would complain.  If they had to wait a couple more months, there would be moans and groans about Durantime.  It seems like they tried to compromise by releasing the album in this way.  We don’t have to wait as long.  We have choices about when and how to buy the album (for the most part-I understand that some places don’t have iTunes).  Therefore, it does feel to me that some Duranies won’t ever be pleased.  This discussion on the release plan just seems to be one of many in recent times that showcases this never-be-happy attitude.  Other conversations included the album cover, the new music itself, the use of Mark Ronson and other guest musicians and more.  I’m sure that Tuesday will see even more with release of both the album and video.

I find myself struggling to understand this.  I can relate to saying what you think, even if it isn’t positive towards the band.  I can’t relate if EVERYTHING you say regarding the band is negative.  I don’t understand that.  Why waste time on them then?  Why waste other people’s time?  Of course, I’m sure that these posters don’t see themselves doing that.  They just are voicing their opinions and nothing more, right?  One thing I would like to ask them is this:  What could the band do to make you happy?  Is this something realistic and logical?  I’ll give an example.  Would I like them to do hour long meet and greets for all fans who VIP?  Sure.  It isn’t possible with schedules, time, etc.  I think everyone needs to remember a few things:  First, people should remember why they became fans in the first place.  Second, what good does it do to be negative about everything?  Once people stop being so negative, maybe they will enjoy it more.  I know that I will enjoy it and them more!


The Album Has Leaked

The album has leaked.  This blog post isn’t going to be about the music but about the discussions taking place throughout the fandom about downloading the album ahead of time.  Obviously, there are many fans who think it is perfectly acceptable to get a copy of the album ahead of time for various reasons.  There are other fans who disagree with those reasons.   

The basic reasons that the fans who have downloaded the album, illegally, have given are either that they will buy it anyway or that the album won’t be available any other way.  Most fans who have a copy of the album claim that it is not a big deal to have it because they will actually buy a copy when it is released.  One thing I have noticed with this argument is that some of these fans aren’t saying WHEN they will be buying it.  Will they be buying it on the 21st when it is available via iTunes?  Maybe, they will wait until the physical release in February.  Does it matter?  If they are buying it on the 21st, does that make it okay as they really will be buying it as soon as possible?  Does that make it okay?  That doesn’t seem that horrible to me. In that case, it is like having a preview.  What if they are waiting for the physical release?  My question here would be:  If they didn’t have the album ahead of time, would they have waited or would they have felt forced to buy it through iTunes?  If they would have been forced to buy it and now they won’t, that seems more problematic to me.  In this situation, it does seem more unethical as they are taking money from the band, at least for a few months.  Maybe they are planning on buying both the cd and the vinyl.  If they are going to buy it twice, does that make up for it or equal it out?  Obviously, each fan has to decide that for him or herself.  Now, what if the fans do NOT like what they hear?  Will they still buy it at least once to make up for the illegal download?  If they don’t, then the band has lost sales.  Now, obviously, I can understand not wanting to buy a copy of something you don’t like but that doesn’t seem fair.  After all, it isn’t like the band hasn’t given opportunities to hear what the new music is going to sound like so the fans have had adequate previews.  After all, Mark Ronson has played some snippets on his radio show and they have put up snippets on their official website.  My point is this:  There can’t be an assumption that all people who have heard it ahead of it will actually buy it.  Some won’t. 

Another argument I have heard is that iTunes isn’t available so that the illegal download is the only way to get the new music.  From my understanding, if iTunes isn’t available in one’s country, then another source will make it available.  If my understanding is correct, then this sounds like a big excuse.  If it isn’t, I still wonder if there wouldn’t be another choice.  Obviously, I understand not wanting to wait.  What fan does??  Yet, there has to be a different solution. 

Of course, there are fans who are expressing some of what I expressed above.  Some fans seem to go further and say or imply that fans who can’t wait aren’t good fans.  For them, they might be using the lack of downloading as a means of elevating their status within the community.  My point here, though, is to acknowledge that things seem to have shifted in a week.  Last week, it seemed like the fans who had the single ahead of time were of higher status than those who didn’t because there were so few of them.  Now, the reverse seems to be true as it is like those who have remained with patience are in the minority.  Perhaps, they do deserve praise for waiting.  Some think so.  Some think it has shown a strength of character. 

Beyond these two basic groups of fans (those who download and those who don’t), there are the people who share.  I can definitely understand people’s desire to share with their friends.  After all, it is possible that they are so excited that they want someone else to share their excitement.  Maybe they want to be able to talk about the music with their friends.  I can understand all of that.  Obviously, though, people have shared WAY beyond just their friends.  According to what I have read, the album is available on some of those torrent sites where lots of people can download it.  The people who put it up on something like that have no desire to keep to a small group of people.  They want it available to everyone who is interested.  I have a hard time with that.  Yes, I do realize that, for some people, that might be the only way to hear it ahead of time in full as some people don’t have friends who have access to songs or albums ahead of time.  I understand and know that feeling.  It is just how it is, sometimes.  It is not like those people can’t ever hear it.  They just have to wait longer. 

As I have read and even participated in some of these discussions, my conclusion is this.  As a fan and as a person, each individual must decide what she or he can live with.  I know that, as a fan, I couldn’t live with having something that can be purchased, legally, from a band I care about.  I would feel compelled to buy it even if it turned out to be something I didn’t like, as soon as possible.  If I was one of the lucky few who got a copy of a song or video or album ahead of time, I would never share with the public.  In fact, I might not share with my friends or many of my friends.  I would feel enough respect for the band to keep it to myself.


Leaked Material

Duranland has been a little crazy the last few days.  First, it started with the discovery that the European EP of Mediterranea was available on many European iTunes.  This, obviously, was not a planned release.  Nonetheless, the community went crazy.  Some people were able to download the EP, legally, via those iTunes until iTunes realized their mistake and the songs were removed.  (EDITED TO ADD DISCLAIMER:  I have no idea if this was a mistake on iTunes part or what.  This is my assumption about what had happened.  I know nothing official, people.  I’m just a fan.)  Other people were able to hear a sample of many songs, including “All You Need Is Now” and “Mediterranea”.  Everyone wanted to know or discuss what the songs were like.  Of course, those without the downloaded songs were either openly hoping to get a copy from a Duranie friend or were arguing that the copies should not be shared, for a variety of reasons.  Now, new rumors appeared, which included that some of the songs were put up on youtube to hear or that the entire album was available at a torrent site.  While I would love to be one of these lucky people to have copies of all new Duran Duran material, I’m not.  Therefore, I cannot write about what the songs sound like but I am interested in how the fan community responds to rumors of such significance.

It seems to me that there is no Duranie Alert like hearing that a new song is available in some means.  These alerts are more interesting when the song(s) are not available legally.  Does the legal status deter Duranies from trying to get the songs?  For the most part, in my observation, the answer is no.  Duranies may say publicly that they don’t want to hear songs in advance or wouldn’t want to get a hold of the album before it is actually released, but that isn’t true.  Behind the scenes of the message board, most fans are contacting the other fans they know to find out if they have the songs and are willing to share.  Part of this is simply to hear the new material but there is another piece to this.  For some people, this is a way to show one’s status within the fan community.  For example, if you are one of only 15 people who have the song, you might feel pretty darn special.  Likewise, I can only imagine what that person would feel like when telling others that s/he has one of the only 15 copies of the song.  That must make people feel special and/or superior!  Of course, the people who have to ask about the songs don’t have the same feeling.  Instead, they are forced to beg or do something to encourage the other person to share with them.  It becomes a rather interesting and unequal dynamic.

Where does that leave the fandom on a day like today?  It leads to fan community to be leading two different lives.  On one hand, on message boards and on social networking sites, there is discussion about how people should not download illegally or share with their friends, if they did have a copy.  The reasoning is a logical one.  Downloading illegally or sharing leads to poorer sales for the band and less chart possibilities.  Behind the scenes, fans are contacting each other in order to get the songs.  Duranies clearly are an impatient bunch.  They are also people who can be constantly concerned about their social status in the community.  So, what is the solution to this?  I don’t know that there is.  Duranies, like all fans, will seek out things unavailable to the public.  I suppose the real way to stop this is for the band and their people to keep such incredible control over their material.  Yet, is this a good thing for the band, in the long run?

Does leaked material lead fans to not buy the song(s) or album?  I don’t think so.  Does it create more excitement, more interest?  Quite possibly.  What would they think of all of the maneuvering between fans in order to get the songs?  Perhaps, they would be horrified.  Maybe, they would be entertained.  Who knows.  Here is what I do know:  the next few weeks will be VERY interesting for the Duran Duran fandom.  This will help me survive the time while waiting for the single and album.


Record Sales

Recently, Nick was BBC2 Radio and confirmed that the band hopes on releasing the album, digitally, in December with a physical release in the beginning of 2011.  Around the same time, give or take a day or two, an event on Facebook appeared asking people to RSVP to download the album on December 25th.  Perhaps, this event came after Simon made a statement on his latest Katy Kafe about how the fans will have a Christmas surprise, in regards to the album.  All of this leads me to have further questions.  Will they release the album before a single?  Will there be a single?  Will it really be released on Christmas?  Will having both a digital release and a physical release help album sales?

There has been quite a bit of discussion on the message boards in regards to how well this album will do.  Some people believe that the album won’t sell any better than Red Carpet Massacre because only dedicated fans will buy it.  Others think that the album will sell more depending on the quality of the music.  If it feels like classic Duran, people will buy it.  Here’s my question:  Who are the dedicated fans?  How many of us are there?  How do you define “dedicated”?  Will only Duranies buy it? 

Since we have started this blog, we have been amazed at how many readers we have from places outside of the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.  We have had readers in places like Iraq, India and other places that Duran Duran has never played.  This leads me to wonder how many Duranies there are, worldwide.  I obviously realize that not all Duranies read message boards or post.  Did all “Duranies” buy RCM?  Did they buy as many as they did Astronaut?  Will they buy more copies if the album is solid? 

Call me an optimist but I do believe that some of the people who bought Astronaut but did not buy RCM will buy All You Need is Now, if the album is what they think Duran should sound and be like.


All You Need is to Download?

Happy Monday, everyone.  It’s a gloomy drizzly day here in Southern California where I live…so it makes for perfect Monday weather, in my opinion.  I’ve spent some of my morning getting caught up on the news of the weekend, and I’ve been reading the recent “news” from DD’s make up artist (am I the only one that believes the housekeepers are going to be the next to give interviews??) that the new album will be available for download in December, and the physical copy will be released in January.

As my partner mentioned in her blog – this is being talked about on the boards, and of course the speculation is running wild.  Everyone wants to know if there’s a label, they think this is a risky move on the part of the band, some believe that the sales will be even worse under these circumstances…etc….etc…..because in true Duranie fashion….”We are NEVER satisfied.”   (insert my laughter here)

I’m not really here to speculate on the reasons or how it’s going to effect sales.  Others have done that rather well (see Gimme a Wristband for a fantastic blog on that subject!), and there’s no need for my input here.  My interest lies with the fans, and more specifically – are we a part of the downloading generation?

When I grew up (born in 1970), I remember the Sony Walkman being all the rage…and I’m not talking about the CD version.  Then it did become the CD version, and as I’m sure many if not all of you remember, vinyl became less and less important.  (never mind the dreaded 8 track or tape – my kids ran across one the other day and asked me what it was.  *sigh*  I love turning 40. I really, really do.)  Nowadays, we have iPods and MP3’s, and a good many of us wax nostalgic over vinyl, and even CD’s!

Of course, CD’s are still available.  I can go down to Target and find a pretty small selection of CD’s to purchase.  I don’t shop at Walmart, but I know they do still carry CD’s, as does Best Buy and several other stores.  Naturally I remember the days of Tower Records (I miss Tower Records…I could shop in there for HOURS!) and even Wherehouse Records, where I not only bought my very first Duran Duran album, but also stood in line to buy concert tickets back in the day when there was no internet!  Someone get me my cane, please.    I digress…  My point is, CD’s are still around, as are albums, they just aren’t as widely available as they once were.

What has most assuredly taken the place of my beloved Tower Records is iTunes.  Personally, I have mixed feelings about iTunes.  I cannot argue the convenience of being in my home (or anywhere these days!), hearing a song somewhere and immediately being able to download and listen to my hearts content.  I also cannot argue the fact that it’s much cheaper to buy one song off of an album than it is to buy an entire album and only listen to one or two songs.  What bothers me about iTunes is that we’re buying an MP3 – which definitely has a loss of information from the original music file, AND we’re not getting the full product that a CD would have. (liner notes, pretty pictures, etc!)  In my head, an MP3 is like really cheap fast food, while a CD might be a decent restaurant – and vinyl?  For me vinyl is a great dinner at a fantastic restaurant.  You linger, you have a great bottle of wine, and you enjoy.

I don’t think I’m much different from any other fan of my generation – but I have to wonder, how many of us love downloads?  Do we download because it’s the option given to us, or have we learned to love them yet?