Category Archives: fan communities

Taboo Subjects and Other Observations

A large part of fandom is talking about one’s idols, one’s interest.  In Duranland, the conversations should surround Duran Duran’s music, their videos, their DVDs, their live performances, their interviews, their merchandise, and other things directly related to the band and what projects they are involved in.  Of course, in a fandom as long-lasting as ours, sometimes, our discussions have moved beyond things directly connected to the band is doing.  Some of the discussions that I put into that not-so-directly related category include those surrounding the fan club, presales, band members’ politics, promotion, commercial success, band members’ personal lives, awards and other forms of recognition, and more.  Of course, we also talk about our fan community as well.  Over the years, I have come to discover that there are certain trends to these discussions.  I wanted to acknowledge what I have observed and also wanted to ask why some trends exist because it seems to me that there are subjects that we, as a fandom, don’t really tackle or don’t tackle head on.

The discussions surrounding topics directly related to what the band produces tend to get some discussion but not as much as one would think.  For example, here on the blog, our reviews of different songs or videos gets some views and some comments but they are not the most popular, not even when we were discussing the latest album.  On message boards, the discussions related to direct production of the band seem to involve more men than other topics and seem to include more people with a musical background or more musical knowledge.  I can understand why people with more musical knowledge would contribute more to discussions than those people without that same background.  Obviously, people will contribute more to discussions when they feel comfortable and confident with the topic.  Why does there seem to be more men who discuss Duran’s music?  Plus, these types of discussions seem to occur more often on message boards rather than on twitter.  Is this just the nature of the format?  Do these discussions happen less on twitter due to the 140 character limit?  Or does it have more to do with the fans who frequent message boards over twitter and vice versa? 

As far as discussions connected to the band, from my observations, the amount of discussion and the people participating really does seem to vary based on topic.  Topics like recognition and commercial success tend to be ones that people who discuss the music a lot are interested in.  Yet, discussions relating to the fan club and presales tend to include more women and more people on twitter and facebook.  When I go to message boards outside of the DDM one, it seems like presales aren’t happening at all or that people aren’t even going to shows.  It seems like there are completely different worlds between the message boards and the social networking sites.  Why?  I do understand that many people were on message boards and have left.  When asked, most will say that they didn’t like the drama.  What was that drama like?  What was it focused on?  Was it focused on disagreements about the music or disagreements about commercial success?  Was it simply that the two groups of people focused on different discussions and got sick of seeing the other group focus on the topics that they were uninterested in.  Let me give you an example.  It seems to me that there are posters (people who post) on message boards who constantly ask about album sales.  That is very important to them.  If you don’t care about that, I suppose it could be annoying.  Of course, the person focused on commercial success might get sick of threads about the fan club. 

Beyond the topics directly related the band and the ones indirectly to the band are the topics about us, about the fandom itself.  In this blog, we have brought up subjects that we assume would get a lot of people talking and they don’t or the responses are ones that appear to agree with us.  Why?  Again, I provide an example.  The other day, Rhonda posted a blog in reference to a blog from Nick Rhodes’s ex-wife.  In Julie Anne’s blog, she talked about how fans demanded constant attention from Nick that directly impacted time that they had as a family and pondered why people needed so many autographs and photos with/from the band.  The responses that we got on our blog all agreed with Rhonda’s points as well as Julie Anne’s.  Yet, I know that there are fans who think that it would be okay to approach a band member out in public when he isn’t working.  I also know that there are fans who have a ton of pictures and autographs.  Why didn’t those people defend their views and/or actions in our blog?  Why don’t they explain why they think that the band should be approachable at all times or why they do need so many pictures or autographs?  I’m asking without judgement, by the way.  I’m truly curious.

Then, of course, there are all of the discussions surrounding how we, fans, treat other fans.  The reaction, usually, to any discussion about fan drama or social status is to declare that people are immature, or jealous.  Then, they suggest that the fans grow up.  The questions that tend to pop up are, “Why does this exist in this fandom?  Does it happen in all fandoms?”  Everyone is quick to blame and no one seems willing to take ownership of his/her behavior.  Why is that?  It seems to me that the “drama” that seems to happen in fandom takes at least 2 people.  I will openly admit that I have had people in the fandom who I, at one point, called a “friend” and no longer do.  I’m not innocent here either.  In the situations I have been involved in, for me, most of them were directly related to some of the topics I mentioned here in this blog.  The truth is that we all have a philosophy of sorts when it comes to fandom whether we know it or not.  We all have opinions about meeting the band.  We all have opinions about how many shows people should or should not go to.  We all have opinions about what people should know the band and we have thoughts about what people should own or not own.  Yet, instead of having very difficult discussion about what we think a fan should be like, we keep it to ourselves and then judge other fans when they don’t do what you would do.  So, why don’t we have that discussion?  Why is so hard to talk about this?  I’m sure that we don’t because we are worried about being judged.  Maybe, for some, there is concern that they can’t really defend their positions or philosophy.  I fear, though, that until these topics become less taboo, drama and hurt feelings will continue and our fan community will not be as united as it could be.

-A

A Diamond in the Mind (or what I call a potentially really good idea!)

Day 3 in the diary of a headache.

Ok not really. Well, this isn’t the diary, anyway. I am sitting here at my table, trusty mug of coffee (second mug of the day, which *never* happens here) within reach…and not a single writing inspiration has come to mind. I hate when this happens. So, I reached out to the only people I know for topic ideas. Some of which were downright amusing! (and you can bet I’ll be writing that critique of a certain bandleaders dancing very, very soon!) I already have the title in my head…

But for today my friends, we’re going to talk about fandom. I hear the cheers and I thank you.  (A little sarcasm to start my day.  Ah yes.)

Seriously (a word I use far too often but don’t care enough to change today) though, Amanda and I have been kicking around an idea for a few months now and it’s really high time to share our thoughts. Not that many years back when DDM was first started, the idea – well the idea that fans had anyway, was to create a real community. Does anyone remember back when VIP tickets gained you entry to a pre-show party? A little known truth about me: I liked them. I liked feeling a little special, to be honest. That said, I’m one of those people who loves valet parking. I love having my bags taken to my room rather than schlepping them myself…and if there’s a side entrance somewhere that I have access to use that others don’t, it makes me smile. I suppose I am exactly whom DDM wants to market those VIP tickets….too bad I’m not a DDM member these days, isn’t it?!? ANYWAY, my point is simply that while the party itself might have been a smidgeon on the lame side, the idea was good.  The party allowed concert goers to chat, visit, take photos with long-lost friends, and at least the idea was supposed to make us feel special. The key for me though (besides feeling a bit exclusive and pampered) was the feeling of community. At that point, DDM went to the trouble to set up Duranie “dorms” – basically calling a hotel and getting a group rate so that interested parties could take advantage. This served several purposes: it directed many DDM members to the same hotel so that plans could be made, parties could be set up, and as a bonus – many of us could get kicked out of hotel bars. Good times. It also tended to deter people from staying at other hotels that may or may not have housed members of the band.  *gasp!* I can’t honestly remember how many times my friends and I took advantage of the “dorms” (maybe only once or twice?), but I really liked the idea. So many times after a show we’re looking to get together with friends for drinks – none of us are ready to call it a night after such great shows – and having a central place to hang out and continue the evening seemed perfect. Sure, I know as well as you do that many want to go and find the band, and that option is always available, but for those like me who rarely know when or where – hanging with friends seems like the more viable alternative. I’m sure the band appreciates that.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the line – the whole sense of community has been lost.  Naturally, this isn’t ONLY due to the mechanics of DDM, but it’s something that Amanda and I both feel could be improved, which is where she and I come in. Part of the reason we started the blog was because we felt that there needed to be a place that topics could be discussed without judgement. Sure, there are times when we all disagree. That happens. It shouldn’t mean that we can’t find common ground, and in our case – it’s the band. No matter what each of feels about the guitar players over the years, the management, the choices in singles, promotion, etc – we all still love the band. That’s enough to build on, and is the other part of the reason the blog was started. We want to bring fans together. We’re not all going to be best friends. That isn’t the point or the goal. If the paid “official” fan community can’t see past the dollar signs enough to build a community, we can do it ourselves….and better because we know what it’s like to be a fan.


I can’t speak for everyone, but it’s become clear to me that unless someone stands up and decides to bridge the gap between the DDM mechanics of getting to a show (i.e. buying tickets) and what it really means to be a fan and enjoy fandom, our community is lost. While the show themselves may never completely lose their luster, the other half of what makes it fun to be a fan will be gone. The shows where I have gone by myself with my husband are fun, but there’s something very special about attending a show where there are other friends in attendance. I have as much fun in planning the before and after get togethers as I do in plotting how I’m going to get my escape from my house!  I am a fan.  Amanda is a fan.  We know what we like, and we’re betting that our thoughts aren’t going to be all that dissimilar to yours.

To begin with, we’re waiting for US concert dates.  (We’ve got to start in the US purely because it’s where we live and what we know) It’d be great if the band would work with us on this and send them – but seeing as we’re just fans trying to do the work that their own fan community has completely dropped the ball on – we’re not counting on a single thing except our own determination. (However, if somebody wants to send us some hints, we’ll gladly take ’em and get our planning started so that we can seem organized….*wink, wink*) Once we know the dates of the shows, we really want to work to get “dorms” set up if there are people interested. In addition, we’re going to set up more meet-ups for fans, whether they are before or after the shows, and we’re going to have fun even if it kills us.  We want you, our friends, fellow fans, readers, etc….to tell us what, where and when.

(I’m pretty certain Amanda is going to love that last sentence.)

No, we’re not getting paid by anyone. No, we’re not getting free tickets to the shows. No, we haven’t lost our grip on reality, quit our jobs or sold our possessions (and as such no, we’re not going to be able to be at every single show. We need your help!)  We just want to make this community fun again. That’s it. If you have ideas, want to help out or just plain want to bitch at us – email us at dailyduranie@gmail.com or leave a comment.  You know we’ll answer you!

Watch this space…

-R

PS – we’re going to do something different on the blog, and by different I mean that YOU can ask US questions.  Have something you’re dying to ask?  Send us an email, talk to us on Facebook, send us a Direct Message on Twitter (otherwise we’ll miss it).  Amanda and I will answer your questions on an upcoming blog.  By “upcoming” I mean in a week or so – no DuranTime here – so get your thinking caps on and send us some creative questions!

All She Wants Is…

The universe works in mysterious ways. Yesterday was not a good day. I had traded emails with Amanda and she’d mentioned that perhaps it was a good idea to mention some good things the band does with regard to their fan community, as to create a better balance. My response was that I didn’t want to post a bunch of things that the band does well because we cover good things on a nearly daily basis, and that it wouldn’t feel genuine to me. I didn’t give the idea much thought and went about spreading my “good cheer” elsewhere.

It wasn’t much later that I began reading another book on fandom, this time it was a book on being a Bobcat – a Bob Dylan fan. I really had no idea or expectations when I started the book because, truth be told, I don’t know much about Bob Dylan beyond what I learned in college. (I took Rock Music history courses as part of my American Studies major – the beauty of pop culture!!)

One thing became crystal clear before I was even thirty pages into the book: Dylan does absolutely nothing with his fans. No fan community. No meet and greets. No Q&A sessions. No Facebook. No Twitter. No news. I’m not even sure he’s actually MET his fans before, and they definitely don’t go following him back to the hotel after the shows. The author even goes as far to make the assertion that Bob Dylan has family members he hasn’t even met yet! This fandom is absolutely 100% about the music. Admittedly, I don’t get it…which is why I’ve got to keep reading the book. You can bet I’ll be reporting back here soon.

As I made that realization, that yes there are bands and artists out there that do far, far less than what I know, I thought back to the conversation I’d had with Amanda via email earlier in the day and ruefully grinned. I knew what I’d be blogging about this morning. Damned universe making me say nice things about this band…

Here is the thing: Duran Duran isn’t the problem. The BAND is not the problem. John Taylor does do his part by coming onto Twitter and occasionally posting. Simon LeBon exchanges tweet with fans when he feels like it. I have to say that in both cases, I appreciate the fact that they aren’t slaves to Twitter. That really is not the point. Instead, they post when they wish to do so, and that feels normal, healthy and real. Sure, I wish that happened more often, but you know, we make due. I also don’t have time to spend on Twitter 24/7, and I would hope the same for everyone else. Roger does a decent job on Facebook, especially for someone who has a baby at home. I know Dom is in the middle of mixing his album with his dad…and Nick….well…Nick is busy! The fact is, we have a reasonable idea of what they’re up to, what they’re doing – and they tell us. I don’t really think it’s always been that way. I can say that at least for me, I would be listening to the radio back in the 80’s and be shocked and surprised to hear a new song from them after many months of what felt like crossing the Sahara desert! (meaning no news, no new music, no nothing)  We get a little more news today, so yes, that is progress.

My point in bringing the subject of fan communities to the blog wasn’t to bash the band. If you read our blogs, I think we’re pretty fair overall. I never wanted to be that fan…the one that  thinks every single thing the band does is fantastic even when it’s really not. I will never be the one to tell them that they are awesome (I know how much they “love” that California term, which is why I’m using it!) and that I love them and please follow me on Twitter…I’m the one that is going to tell it like I see it and hear it, even if if means sticking my neck out and feeling some bruises from the flogging I occasionally get from our readers when I dare to criticize the band or the machine that is Duran Duran.

I wanted to bring some questions and concerns forward.  There are plenty of South American fans – many of whom are not in the paid fan community simply because there just isn’t enough to offer them, and yet there is no attempt to reach out to those fans. Surely there must be a better way.

I wanted to look at how other bands handle their fan communities. Sure, there are great things about the paid fan community. I like Katy Kafe, and when we get exclusive video clips and things, they’re fun. Presales are great if you’re lucky enough to get good tickets at those presales. The paid fan community often has contests for members, and sometimes the prizes are unique. All of these individual things have the potential to make a fan community fun and worthwhile, no argument from me.

One thing I continually see from Duran Duran, specifically when it comes to the internet and the new marketing model is that they seem to be rushing to catch up.  That never used to be the case with the band. I always saw them as innovative when it came to music and video, but the truth is, when it comes to the internet I think they are pretty far behind. I am sure that some of this is the learning curve. The music industry today is not what it once was.  The rules are so different now, and yes – it’s really tough to adapt.  They need to have the right mix of people around who are not afraid to try new and “really out there” methods to get things done.  Not “understanding” the internet is simply no excuse. (and before someone sends me mail – take your hand off of that “reply” button – I might not be referring to the BAND when I write that!)

Perhaps the best thing I can do is give examples of creativity.  Yesterday one of our friends on Twitter sent me an article.  Thanks to @Jonfromspenny to sending this my way.

Pop Stars Work the Web

-R

The Importance of a Fan Community: Shows!

I have been involved in an interesting discussion throughout the day on Twitter.  One of our friends on Twitter suggested that we talk about our fans who don’t participate in the online fan community.  This lead to a discussion on bringing non-fans or non-Duranies with you to shows.  For some people, this has been a positive experience and for others, it hasn’t been.  I can speculate about why some experiences went well and others didn’t. 

Why do Duranies go with non-Duranies to shows?  Well, the answer is obvious, isn’t it?  People go to shows with non-Duranies because either they don’t have any Duranies to go with or because they want to share their fandom with others.  No matter the reason it seems to me that things can either go well or go very badly.  I have to admit that I have gone to shows with a variety of different people.  An ideal show, for me, would obviously be to go with Rhonda.  Why?  On top of being my best friend, we both have the same philosophy about the band, shows, and activities surrounding the shows.  For me, all three elements are essential for the best time.  The first element is clear and was basically what the conversation surrounded on twitter.  I prefer to go with other fans.  I will be even more clear.  I want to go to shows with Duranies and not just people who liked Rio back in the day or can sing the Reflex.  They have to be fans and I think we all know the difference.  There has to be a passion for the band.  They don’t have to know everything I know about the band but they have to have strong feeling for the band and their music.  Perhaps, then, a spark will take place which results in them finding out more about the band.  To me, anything less results in disappointment.  The second element revolves the show itself and how to behave at a show.  I won’t lie here.  I sing (badly) at a show.  I don’t sit down.  I might scream once or twice, particularly after a JoSi moment.  I move around.  I watch the band closely, especially that bass player guy.  Again, ideally, I would love to be close as the experience is enhanced and, generally, I’m willing to pay to be close.  So, what if the person or people you go with, don’t want to pay.  What if they don’t sing or dance?  What if they would be horrified by your behavior?  Again, I think this could end in disappointment even if you go with Duranies.  Lastly, the activities surrounding a show are also important.  I like to meet up with people before and after a show, for dinner and/or drinks.  My post show nights are, generally, not early as I like to go out.  I like to have a good time and a Duran show is the perfect time to do it.  Again, if the person or people you are with, don’t like to do that, it isn’t going to be as fun.  It is quite possible that everyone involved won’t be happy as some compromise to make the others happy but the happy ones aren’t that happy because their companion(s) aren’t really excited.  Thus, to me, all three elements are important.

Of course, there have been times that Rhonda and I can’t go to shows together.  It is one of the not fun parts of living so far away from each other.  During those times, I have sought out different people to go with.  In many, if not most, cases, the night has gone badly.  Sometimes, it has gone so badly that I know it as it is happening.  For example, once, I was unable to watch the show when the person I went with couldn’t handle being among the masses in a GA show.  Other times, it takes a while to really understand what went wrong.  Usually, those are the shows that I have gone with people who like Duran but aren’t Duranies.  In those cases, I have usually had to listen to them complain about Duran did or didn’t do.  For example, one person complained that Duran wasn’t spontaneous enough and actually compared them to Depeche Mode.  For the record, I like Depeche but their setlists, at times, don’t vary at all.  Literally, it is the same songs in the same order every night.  Anyway, I didn’t want to argue with this friend.  Sometimes, the person I have gone with may appear to be a Duranie or a could be Duranie.  Those experiences are the ones that really disappoint when it turns out that the person isn’t and never will be.  Now, of course, not all of my show going experiences with non-Duranies have been bad.  The ones that haven’t been have, at least, 2 out of the 3 elements, though.  My friend, Robyn, has gone with me a couple of times.  She likes Duran but isn’t a Duranie.  At the shows we have been to, though, Duranie friends have been present.  On top of that, she goes to shows like I do.  She will sing and dance, too.  She also likes to go out before and/or after. Yes, perhaps, my expectations play a significant role.  Maybe, others don’t have as high of expectation as I do, which is why things have gone well for them. 

Despite good experiences with Robyn, I truly hope that the people I go to the rest of my shows with me are on the same page with me.  I wish that everyone had people to go with who are on the same page as they are.  This leads me to the fan community.  Isn’t part of the reason fans talk to other fans to make friends in order to have people to go to shows or fan events with?  I know that was the exact reason that I went to the Duran Convention in New Orleans in 2004.  I knew that there was a tour coming up and wanted to have people to go with.  I would love for every Duranie to go to shows with other Duranies.  Perhaps, the fan community can work to have that happen! 

-A

   

What About the Fans?

This week my writing partner began really examining Duran’s fan club and even the band itself in their ability to enhance, sustain, encourage a Duran Duran fan community.  She asked the questions:  Is the fan club doing the best job it can?  Is the band?  Many people argued that the fan club is not doing everything it can to please the fans and many said that the band should be involved in helping sustain the fan community.  Now, it’s my turn to ask the same question of the fans.  Do the fans do a good job in making the fan community sustainable?  Do we, collectively, help make Duranland the place we all want to be?  While I would love for the answer to be a simple yes, I think, in reality, it is much more complex than that. 

Let me start at the beginning.  People become fans of Duran Duran because of their music, their videos, their style, their personalities, or because of a combination of those qualities or all of those qualities.  From there, fans seek out other fans.  In some cases, these fans just want to know what other fans are thinking.  In still other cases, they seek out discussion about Duran.  Some want to go as far as becoming friends with other fans.  Some of these friends will, in turn, go to shows or other fan events together.  The real strange ones will write a book together or start a blog…oh wait, that’s just Rhonda and I!  All of these fans make up the fan community.  Obviously, some of you might be thinking that you are not part of the community because you don’t post on message boards or because you aren’t on twitter or don’t update your status on facebook in order for other Duranies to see.  Yet, if you are reading this blog and do so on a consistent basis, you are a member of the community.  You might be a quiet member but a member, nonetheless.  This community couldn’t help but be formed.  It happened naturally as fans will seek out other fans.  That said, is our community one that we are proud of?  Is it one that we actually like?

As Rhonda began her little series of blog posts on the fan community, I began to think about those people who leave the community.  Why?  Do they stop being fans or do they stop wanting to know what other fans think about?  In my opinion, these are two very different reasons.  In the case of the fans who stop being fans, it is most likely that these people did not like the music that was being made.  Perhaps, their fandom was short-lived or not, but, the music got them into the fandom and later made them want to leave.  In that case, the interest ran out.  There would be no hard feelings towards other fans.  They just didn’t want to spend their time on Duran anymore.  I get this.  I have participated in a fandom like that.  I enjoyed it when I was interested in it and even made life long friends from it but eventually my interest left.  Now, I don’t talk about it or think about it.  It is done and over.  For those fans, the rest of the community has very little impact on them.  For the second group of people who leave, it is a different story.

There are fans who seem to walk away because of everything surrounding the music.  It isn’t the music itself that makes them leave, but all of the extras.  Perhaps, for those people, they do get frustrated at the fan club or the perceived lack of effort on the band’s part.  A bigger issue seems to me is the other fans.  Just the other day a couple of friends of mine said that they thought about jumping into the discussion on the blog but decided against it because they don’t like Duranies.  This was quite a statement to me as they grouped a large, diverse group into a single entity.  I know of other people who completely left the fandom despite still liking Duran’s music because of the “culture” surrounding Duranies.  So, what’s the deal?  What is it about Duranies that can and has turned people off?  Then, is it possible to change the overall climate of Duranland?

One thing about Duranies that we have talked about before on this blog is the jealously and/or downright mean behavior that can and has happened in Duranland.  We have also mentioned the invisible or not-so-invisible world of social status in the community that is perceived by some (many?  all?).  We have even talked about possible reasons why this happens in our fandom.  Is this what makes other fans leave?  I think it can for some, definitely.  Some people don’t want to deal with anything remotely like this social status/hierarchy game that seems to get played at every turn.  I can’t blame them, really.  Yet, is that the only reason that some people who could be fans remove themselves from the community?  I think there could be other reasons.  Some people I know get frustrated with fans who won’t be critical with their fandom meaning that everything Duran does is great while other people get frustrated with the opposite.  They get frustrated that other people always seem so negative.  Maybe, still, others don’t like how fans do or do not deal with their fandom.  This could be that they don’t like the people who tweet all the time about Simon or John to people who act like know-it-alls with Duran knowledge and everything in between. 

No matter the reason that people might leave, I have to wonder if those of us still in the community should work to change it.  If we agree that we should, how?  In my opinion, I think that as much as the fan club and the band work to create a certain culture within the community, intentionally or not, I think we do, too.  I think we should take some ownership over our community.  I know that Rhonda and I are trying to do just that by writing about our fandom, by attempting to create a safe place where everyone is free to comment, and by trying to bring fans together.  What are other ways that we could all work to make Duranland a good, happy  community?   

-A

One more thing…

In all of the comments I’ve received this week about fan communities – and there have been a few – the one thing that no one commented on was the band themselves.  It wasn’t until this morning when I was chatting with a friend that it dawned on me (although she pointed it out!), no one mentioned the band.

I think back to the 1980’s when I was reading my Tiger Beat magazines as quickly as I could turn the pages. I sent in money to join a fan club and I’d get a package back in the mail.  Occasionally I might get a newsletter after that (and it’s important to note here that I’m not just thinking of Duran Duran, but fan clubs as a whole), but that was really the end of it.  Fan club memberships were pretty one sided deals between myself and my mailbox!

Flash ahead to current times. Fan communities are built differently.  There is interaction between the fans and personal connections being made through many different avenues: message boards, Facebook and Twitter,among others.  One comment that I’ve seen many times is that there is so much infighting between fans.  Fans fight for space to be seen and heard.  Many believe all fan communities are that way, that it’s the nature of the beast.

Bruce Springsteen’s fan community – free to any who join – doesn’t seem to have the same sort of competitive nature.  The directions of the community are well paved avenues that Bruce himself follows.  He guides his fan community by suggesting charities for fundraising, yet still establishing firm boundaries and not necessarily being freely accessible.  His involvement tends to set the tone for the entire community, which is large and thriving to this day.

Does a band (or celebrity for that matter) need to be involved in their own fan community for it to be “alive and thrive”?  It’s an interesting question.

-R

Is there a solution for DDM?

Someone once said that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.  We take that quote to heart here at Daily Duranie.  Contrary to what some believe, we don’t simply “moan”.  Our blog is meant to not only bring issues to light (whether those issues are good, bad, or indifferent),  it is meant as a springboard for discussion.  The only thing Amanda and I truly control is the direction the blog takes each day.  From there, we allow the discussion, should there be one, to flow however it might, although we respond to the comments. Sometimes, we’re completely surprised by the lack of response, and other days, we are simply surprised by number of responses!  Overall, we want our blog to be a pivotal source of discussion, and perhaps a source of movement for our fan community.  GLOBALLY.

Fan clubs are a much different animal today than while I was growing up.  Back then all a fan had to do was look for the fan club address in the back of Tiger Beat, then send them their name, address and money for the membership fee (if required).  Then in about 4 months,  a packet with fan club swag would arrive in the mail…and that was about it.  If a fan was really lucky they might get added to a mailing list, and just as that fan moved on from that particular object of interest to the next latest celebrity or band, they’d get some sort of newsletter telling that they were going on tour, or in a new movie.  It took relatively little, and having a fan club really didn’t hurt or help a celebrity.

Today is far different.  As I’ve mentioned several times lately – the model for doing business in this industry has changed.  What used to work back in the 80’s along with about $3.00 will buy you a small cup of house coffee these days, and those records will still be on the shelf.  (Except that today we’re talking mp3’s and iTunes, aren’t we?) The troubling thing is that so many bands are incredibly slow to pick up on the new reality. Their management doesn’t get it, the bands don’t understand why radio isn’t playing them, and they’re expecting that since they sold records a few decades back, that they can still do it solely based on their name.


Those days are over.

Even artists like Paul McCartney are finding that they have to appeal to their audience on a completely different and much more personal level than ever before.  A lot of it is trial and error, and still more of it requires making the connection directly with their fan base.  Many bands, especially those built back in the day when fans were something they ran from, are resistant to the idea.  Just the words “Fan Empowerment” sound so completely radical.  What in the hell could those words possibly mean, and why on earth would an artist or band actually want to speak to those people?!?

Our roles have certainly changed.  The term Fan Community means far, far more than just a club. (For the record – in this blog, I am referring to our community at large, NOT just the pay-to-play DDM Fan Community) Daily Duranie is all about community.  We like the idea of promoting and celebrating what brings us together. For many of us, we’ve been around a long time.  My kids say we’re older than dirt. (a particularly hateful thing to say, but it’s becoming closer to reality with each passing day, I suppose)   We do want to bring fans together, because fostering that connection to one another does something else: it fosters loyalty.  Meet ups, weekend get togethers, group hotels for tour stops, conventions – things like that present opportunities for fans to get together and connect with one another.

For far too long, our community has been almost solely about what *we* can get out of the band.  How can we get the band to recognize we’re here and give us more of what we want – which is them, obviously.  How can we make sure that WE get those front row tickets, meet and greets, etc; yet make sure that we get more of them than anyone else in the community.  We don’t like to share much, do we? There is so much discussion of that sort of thing in our community, yet there is frighteningly little discussion of how we can work together to promote the very thing we all have in common.  The BAND.  Of course the front row tickets, the meet and greets, the “accidental” meetings outside of a hotel are part of being a fan.  They do make it all more fun and it would be ridiculous to argue otherwise.  I like to have fun too!!

My assertion is that there is room and time for everything.  The sense of community, the fun “extras” like good tickets and experiences, and even promotion can be accomplished with help directly from the fan community. That idea has the potential to be empowering for everyone.  With that thought in mind, and with yesterday’s blog still on my heart, I want to know what YOU think can be done to improve the paid fan community.  Should we scrap it and start over?  Should there even be a paid fan community?  I brought a few problems up for discussion yesterday, but what can really be done to improve the situation?

-R