As we all know DDM is Duran Duran’s official fan community and it costs money to join. Before we dive into the various aspects of what DDM has to offer, let me ask this. Should fan communities cost money? Obviously, in this case, the fan community costs money with the idea being that it offers things to the members. This idea isn’t new. Lots of things work like this and I can think of many examples. People buy gym memberships in order to use the various equipment, take classes offered there, use the pool, etc. You pay for these opportunities. This is designed in the same way. It is done with the idea being that if you offer the right things and things that cannot be provided anywhere else, people will pay and join. Should fandoms work that way, though? Why or why not? I’m sure from a band’s point of view it is a way to get money without the hard work of recording an album or playing shows. I can understand that. I can also understand the fan’s desire to join a fan club or community. Certainly, I get that. I want to admit that I’m a fan. Isn’t that how the first fan clubs got started, as a way to show one is a fan and to find other fans? Yet, as soon as money is involved, it could start to exclude people. It may no longer being about being a fan and now becomes a fan with money. Yes, I obviously know that DDM isn’t a fortune. Yet, it does cost and that extra might be too much for some.
The next question that comes to mind is what should a fan community do. The more and more I think about the fact that DDM calls itself “Duran Duran: The Fan Community”, the more and more I question their use of the word, community, to describe it. Is it a community or a club? What’s the difference between the two? To me, a community involves people interacting with each other. A club means that people join something and may or may not interact. Clearly, DDM tries to do both. They push the community by having things like the message boards and they push the club by offering presale tickets and other items like Katy Kafes. Is this what DDM should be doing? Should they be trying to do both the community and the club? If they should be a club only, what features should they offer? What should they offer if they focus on being a community? Perhaps, part of the problem is that they don’t have a focus. There is no real game plan.
A couple of things that came up yesterday in the various comments is that DDM is no longer, if ever, really able to come up with a community, which is ironic since they is what it is entitled. People want a place to get the news about Duran and they definitely don’t feel like they get that there. Then, if it is going to be a community, a place for fans to come together and interact, how should that be done? I’m happy that a number of you feel like this place is a better place for community. People mentioned that they are able to freely speak their minds without worry. Yes, people may disagree but it is done respectfully. Rhonda and I would like to think that we have helped to create this open and respectful environment. It should also include EVERYONE, no matter where you live, what your favorite Duran stuff is or isn’t, no matter how many shows you have been to, no matter how many times you have met or haven’t met the band, etc. This leads back to the first question. Should being part of a fan community have anything to do with money? Should having the ability to talk to other fans be based on a fee? What about those VIP tickets? People complain that there are not guaranteed meet and greets with VIP tickets, which is a valid point, but what about the fact that not everyone can afford those? Does the way DDM runs create an exclusivity between fans with the money factor? Obviously, the idea of joining a fan club is a way to differentiate oneself from a non-fan. Does DDM do this or just keep us, fans, separated from each other?
I don’t have answers to these questions but I do think they are fundamental questions. What should Duran’s fan club be like? Is that the same as the fan community? Should it be? How should it be done to include everyone? What do you all think? -A