There’s no arguing it, Duran Duran is doing a lot of festivals this year. Fans are beginning to talk, and the chat is not always positive. This is likely not a surprise to DDHQ, as no matter what the band does there are always those that are unhappy, but festivals in particular seem to draw a loud dissension among the ranks. Let’s discuss!
First of all, let’s talk about the positives. Despite cries from longtime, diehard Duran fans – there ARE positives to doing festivals, and not all diehard fans dislike festivals. Many fans LOVE them, so I applaud them even as I question their sanity. Playing festivals allows bands to reach a large cross-population of people. When you’re playing a festival that features sixty bands, for example – the reach is wide. The Killarney Music and Food Festival has everyone from The Proclaimers to Burt Bacharach across six stages. The cross-section of people available to hear the band’s music, most likely new music at that point, is exponentially larger than they could ever hope to gain by doing ten shows in ten different cities. Travel less, reach more possible fans. Sounds like a great way to showcase a new album! It is a numbers game, and in order for Duran Duran to even begin to hope to sell this new album, much less receive any kind of land/internet radio support, getting that music heard by as many NEW people (not diehard fans, mind you) is key.
What About The Diehards?
Let’s talk about that whole “diehard fan” thing for a second in terms of potential sales, and likely or probable sales. Potential sales are that which are possible. These sales haven’t been made yet, but they might under the right circumstances. The majority of people who attend a festival? Potential sales. The band has to sell them on their music, but it’s possible. Then there’s the other side – probable sales. These are sales that will likely happen. They’ve already been figured into the initial “bet” that the band or management is making upon agreeing to investing in this album to begin with. Guess which column diehard fans are in? (Sure, go ahead and mock me by say out loud that the band has to sell you on this new music – I’ll just remind many of you of the times fans have said on this very blog, “I don’t care how long I have to wait for this new album!!” or how many fans have told me personally that “It doesn’t matter WHAT Simon LeBon sounds like – I love them no matter what!”) Yes, chances are, we’ll all buy the album even if we decide we don’t like it later. Why? We’re diehard fans. We’re already SOLD. The trouble here is that while we might feel like there are a lot of us when it comes to getting front row tickets or getting face time in front of the band member of choice, when it comes to dollars and cents – there’s not that many of us. The band has to reach MUCH wider. What is the most economical way to do that? Festivals, and more than a few of them. Hence, the Duran Duran Summer of Festivals 2015. If you like festivals and are able to hang out in various parts of Europe all summer, you’re lucky. If you’re like the rest of us, you’re not. Welcome! We have cookies!! (And vodka if you’re into that sort of thing!)
Granted, there are downsides to festivals, and most of those, I don’t even really have to work that hard to name. The crowds, the distance (it is a long swim from the US to Ireland, The Netherlands or Spain), the fact that not many of us are really THAT young, and we would much rather be treated to “special” shows under unique circumstances than as cattle, the potential weather issues, standing all day, mosh pits, the lack of leaving your spot to find sustenance and/or restrooms, the crowds…being kicked in the face by crowd surfers (personal experience, sorry!)….and the fact that damn it, we’ve put our time in…can’t we have some regular shows in normal venues where we don’t feel like we have to fight a war before the band comes on stage?!?
Festivals = A Necessary Evil??
Here’s the thing: I’m not sure that these festivals are really FOR diehard fans. Granted, if you want to go, no one is going to want to stop you, although a lot of us might really wonder how desperate is desperate enough to go to a festival (well, maybe that’s just me, and believe me – I’m getting pretty desperate myself!), but I’m just wondering if the real purpose for these festivals is not so diehard fans who are already about 95% likely to buy the full-album in one form or another show up; but instead so that people who are a whole lot less likely to even consider buying a Duran Duran album get exposed to new music, and for a lot cheaper than the band schlepping across the planet a couple of times over the course of the next couple of years. Perhaps our time for real shows where the band concentrates on playing for real fans will come a little later, after the album has already been out, people have heard it, and will then invest in coming to see them in concert…or like many of us, try to do as many shows as possible without losing our jobs!!
So, We Wait
All of that said, rest assured as we each hear of additional festivals in far away places being announced, just a little more anticipation is trickled into the pool forming in the pits of our stomachs. Deep sighs commence as we read of the fun taking place elsewhere, knowing that for most of us, the chances of attending are practically zero. We hope for more plausible opportunities ahead, but are excited that at least somewhere in Europe, there are Duran Duran fans excitedly purchasing festival tickets. And there is always the hope that tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, and so on, we have the chance to be among the lucky few.
Until then, we wait. We’ve been waiting since 2012 for a real tour to be announced, surely we’ve gotten good at waiting by now, right??
(No…no we have not.)